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Borders Can’t Stop Mexican Culture

How one’s song performance shattered misconceptions of who is Mexican

In the video above, Pepe Aguilar and the famous Trojan Marching Band perform at an event on USC’s campus earlier this week the Mexican ranchera classic “Un Puño de Tierra,” song made famous by Pepe’s dad, Antonio Aguilar. (Check your pulse if you didn’t let out at least one grito!) It also happens to be a pretty good example of how Mexican LA is.

Could you imagine Pepe getting this type of reception for a ranchera at El Tecnológico de Monterrey? Maybe, but we couldn’t find anything of the like. The closest was the cumbia group Los Ángeles Azules performing 2 months ago at Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City, which was cool to see, but not exactly the same as having students and alumni singing to a traditional Mexican song.

This is a reflection of the fact that in many ways Mexicans in the United States are more Mexican than their family in Mexico. Why? The short answer is that, in general, people tend to appreciate their culture more when they’re away from it. But that’s only part of the answer. The main reason is that most Mexicans in the United States come from the real Mexico: pueblos and ranchos from states like Jalisco, Michoacán, Guanajuato, Zacatecas, Durango, Puebla, Oaxaca, and many more.

These Mexicans do not only bring with them a strong work ethic but also their culture, which includes their love for old rancheras like those Pepe’s dad used to sings. And as alluded to in the title of this post: borders can’t stop culture. This performance of a classic Mexican song and the roaring reception it received at USC is proof!