Somos mas Americanos (We Are More American)

Los Tigres del Norte, 2001

What was the Secure Fence Act of 2006? How is "Somos Mas Americanos" a response to that law and the construction of a fence along the US-Mexico border?

Who do the songwriters believe are invaders in the border region? How do they back up this claim?

The style of the song is norteña. How does this style of music reflect the history of "invasions" and cultural exchange in the border region?

What are the different uses of the word "American"? Who do you think is American?

"Somos mas americanos" performed by Los Tigres del Norte on Uniendo Fronteras, © 2001. Available on iTunes, Spotify, and YouTube

For more information about Los Tigres del Norte, visit their official website.

Rights have not been secured to reprint the words for this song. Please consult the following online resource for lyrics:

http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/l/
los_tigres_del_norte/somos_mas_americanos.html


English translation at http://media.smithsonianfolkways.org/
liner_notes/paredon/PAR01020.pdf

Los Tigres del Norte is a band consisting of the brothers Jorge, Raúl, and Hernán Hernández and their cousin Oscar Lara. The narcocorrido "Contrabando y traición" established their fame in 1973, and they have become an important force in debates about immigration. (For more on the band's early history and the narcocorrido, see "Contrabando y traición," in Unit 9.)

Los Tigres Del Norte's songs are contemporary versions of Mexican corridos, which are traditional storytelling ballads of daily life and Mexican historical figures, revolutionaries, and heroes. In their ballads, Los Tigres Del Norte tells stories of migrants, social injustices, and contemporary events. They write songs such as "El Muro" (The Wall), which was their response to the US government's construction of seven-hundred miles of fencing along the US-Mexico border following the Secure Fence Act of 2006. Their "Vivan Los Mojados" (Long Live Wetbacks) describes the devastation that would happen to American crops if Mexican migrant workers could no longer work in the United States. The band has also become known for singing narcocorridos, which are stories of drug smugglers, their encounters with police, and the violence associated with the drug trade. These songs are not without controversy, seen by some as glorifying drug smuggling and violence, and by others as true stories of day-to-day living.

Los Tigres Del Norte

The song "Somos Mas Americanos" (We Are More American") is from Los Tigres Del Norte's 2001 album, Uniendo Fronteras (Uniting Borders). As is common in norteña music, the song features a prominent accordion and a polka rhythm, a strong, two-beat meter in which drums and chordal instruments accent upbeats. Verse one describes discrimination toward migrants and questions the use of the term "invader" to describe them by looking at the history of the United States' invasions into Mexican territory. The second verse explains the title of the song. America was originally inhabited by Native Americans, many of whom mixed with Spaniards long before the arrival of Anglo-Saxon settlers. When that history is taken into account, the song contends, the original inhabitants and their descendants are more American than the descendants of the Anglo-Saxon settlers.