Folk Music Review: Dueto Dos Rosas, Five Songs

By Jeremy Ray Jewell

Dueto Dos Rosas’s tunes can be classified as rancheras or corridos, but their style has a very particular historical resonance.

Dueto Dos Rosas. Photo: Facebook

Sisters Emily and Sheyla Rosas of Santa Cruz, California are in love with Mexican country music, la canción campirana, and they are very proud of their indigenous Oaxacan roots. Together they form Dueto Dos Rosas, and they are drawing a lot of attention to themselves. The self-taught musicians have only five songs commercially available on streaming music platforms to date, but their YouTube footprint is already humongous. There, over the past five years, they have released over a hundred videos of performing traditional Mexican songs. Each of their videos attracts hundreds of thousands of views, and their comment sections are filled with requests. Clearly, the young Rosas sisters have struck a chord.

Their tunes can be classified as rancheras or corridos, but their style has a very particular historical resonance. Their repertoire of songs, the style of their performances, and to an extent even their image, pays homage to a moment in Mexican folk music which began in the late 1940s with Dueto América and Dueto Las Palomas, the two sibling duos from Aguascalientes made up of David, Carolina, and Elvira González. Indeed, of the five songs currently available via streaming from the Rosas sisters, at least one is based on a song first recorded by the Gonzálezes (“A la Luz de una Vela” first recorded by Dueto la Palomas in 1967), another one popularized by them (“Tres Suspiros” by Dueto América ), and a third (“Anda Paloma y Dile”) popularized by Las Jilguerillas, a younger group from Michoacán which the González siblings had been instrumental in putting together in 1955. Yet another of the Rosas’ songs (“El Diablo en una Botella”), was recorded by another stylistically similar duo active in the ’50s-’60s in Coahuila called Dueto Rio Bravo.

Significantly, the siblings González were playing both numbers familiar in their time and also reviving forgotten ones. Likewise, the Rosas are recording both the old and the new(er). Their rendition of the ancient melancholic Oaxacan love song “La Llorona” resonates with a depth of history that is matched by their interpretation of “El Diablo en una Botella”, a corrido with a tremendous breadth of modern renditions. Like the Gonzálezes, they are playing to a crowd which both desires the contemporary favorites and the viejitas pero bonitas (“oldies but goodies”). Although possibly accidental, their rendition of the Texan ranchera “Tres Suspiros” is an interesting variation on the Dueto América version. The Rosas seem to reintroduce some of the rhythms that were used in the title’s earliest recordings. (To hear the contrast, compare the Dueto América version to an early Texas conjunto style recording.)

The time frame inaugurated by the Gonzálezes and their counterparts marked a subtle shift in Mexican vernacular music. The ’40s marked an end to Cardenismo. Anticlericalism, military rule, and socialism “a la mexicana” were all on the way out, as was the once powerful intellectual push toward modernismo vernáculo (vernacular modernism) in culture. The ranchera aesthetic, which encompassed both the musical and cinematic arts, was being pulled from its moorings in post-revolutionary ideology. It was in need of a popular revitalization, what historian William Gradante called “folklorization.” It needed to become of the pueblo once more, not merely a didactic instrument.

What makes Dueto Dos Rosas’ evocation of this period so attractive? I would argue that a similar cultural disconnect is occurring now between the Mexican folk tradition and the Mexican people. As in the ’40s,  a space needs to be filled, a revitalizing bridge built between past and present. In the ’80s, esteemed musicians such as Vicente Fernández, Juan Gabriel, and José José, gained international success by creating a nationalistic ranchera image. The inevitable reaction against that profitable generalization meant a shift away from the national and back toward the regional (and thus closer to the people). And that response has reinvigorated Mexican music. Yet that regionalism has also fallen victim to opportunistic commercialism, the despoliation spurred in large part by the creation of the U.S. radio format “Regional Mexican.” The conditions are just right for an effort to reach back to an earlier time, to counter over-produced precision with minimalist purity, and to recover the essence of a (trans)national tradition. Consciously or not, Dueto Dos Rosas represents such an effort.

That effort to return to regional roots is analogous to the canción ranchera of the Revolution: by tapping into aspects of rural, peasant life that reach beyond the insular, the ranchera helped spawn the new, revolutionary Mexican people. That aesthetic trajectory projects a political future by going back to the musical past, which tells the would-be revolutionary where she has been — so that she knows where she should be going. This folkloric approach is the core of  the Dueto Dos Rosas’s popular appeal. They reject the flamboyance and over-production of the current regional trends in Mexican music. Instead, they revive a shared past in which, in the words of novelist Luis Alberto Urrea, “all Mexicans still dreamed the same dream. They dreamed of being Mexican. There was no greater mystery.” It is that mystery which the music of Dueto Dos Rosas dreams of.

Jeremy Ray Jewell hails from Jacksonville, Florida. He has an MA in History of Ideas from Birkbeck College, University of London, and a BA in Philosophy from the University of Massachusetts Boston. His website is, and he sometimes maintains a blog entitled That’s Not Southern Gothic.


  1. rollan glaskox on April 22, 2020 at 5:25 am

    I love their sound. I wish my Spanish was much better. I may not understand all of it but they have become my favorite music . their singing and their music is most wonderful blended together. i have been in this world almost 90 years and never heard such h a great sound before. These girls are going places big time in the music world. And pretty too.

    • Lydia Avant on May 21, 2021 at 2:24 pm

      Yes, these girls will live in fame. They are fluent in Spanish and fluent in English.
      Beautiful faces beautiful hair and humble personality traits constitutes a great up bringing. What a great inspiration. I wish them a good life ahead. 🙏🌹🌹

  2. Paco Pinto on October 1, 2020 at 1:01 pm

    What wonderful sounds to soothe us in these difficult times.

  3. Louie Amper on November 1, 2020 at 6:29 pm

    When I first heard him play on YouTube I continued watching my mom and my aunt were still alive I’d be going crazy over this music they loved it and they heard all the duos I’m back in the day I listen to them today what’s the name of the guitars they use love the music Keep Keep singing girls I love it God bless you

  4. Stephen on November 15, 2020 at 10:51 am

    Outstanding I love theses two girls.

  5. Oystein Ra on December 15, 2020 at 2:42 pm

    I love their music having that mexican flair that I adore!

  6. Richard D. Logan on October 2, 2022 at 4:54 pm

    The Rosas sisters are not just astonishingly good self-taught singers and requinto guitar artists, they chose when very young teens that they would devote their lives to keeping a beautiful music tradition alive. And they are doing that. Stunningly. They deserve far more recognition. They are IMO the greatest young music duo in North America.

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