Monday, August 4, 2008


One of the defining elements of Mexican culture is its musicality. It's a rare day in Mexico City when you don't hear some form of live music: from the organ grinders of the Centro Histórico, the guitar player/singer in your local market fonda, or the bent over old man playing harmonica on the metro platform, music is an integral part of Mexican life.

I stopped for a cup of coffee in the centro while visiting with family members from St. Louis. We were held in thrall by this young singer/guitarist, José Rodriguez, who just walked in off the street. (You can hire him for your next party--call 044-55-1633-7241).

Mexico City explorer Patrice Wynne sent me this surprising video of a Mexican corrida, a musical form popular during the Revolución, when many corridas were sung to celebrate war heros and to motivate the public--here is an updated version, which wins a special award from me for being (I assume) the world's only song to include the lyrics 'hasta con plan de salud' ('even a health plan!')

Finally, take a look at this video of Mexico's Queen of Ranchera, LOLA BELTRÁN, taken from one of her early movies. She was the acknowledged role model for Linda Ronstadt's excellent 'Canciones de mi Padre' albums. When she died in 1996, her casket was placed in the Palacio de Bellas Artes; thousands of her fans filed by for days. If you don't yet have one of her many albums (available everywhere on CD) go to your nearest music store and buy one today! You don't know Mexico until you know Lola Beltrán.

(A note about youtube: if you find the video stops & starts a lot, click pause and wait until the little arrow reaches the end, then play it.)

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