California has long been home to immigrants from around the world (and from within the U.S.). What is less known, however, is that such longstanding histories of immigration and internal domestic migration have made California a fertile ground for extremely diverse and vibrant accordion musical cultures. With that, here is background on four immigrant populations —Italians, Creoles, Lebanese/Middle Eastern, and Mixtec/Mexican — to give more background the Squeezebox Stories, about an hour of history and tales of the accordion, filtered through customs and cultures found in California. [more inside]
- 100 Years of Fashion in 2 Minutes
- 100 Years of Men's Fashion in 3 Minutes
- 100 Years of Men's Swimwear in 3 Minutes (women's)
- 100 Years of Fitness in 100 Seconds
- 100 Years of Female Dance
- 100 Years of Music
- AFI's 100 Years ... (youtube playlist from American Film Institute)
- 100 Years of Black Beauty
- 100 Years of History in 2 Minutes
YuMex - Yugoslav Mexico is a 45-minute documentary by Miho Mazzini about Yu-Mex, the genre of music comprising Yugoslav interpretations of Mexican music.
Sound Opinions, the ever-excellent radio show / podcast based out of Chicago, have embarked on a 'world tour'. With the aid of a local musician or journalist, each episode covers the history of modern music in a certain country. They look at what's new and exciting in both the mainstream and underground as well as what foreign music is cracking the market. So far the tour has touched down in Mexico, Japan and Sweden, and Greg & Jim are encouraging feedback on where they should go next. [more inside]
Born in violent, divided Tijuana Mexico, Ruidosón, a musical movement blending chillwave, latin rhythms, and politics is attracting notice of critics north and south of the border. [more inside]
Hailed as heroes in Mexico for fighting with and defending the country against American invasion and reviled as traitors in the US for desertion, about 50 Irish immigrants were hung en masse after defeat in the Mexican-American War. A musical collaboration by The Chieftains, Ry Cooder and Latino musicians tell the history of the 'San Patricios'. (Related NPR story) For more background on the San Patricios, the fascinating documentary Saol John Riley, part 1 and part 2 follows Kerry singer songwriter Charlie O'Brien as he revisits sites associated with Patricio leader John Riley to discover the revolutionary hero's fate. [more inside]
Born in the border city of Tijuana, Nortec is an audio and visual style that digitally alters the local music and images to make something unique. The sound of Nortec takes the acoustic sounds of norteño (sample) and banda (sample), cut up and re-arranged into something new, with influences from electronic music broadcast by San Diego radio stations. Before too long, the Nortec sound would leak back north, and create divergent paths. More sounds and stories below the break. [more inside]
The Serenader. Roberto’s long moon-shadow stretches absurdly across the walls of the house as he plucks prettily at his guitar while his drunk client swaggers like a cat... Like many men in San Cristóbal, Roberto holds two jobs. At night he plays and sings the love songs that men use to woo women; in the day he teaches guitar to young men who may someday be his competition. Of the two jobs, serenading is far more lucrative.
While the first pioneering forays into atonality and free chromaticism were starting to occur in Western European music, the talents of Latin and South America were discovering the Romantic beauty of re-interpreting the past. [much, much more inside!]
On November 25th, 2006, Valentin Elizalde was killed in the city of Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico. Elizalde, a singer of a style of song known as the narcocorrido, was warned not to step foot in Tamaulipas because of a video for his song “A mis Enemigos," which showed footage of (WaPo article) the deaths of drug traffickers from the Gulf Cartel. In December of 2006, Javier Morales Gómez was killed in Huetamo, Michoacán while talking on his cell phone. Morales Gómez was the singer for Los Implacables del Norte, another group closely associated with narcocorridos. The most famous death of a narcocorrido writer/singer has to be Chalino Sanchez, killed in 1992, and spawning several imitators known as Los Chalinillos that are still prevalent 15 years after Sanchez's death. (previously) [more inside]
This gem got me thinking: Songs about a place. Some are more evocative of the geography, some of a tangential longing merely rooted in a place and others -- while about a place -- are really rooted more in a time. Some places immortalized in song you want to visit, others you don't , and others don't really exist at all, though we may know somewhere like it. But near or far, border to border, coast-to-coast (from the west side* to the east side and somewhere in the middle as well, there's musical pins all over the map. [links go to videos] *no direct link, second entry
Today is Texas Independence Day On March 2, 1836, the Texas Declaration of Independence was signed at Washington-on-the-Brazos. The document was created by the Convention of 1836 while almost a couple hundred brave Texans at the Alamo held Gen. Santa Anna's army of several thousand at bay for 13 days. On March 6, the Alamo finally fell, slaughtered to the last man. On March 27, 352 Texas soliders were slaughtered at the Goliad Massacre. Finally on April 21, the untrained armies of Texas, outnumbered and under the command of Sam Houston, decisively defeated the much larger and better trained and equipped Army of Mexico at the Battle of San Jacinto and captured the Mexican dictator Santa Anna. Happy Texas Independence Day.
Guillermo, it was really nada. Back in my day, Morrissey's fans were closeted gay boys, the girls who loved them, and oddly, Mormons. Now, he's the idol of Latinos, especially in LA. Is it a cultural connection with melodramatic poetry or artistic narcissism? Is it identification with Morrissey's lyrics of disenfranchisement, or a rebellion against traditional Latin machismo? Is it the hair?
Narco corridos ("drug ballads"), the modern variant of the traditional Mexican corrido, are often likened to gangsta rap-- the songs tend to glorify drug traffickers, the most famous performers are mysteriously murdered, and Mexican radio stations have banned them entirely, hoping to curb drug-related violence. (And while I must sheepishly admit that I hadn't even heard of them until I heard this segment--an interview with Elijah Wald[RA link] on NPR last week, I'm now obsessed.)
Accordion Dreams is a great new PBS show that I just got to see a preview of on my local Texas station. Try to catch it when it comes out nationally on August 30.