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El Corrido de Anza is a nearly 10-minute music video that consists of 45, four-line stanzas, telling an historically-accurate, inspiring portrait of the Anza expedition from its start in Mexico’s Sonoran Desert to its final destination, the founding of the San Francisco Presidio.

This ambitious project was made with the support of the National Park Service (NPS). The NPS sought to promote an understanding and appreciation of the story and legacy of the Juan Bautista de Anza expedition, and the National Historic Trail commemorating that expedition, through music and film.

The music is in the corrido form (a traditional Mexican narrative ballad). It was written by Los Cenzontles Cultural Arts Academy founder and Executive Director, Eugene Rodriguez, and lyricist Gilberto Gutierrez Silva. It was recorded by the Los Cenzontles Touring Group, which includes Rodriguez, bassist Emiliano Rodriguez, and the vocal duo of Lucina Rodriguez and Fabiola Trujillo, with violinist Shira Kammen, and harpist Leonel Mendoza.

For the video, Lucina and Fabiola accompanied filmmaker Armando Aparicio to regional stops along the entire 1,200 mile stretch of the Juan Bautista de Anza Historic Trail, capturing remarkable images of the natural wonders and historic Spanish missions and presidios interspersed along the trail.

The video also features map images and place names that orient the viewer and depict the route taken by Anza and nearly 300 men, women, and children of diverse cultural origins. We hope you enjoy this unique telling of the story of the Anza expedition.

El Corrideo de Anza


Lucina Rodriguez
Lucina Rodriguez

Vocals, Member of Los Cenzontles Staff and Touring Group
“It was a privilege to have worked on this project which recognizes our people as settlers of San Francisco California, with special recognition of General Anza’s bravery, hardwork and leadership during their journey from Sonora Mexico, to San Francisco.”

Fabiola Trujilo
Fabiola Trujilo

Vocals, Member of Los Cenzontles Staff and Touring Group
“I feel honored to be able to tell our history of struggle and migration through music in this amazing Corrido.”

Eugene Rodriguez
Eugene Rodriguez
Composer; Los Cenzontles Founder and Director
“We created El Corrido de Anza to make our shared history come alive for Latinos and others. The corrido, the popular Mexican narrative ballad, was a wonderful way to tell this important, engaging story because it entertains and informs. We are grateful to the National Park Service for the opportunity to create the song and its companion video.”
Armando Aparicio
Armando Aparicio

Video Director
Filming El Corrido de Anza was a very challenging and rewarding process. Driving 2,000 miles over nine days and filming at more than 20 locations proved to be quite an unforgettable adventure and allowed us the opportunity to visit and document historic sites and their importance in the founding of many great cities.

Gilberto Gutiérrez Silva
Gilberto Gutiérrez Silva
Lyricist; Founding member of the group Mono Blanco
“Mexican corridos, which stemmed from the poetry Spanish Romance, is the perfect music genre to tell stories. They include current stories, or those from historical times and deeds, that inspire the author. Corridos tell stories of love, heartbreak, tragedies, bandit exploits, murderers, etc. and all the events that represent interest to society.”
Naomi Torres
Naomi Torres
Superintendent with the National Park Service
 “We’re so pleased with our partnership with Los Cenzontles and to be able to share the story of the expedition in this traditional musical form.”

Voy a contar una historia
del año setenta y cinco,
allá en los mil setecientos,
parte de nuestra memoria.

Eran tiempos coloniales
de la España poderosa:
“Vamos a poblar el norte
antes que pase otra cosa.

Para proteger el norte
Nueva España decidió
colonizar nuevas tierras
y a Anza lo encomendó.

A Juan Bautista de Anza,
criollo vasco de ascendencia,
le dieron esa encomienda
la que emprendieron a ultranza.

Y como gran estratega,
virtuoso en la juventud,
organizó la partida
que funcionó a plenitud.

En Culiacán, donde fue
que la gente reclutaron,
buscando un mejor futuro
las familias se engancharon.

Con Fray Pedro, el Capellán,
en San Miguel Horcasitas
entre salmos y oraciones
rumbo a la meta se van.

A las 4 de la tarde
Un septiembre 29
orando a la Guadalupe
el contingente se mueve.

