Archive for the ‘Hispano Music’ Category

Soundway’s Musical Map of Columbia

September 18, 2012

To take advantage of the interactive features of this musical map, go to

Would it be possible for someone to create a similar interactive audio/video map of traditional Appalachian music and styles?

for Don Juanson:

Soundway’s Musical Map of Colombia

For close to ten years now Soundway’s mission has been to present the lost musical gems from around the world: Obscure a-sides, b-sides and album cuts that have remained unavailable and unreleased outside of their home countries – if at all.

In 2008 Soundway turned its attention to Colombia, a country where music is impossible to ignore, with the release of ‘Colombia! The Golden Age of Discos Fuentes. The Powerhouse of Colombian Music’.

As this journey of discovery grew, four more Colombian compilations followed as well as a handful of singles and EPs. From the oddball Afro influenced champeta of ‘Palenque Palenque’ to the swinging descarga and cumbia of ‘Cartagena!’ and to the eagerly awaited 55 track new release ‘The Original Sound of Cumbia’, Soundway continues to unearth the music of one of the most musically prolific and exciting countries in the world.

This map goes in part to highlight the regions of Colombia that the different styles originated from and that the musicians, labels and recording studios were based. Rare video interviews with Curro Fuentes and Michi Sarmiento feature alongside performances from the likes of Lucho Bermudez and of course, some of the fantastic music that have featured on these compilations.

Go to and hover your cursor over the map of Colombia to begin your journey. Further information on the tracks can be found below the map on that web page.

Orquestas de Cuerdas

August 2, 2012

Various ArtistsMexican-American Border Music – Vol. IV; Orquestas Tipicas “Pioneer Mexican-American Dance Orchestras” 1926-1938
Arhoolie/Folklyric 7017
Various ArtistsMexican-American Border Music – Vol. V Orquestas de Cuerdas “The End of a Tradition” 1926-1938
Arhoolie/Folklyric 7018

by Mark Rubin (Old Time Herald, volume 6, number 3)

It’s probably hard for us to believe it, but as little as two generations ago the accordion was basically unheard of in Mexican-American music. If it was heard, it would be in the bordellos, accompanying sordid noon-time “dollar-a-dance” soirees, or in the rough cantinas on the fringe of town where the respectable folk wouldn’t be caught dead. Proper entertainment was provided by the string based Orquestas Tipicas, playing a wide variety of popular and folk tunes.

It wasn’t until the rise of radio and the estimable talents of accordionists like Narcisco Martinez and Bruno Villareal that the accordion shed it’s “gutter” image. Today, however, the only sound of fiddles in the plaza in San Antonio is from the modern Mariachi. Though they may appear similar from the outside, they were in fact quite different, as this collection shows.

On Orquestas Tipicas the “typical Orchestra” was anything but it appears, and we have a wide range of ensembles represented, in many seemingly unlikely combinations. There’s a Sousa-styled brass band with slide steel guitar (Banda Chihuahua,) groups of violins and trumpets closer to what we know as Mariachi today , but with a full sax section as well (Orq. Thomas Nunez,) a guitar and sax duo (Jose Maria Arrendondo Trio!!,) and mandolin Orchestras as fine as you’re likely to encounter, (Orq. de la Famila Ramos and Quinteto Tipico Mexicana.)

The types of songs presented reads like a laundry list of lost Mexican-American dance steps. You got your polkas y valses, to be certain. But then there’s danzons, one-steps, foxtrots, vals bajito, chotis, mazurka, tango, marcha and my all time favorite, the lusty pasodoble. (more…)

Hispano Music and Culture of the Northern Rio Grande

October 3, 2011

Hispano Music and Culture of the Northern Rio Grande: The Juan B. Rael Collection is an online presentation of a multi-format ethnographic field collection documenting religious and secular music of Spanish-speaking residents of rural Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado. In 1940, Juan Bautista Rael of Stanford University, a native of Arroyo Hondo, New Mexico, used disc recording equipment supplied by the Archive of American Folk Song (now the Archive of Folk Culture, American Folklife Center) to document alabados (hymns), folk drama, wedding songs, and dance tunes. The recordings included in the Archive of Folk Culture collection were made in Alamosa, Manassa, and Antonito, Colorado, and in Cerro and Arroyo Hondo, New Mexico.

The mp3 recordings in this collection are free downloads.

The Strachwitz Frontera Collection of Mexican and Mexican American Recordings

September 28, 2011

The Arhoolie Foundation’s Strachwitz Frontera Collection of commercially produced Mexican and Mexican-American recordings (the Frontera Collection) is the largest repository of Mexican and Mexican-American vernacular recordings in existence. With funding from Los Tigres del Norte Foundation the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center has sponsored the digitization of the first section of the collection by the Arhoolie Foundation. These performances were recorded primarily in the United States and Mexico and issued on 78 rpm phonograph recordings during the first half of the twentieth century. This vast digitized collection of approximately 30,000 recordings is now available to researchers and the general public.

Search collection here:

John Donald Robb Field Recordings (1944-1979)

September 6, 2011

John Donald Robb

The John Donald Robb Archive of Southwestern Music is dedicated to preserving the musical heritage of New Mexico and the Southwest. Created in 1964, the archive has grown to house over 1,600 hours of recordings. Collecting began through the efforts of former University of New Mexico Fine Arts Dean John Donald Robb, for whom the archive iis named.The archive’s collections preserve examples of the rich cultural milieu of Southwestern music.

These are free, downloadable recordings, at

They consist of Hispanic, Native American, and Anglo music recorded between 1942-1979 in different parts of New Mexico. The collection contains Hispanic folk music such as the alabado, the pastore, the decimal, and the corrido. Additionally, Native American chants and dances, as well as Anglo cowboy and frontier ballads are represented in the collection.