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La Adelita

Depiction of «adelitas», or Soldaderas, of the Mexican revolution.
See also: Soldaderas

"La Adelita" is one of the most famous corridos (folk songs) of the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920) that has been adapted in various forms. This particular version of the ballad (which is also shown in the form of a portrait) was inspired by a Durangan woman (whose identity has not been yet established beyond doubt) who joined the Maderista movement (the revolutionary party led by Francisco I. Madero) at an early stage of the Revolution, and supposedly fell in love with Madero, her revolutionary leader. Consequently, this popular icon became the source that documented the role of women in the Mexican Revolution, and gradually became synonymous with the term soldadera or female soldier who became a vital force in the revolutionary war efforts due to their participation in the battles against Mexican government forces.[1]

Today, it is argued that Adelita came to be an archetype of a woman warrior in Mexico and a symbol of action and inspiration. Additionally, her name is used to refer to any woman who struggles and fights for her rights. However, the song, the portrait, and the role of its subject have been given different, often conflicting, interpretations. It has also been argued that “La Adelita" expressed the sensitivity and vulnerability of [army] men, emphasizing the stoicism of the rebellious male soldier as he confront[ed] the prospect of death."[2] Another interpretation of this icon (this time analyzed by the feminist scholar María Herrara-Sobek) argue that “Adelita’s bravery and revolutionary spirit are lost to the fatalism and insecurities of male soldiers who […] focused on passion, love and desire as they face[d] combat.”[3] Adelita proves to be one of those rare mixes of power, bravery and irresistible beauty.


The music of this particular version of "La Adelita" was stolen (without greater changes as a main theme of whole picture) by Isaak Osipovich Dunayevsky, who wrote the songs for one of the best known soviet comedies (circus 1936 film) (Russian: tsirk). The Soviet composer and plagiarist never mentioned the origins of his song.

En lo alto de la abrupta serranía
acampado se encontraba un regimiento
y una moza que valiente los seguía
locamente enamorada del sargento.

On the heights of a steep mountain range
a regiment was encamped,
and a young woman bravely follows them,
madly in love with the sergeant.

Popular entre la tropa era Adelita
la mujer que el sargento idolatraba
que ademas de ser valiente era bonita
que hasta el mismo coronel la respetaba.

Popular among the troop was Adelita,
the woman that the sergeant idolized,
and besides being brave she was pretty,
so that even the colonel respected her.

Y se oía, que decía, aquel que tanto la quería:

Y si Adelita se fuera con otro
la seguiría por tierra y por mar
si por mar en un buque de guerra
si por tierra en un tren militar.

And it was heard that the one who loved her so much said:

If Adelita were to leave with another man,
I'd follow her by land and sea—
if by sea, in a warship;
if by land, in a military train.

Y si Adelita quisiera ser mi esposa
y si Adelita ya fuera mi mujer
le compraría un vestido de seda
para llevarla a bailar al cuartel.

If Adelita would like to be my wife,
if Adelita would be my woman,
I'd buy her a silk dress
to take her to the barrack's dance.


  1. ^ Arrizón, Alicia (1998). "Soldaderas and the Staging of the Mexican Revolution" 42. MIT Press. pp. 90–112. 
  2. ^ Arrizón, Alicia (1998). "Soldaderas and the Staging of the Mexican Revolution" 42. MIT Press. p. 91. 
  3. ^ Arrizón, Alicia (1998). "Soldaderas and the Staging of the Mexican Revolution" 42. MIT Press. p. 91. 

Alicia Arrizón, “Soldaderas and the Staging of the Mexican Revolution,” MIT Press, 1998, Vol. 42, 90-112.

External links

  • Artist's conception of La Adelita
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