300 personas van
sólo por una promesa,
exponiendo a sus familias
por salir de la pobreza.

Por el Charco del Canelo
el 3 de octubre cruzaron
y el 9 a la Misión
de San Ignacio llegaron.

La Barranca del Guambut
y a los apaches sortearon
y al presidio de Tubac
el día 15 llegaron.

El día 22 de octubre
una misa celebraron;
La partida sin retorno
por la mañana esperaron.

El día 23 de octubre
de 1775
salieron desde Tubac
con coraje y con ahínco.

Con Juan Pedro, el Capellán,
al norte de California
toman el rumbo con fe
y en contingente se van

Entre cantos de alabanza
empiezan a caminar
en un viaje que es incierto
de cuando va a terminar.

Eran pueblos generosos
y dados a compartir
y le brindaban ayuda
pa’ que pudieran seguir.

En llegando a La Canoa,
aquel desdichado día,
Juan Capistrano nació
mientras su madre moría.

San Javier del Bac, Misión
en esa tierra sagrada:
sepultaron a Manuela
y siguieron la jornada.

La carne seca y maíz
harina, chile, frijol
son alimento en el viaje
rumbo a donde sale el sol.

Caminando, caminando
para que el sol no maltrate,
el agua toman la mezcla
de azúcar y chocolate.

Cruzando el rio Colorado
lo recibió el jefe Palma
por los senderos de Yuma;
pasan un rato de calma.

Anza bondadoso y fuerte,
de nobleza y de lealtad,
platicaba con los indios
y guardaban amistad.

Y conocía al jefe Palma
de cuando anduvo explorando
y en muestra de la amistad
buena atención les van dando.

Al fin hay comida fresca
y de sabores variados
y de pronto los colonos
se sienten más animados.

Los Hecham, gente de río,
y dispuestos a ayudar
a los colonos cruzaron
porque no sabían nadar.

Para enfrentar al desierto
con su talento otra vez,
Anza los divide en grupos
que resultaron ser tres.

En el grupo de avanzada
unos pozos van cavando
cuando los siguientes llegan
el agua van encontrando.

El último contingente,
los vaqueros y el ganado,
el plan resultó perfecto
el desierto fue cruzado.

En ese punto, por cierto,
los recibió una nevada,
cuatro días sin avanzar
y con la carga diezmada.

Se perdió mucho ganado
y parte de la comida,
pero por suerte la gente
ninguno perdió la vida

Al terminar la tormenta
con autoridad y rango
Anza repartió aguardiente
y armaron un buen fandango.

Después de dejar la nieve
un terremoto sintieron
y luego como un milagro
tierra de abundancia vieron.

De abundancia y de belleza
nunca vieron nada igual;
era como el paraíso
paraíso terrenal.

Cambiaron sus alimentos,
los colonos sin tardanza,
el pescado por la carne
renovaba la esperanza.

del 1776
el 4 de enero aquel
llegaron a la Misión
la Misión de San Gabriel.

Hoy Los Ángeles se llama
y siguieron la partida
pues resultaba pequeño
sin suficiente comida.

Salieron de San Gabriel
y a 75 millas
la costa californiana
dejaba ver maravillas.

Ahi habitaban los Shumas,
Carpintería es el lugar
donde los indios hacían
canoas para pescar.

Los colones ya cansados
pelean por cosas sencillas
faltan hasta Monterrey
doscientos cincuenta millas.

Último bastión de España
cuando millas faltan cien
para llegar al final
donde el anhelado Edén.

Y fue el 28 de marzo
del año que ya corría
cuando Anza con su escolta
llegaron a la bahía.

Y allí donde fue fundado
San Francisco en la bahía
Anza miró con sus ojos
lo que se mira hoy en día.

Aquel grupo de colonos
era multicultural
y fundaron San Francisco
que lo sigue siendo igual.

Anza cumplió su misión:
está su hazaña en memorias
murió en el 88
en el siglo de sus glorias.

Gloria a Dios a San Francisco
de bajadas y subida
donde encuentran los migrantes
el modo de hacer la vida.

I’m going to tell a story
From the year seventy-five,
Back in the seventeen hundreds,
A part of our memory.

