I’m sure we’ve all heard of the now famous “Mexican Pointy Boots”. If you are like me you may have thought it was a parody, a joke, definitely not real. Well I was VERY WRONG! It was real and it had spread into the South West of the United States, Texas and New Mexico. Like food, music has no borders. Mexican pointy boots are but a fraction of what has now come to be known in the States as “Musica Tribal” aka “Tribal Music”. This style of music is more than pointy boots, it’s a movement of culture better yet a mix of cultures.  

Musica tribal, depending on regional location, goes by several names  Cumbia Tribal, Tribal Guarachero and Tribal Costeño. Originally before this style of music took off, musica tribal was known as Musica Tribal Pre-Hispano, translation, Tribal Pre-Hispanic.  Ricardo Reyna is recognized as the first DJ to mix Pre-Columbian samples into tribal house in his famous song “La Danza Azteca”.  La Danza Azteca created a new way of looking at the word tribal; it now referred to Aztec and African tribes whose beats and melodies were being invoked to begin a new movement.

There are several places in Mexico believed to be the birth place of musica tribal, one of them being In the northern state of Mexico, San Luis Potosi, specifically the city of Matehuala.  It is said that the movement then spread to the city of Monterrey, Mexico (the richest city in Mexico) where the movement exploded and became popular among teenagers. Among those teenagers was Eric Rincon who at 16 became one of the main leaders in creating musica tribal. Eric had dropped out of school and began making music infusing House music with Cumbias and Aztec beats, emphasizing the Aztec beats. At first Eric was a popular DJ among local quinceaneras but soon he found himself DJ’ing at the epicenter of the movement a club called ArcoIris .This led him to gain world wide popularity and the creation of 3ballMTY, a group trio with his two best friends DJ Otto and Sheeqo Beat. Fast forward to 2012 their song Intentalo has become one of the most played songs among Spanish radio Stations including Bilingual radio stations such as Latino 96.3.

In the bigger social context you have  Musica Tribal that began in Mexico and now has spilled into the United States, although popularity has been slow (especially in states like California) it has a strong following in the South Western States. An infusion of musica tribal and hip-hop is being created by teenagers. Dedicated fans have mastered the dance moves that come with the music even forming dance crews. In addition there are dance competitions like the one in Houston with a cash prize of $7,000 to the winner.  Not all dance crews wear the famous “Mexican pointy boots”, some wear Nikes. There is a difference among the dance crews in Mexico to those here in the States. I noticed crews in Mexico adhere more to the “cowboy look”. They wear skinny jeans, cow boy style shirt and of course pointy boots. In the States it is a mix of both but none the less the dance style is similar, a mix of zapateado and shuffling.  Like in other genres of Mexican music women are usually used as sex symbols in videos, which is no different among musica tribal. Many videos feature women just dancing in the background with tights short dresses and sexy stilettos. The dance moves for the women are less complex than the men and are often more sexual.  This however has not deterred fans and its popularity continues to grow.  MusicaTribal has brought some in touch with their roots others just enjoy listening to its catchy beats. One thing is for sure these teenagers created a movement that has caused pride in some and curiosity in others.


About ocbarrios

Professor for Cal State Fullerton's Barrio Studies class for Fall 2011 semester

One response »

  1. Cathy Roe says:

    I was wondering if you specifically know of any music tribal dance groups in Southern California that I might get in contact with. The museum I work for is interested in this cultural music/dance trend and would like to invite a group to perform at our venue. Please let me know if you happen to have any connections! It would be greatly appreciated! Thank you in advance!

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