03/27/2012 12:18 pm ET

Alt-Norteño: New Generation Of Musicians Take Traditional Mexican Music Into Uncharted Territory

“I’d been wanting to play corridos all my life but I kept denying it to myself…like a lot of musicians, I used to have my sight pointed to the U.S.” said Juan Cirerol in a recent conversation. With a trailblazing attitude, the 24-year old native of Mexicali – a border town in the middle of the scorching dessert east of Tijuana – has become a staple in the indie scene in Mexico.

“Miguel y Miguel covering Johnny Cash – I’ve heard my music described that way, I like it,” says Cirerol of his unique sound: heavy on the strum, nasal voice, Bukowskian lyrics, all interposed by conjunto licks…songs both recognizably yet playfully set within norteño music structure. For the common observer, this is a sound that often clashes with the hipsterish cosmopolitan crowd that follows him. And yet, it is precisely this contrast, as well as the self-denial Cirerol talks of overcoming, that serve as a first signal of a potential sub-genre in a stage of emergence.