During colonial times,
Of a powerful Spain,
“Let’s go populate the North
Before something else happens.”

To protect the North,
New Spain decided
To colonize new lands
For which Anza which entrusted.

Juan Bautista de Anza,
Of Basque Creole descent,
Was given this assignment,
Which they undertook at all costs.

And as a great strategist,
And a young virtuoso,
He organized the journey
To be completed in full.

It was in Culiacán
Where they sought recruitment.
Looking for a better future,
The families joined him.

With Chaplain Fray Pedro,
In San Miguel Horcasitas,
Between psalms and prayers,
They pursued their plan.

At four in the afternoon
On September twenty nine,
Praying to La Guadalupe,
The group moved forward.

Three hundred people left,
Just on a promise,
Exposing their families,
In order to escape poverty.

At the Charco del Canelo,
On October third, they crossed;
And on the 9th, they arrived
To the San Ignacio Mission.

At the Guambut Canyon,
The Apaches scattered;
And on the 15th they arrived
At the presidio of Tubac.

On October twenty second
They celebrated mass;
A journey of no return.
They waited all morning.

On October twenty third
Of seventeen hundred seventy-five,
They left Tubac,
With courage and determination.

With Chaplain Juan Pedro
To Northern California,
They departed with faith,
And left in one group.

Between songs of praise,
They began walking
On their trip, uncertain
Of when it would end.

They met generous people
Who were willing to share,
And who offered help
So the group could continue.

Arriving at La Canoa,
That unfortunate day,
Juan Capristrano was born,
While his mother died.

San Javier del Bac, Mission,
In that sacred land:
They buried Manuela,
And continued their journey.

Dry meat and corn,
Flour, chili and beans,
Was their food on the trip
Heading towards the sunrise.

They walked and walked.
To protect themselves from the sun ,
They drank water mixed with
Sugar and chocolate.

Crossing the Colorado River,
They were received by Chief Palma.
Along the trails of Yuma,
They spent a moment of calm.

Anza, kind and strong,
Of nobility and loyalty,
Spoke with the Indians,
And all became friends.

And he knew Chief Palma
From previous explorations,
And in demonstration of their friendship,
Took good care of them.

At last there is fresh food
Of varied flavors;
And the settlers finally
Feel more animated

The Hecham river people
Are willing to help;
They assist the settlers cross
Who didn’t know how to swim.

To face the desert,
Using his talent again,
Anza divides them into groups,
Resulting in three.

The advanced group
Digs wells
So that when the others arrive,
They will have water.

The last contingent
Were the cowboys and cattle,
The plan worked perfectly;
And they crossed the desert.

At this point
Snow fell.
They were stuck for four days,
And their load was destroyed.

Much of the livestock was lost
And part of the food;
But luckily, none of the people
Lost their lives.

When the storm was over,
With authority and rank,
Anza distributed brandy,
And they threw a good fandango.

After leaving the snow,
They felt an earthquake;
And then, like a miracle,
They saw the rich land.

Of abundance and beauty,
Like they had never seen,
It was like paradise,
A paradise on earth.

The settlers exchanged food,
Without delay;
The fish for the meat,
Renewing their hope.

On January fourth,
Of seventeen hundred seventy six,
They arrived at the mission
Of San Gabriel.

Today it is called Los Angeles.
They continued their journey
Because it was too small
And without enough food.

They left San Gabriel,
And in seventy five miles,
The California coast
Displayed its wonder.

There, the Chumas lived.
Carpintería is the town
Where the Indians made
Canoes to fish.

The settlers, already tired,
Fought for simple things.
With two hundred and fifty miles left
To arrive to Monterey.

Last bastion of Spain.
When one hundred miles left
To reach their goal
Of their promised Eden.

And it was on March 28th,
Of the same year,
When Anza with his escort
Arrived to the bay.

And there,
where San Francisco was founded,
Anza saw with his eyes
What you can see today.

That group of settlers
Was multicultural.
Those who founded San Francisco,
And those who live there today.

Anza fulfilled his mission,
And his achievements are remembered.
He died in eighty-eight,
In the century of his glory.

Glory be to God for San Francisco,
For its hills and valleys,
Where migrants still find
Ways to live their lives.