As I was saying last time, immigration is the driving force of American music. Many American immigrants are now from Mexico; sales of tomato salsa have famously overtaken those of ketchup. It’s inevitable that Mexican-American music will also have a cultural impact.
If you’re like me, the new Mexican thread of American music has been something of a mystery, so I’m taking this opportunity to delve. There’s Norteño, the result of a collision between older folk songs with accordion-based polka from Central European immigrants in Northern Mexico. Norteño moved North to Texas, picking up some American country and rock and roll along the way to become Tejano. Tejano singers like Freddy Fender and Selena (both born in Texas) were the ones to bring a Tex-Mex flavor to Country, Rock, and Pop radio.
On the West Coast, Mexican-Americans like Ritchie Valens and Carlos Santana made inroads into the rock world, and Chicano rap is also a thing. So now the possibilities for crossover are unlimited. If you listen to this show as a podcast, you can stay to hear some insane creations that could only happen when cultures and generations collide. For example, there’s Nortec, which is a fusion of Norteño and electronica. What’s amazing to me is that these new sounds are as American as ketchup.
Listening list, part 2
Los Tigres del Norte, “La Reina Del Sur,” La Reina Del Sur
Los Super Seven, “Margarita,” Los Super Seven. A Tex-Mex supergroup including Freddy Fender and members of Los Lobos.
Plankton Man, “Gran Chaparral,” Terrestre vs Planktonman. An example of Nortec - a mixture of Mexican Norteña music and electronica. I like the combination of traditional sounds with hip hop style breakbeats. Plankton Man is a founding member of the Nortec Collective.
Making Movies, “Cuna De Vida,” A La Deriva, This band is located in Kansas City. I’m hearing indie rock, electronica, and reggaeton. Steve Berlin of Los Lobos was the producer. http://store.whatarerecords.com/products/making-movies-a-la-deriva?source_app=shopify-widget&referer=http%3A%2F%2Fmkngmvs.com%2F