"El Corrido de Rosita Alvírez"
by Leslie Liedtke

The famous folkloric corrido "El Corrido de Rosita Alvírez" delineates the machismo that reverberates throughout the Mexican culture arguably better than any other Mexican ballad of its time. It tells the story of a beautiful girl, Rosita, determined to attend her town's dance, despite the wishes of her wise mother for her to stay at home. Though forewarned, Rosita ignores her mother and later finds herself faced with a hopeless situation when she refuses to dance with one particular man, Hipólito. Because of this sequence of decisions, first going to the dance, second refusing to dance with a man, she inevitably meets her death at the hands of the humiliated Hipólito. If you would like to listen to "El Corrido de Rosita Alvírez," please press play below:


Performance de Janie C. Ramírez and the Cactus Country Band


Año de mil novecientos
Muy presente tengo yo
En un barrio del Saltillo
Rosita Alvírez murió,
Rosita Alvírez murió.
Su mamá se lo decía:
--Rosita esta noche no sales.--
--Mamá no tengo la culpa,
Que a mí me gusten los bailes,
Que a mí me gusten los bailes.--
Hipólito llegó al baile
Y a Rosa se dirigió
Como era la más bonita
Rosita lo desairó,
Rosita lo desairó.
--Rosita no me desaires
La gente lo va a notar.--
--Pues que digan lo que digan,
Contigo no he de bailar,
Contigo no he de bailar.--
Echó mano a su cintura,
Una pistola sacó
Y a la pobre de Rosita
No más tres tiros le dió,
No más tres tiros le dió.
Rosita ya está en el Cielo
Dándole cuenta al Creador
Hipólito está en la cárcel
Dando su declaración.

As is commonly known among corrido aficionados, corridos are more than simple ballads of deaths at dances, lost loves, and heroes. Corridos are tiny segments of Mexico and the Texas-Mexican border history and culture.
Link to Martha's Machismo.
Each corrido serves as a window allowing the listener to peek into an enchanting time and place completely unfamiliar to the world in which he lives. "El Corrido de Rosita Alvírez" serves as a window into a legendary tale of temptation, victimization, and pride, though as you will see, not every corrido stays the same throughout time and different regions of its existence. Different times sometimes call for slightly different standards, different morals.
For example, in the early twentieth century, a woman like Rosita who disrespected a man in public, no matter how attrocious he was, would be perceived as defiant, flirtatious and insolent. It is clear in the most recent versions of the corridos that Rosita asks for what she ultimately receives. In these versions, Rosita is portrayed as a foolish girl who brazenly ignores the admonitions of her mother telling her that she should stay home, in favor of going to a dance. After disrespecting her mother by ignoring her warnings, Rosita proceeds to tease a dirty man at the dance, tempting him to ask her to dance. Because of her decisions made already, Rosita finds herself in an unfavorable situation, and she tells the man, Hipólito, that she will not dance with him. Because the entire crowd at the dance has seen her flirting with him throughout the night, Hipólito, when refused, is humiliated not only in front of her but in the presence of most people in the town. At this point, his pride takes over his senses &endash; to learn more about machismo, see Martha's Machismo and Culture Page &endash; as machismo would have it &endash; and instead of simply walking away, he takes his pistol out of his holster and proceeds to shoot Rosita three times. Though Rosita's fate is surely a tragedy, one cannot help but blame Rosita for bringing the entire episode upon herself. Her mother puts it perfectly when she says, "Ya vistes, hija querida, por andar de pizpireta, te había de llegar el día."
In older versions dating back to about 1885, Rosita is portrayed in a completely different way. She is a victim, a victim of the dirty, evil Hipólito's advances. She is an innocent young girl who, though she has made a few mistakes, has every right to say no to this horrible man if she chooses not to dance with him. Clearly, this is a bruise to the ego for Hipólito, but he should be able to control himself, think rationally and walk away. However, instead, he aggressively reaches for his gun, and in front of everyone at the Saltillo dance, he heartlessly murders Rosita, shooting her through the heart three times. According to Merle Simmons, "Rosita Alvírez, a corrido written in 1935 to report a crime of passion caused by Rosita's refusal to dance with Hipólito, ends thus:
Rosita ya está en el cielo
Dándole cuenta al Creador,
Hipólito en el juzgado
Dando su declaración.
This ballad is probably a descendent of "Rosita Alvírez," which has been collected in New Mexico and is dated 1885 in its text, though this latter composition does not contain the strophe of interest to us here.
Two different songs, however, which appeared on Guerrero broadsides, both with the title "Corrido de Rosita Alvírez" differ considerably from "Rosita Alvírez" in text if not in substance; and both contain variants of the strophe we are studying"(Simmons, 498).
Back to Rosita Home Page
To Liz's Piporro Page
To Payson's El Guero Candelario Page
To Martha's Machismo and Culture Page