A Song About the Plight of a Day Laborer in OC

Categories: Español Music

los_jornaleros.jpg
Los Jornaleros del Norte!
Outside the Anaheim home of Michael Tebb two years ago, an oppressive sun beat down on protesters but not their spirits. The contractor hired Guatemalan day laborer José Ucelo back in May 2012 outside a nearby Home Depot. At the end of 10 hours of toil, Ucelo didn't receive a dime from Tebb. Instead, he ended up in the clutches of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) after the contractor called Garden Grove police claiming that Ucelo robbed him!

Los Jornaleros del Norte (The Day Laborers of the North) kept the music going at the protest where lawyers tried serving Tebb with a wage theft lawsuit. "Ese güey no paga" (That Dude Doesn't Pay) became an improvised slogan and jam session with members of Son del Centro joining in.

Now the slogan returns as a full-fledged song courtesy of Los Jornaleros del Norte.

More »

Lupillo Rivera, Mexican Music Superstar, Fights Anti-Immigrant Protestors in Murrieta, Gets Spat On

Categories: Español Music

lupillo-pic.jpg
Fonovisa
Rivera: Despreciado by Know Nothings

Yesterday, about 200 Know Nothings protested in Murrieta, the Colton of Riverside County, to try and block buses from unloading children who had come to the United States illegally. It was as ugly an ant-Latino protest as has been seen in Southern California in at least 20 years, but an unlikely figure was there to help battle the racists: Mexican music superstar Lupillo Rivera.

Over the past 15 years, Rivera has crafted an image as a party man par none--for chrissakes, his newest album is called El Rey de los Borrachos (King of the Drunks). Though sometimes personally participating in pro-amnesty rallies, his music has been aggressively non-political, a soundtrack to parrandear (party) instead of revolution. No one in Mexico or the United States has taken him seriously as a pundit on anything, instead paying more attention to his late sister, Jenni Rivera--but that might all change because of Lupillo's actions in Murietta.

More »

The 10 Most Mexican Morrissey/Smiths Songs of All Time

Categories: Español Music

morrissey-fox_theater_pomona_ACY5714.jpg
Photo by the late, great Andrew Youssef
Morrissey at his finest
Tomorrow, Morrissey will defy his doctor's orders and play a show at the Observatory. The show sold out in seconds despite the hefty price tag, and the show will overwhelmingly be Mexican, as they have been in Southern California for the past 20 years or so. I wrote about the phenomenon back in 2002, and Morrissey has only become even more Mexican since then.

Yet the question continues to get asked: Why do Mexicans like Morrissey so much? I will answer it anew in the video version of my ¡Ask a Mexican! column this coming Monday, but the short answer is the music: as I wrote in my article so long ago, "For all the machismo and virulent existentialism that Mexican music espouses, there is another side--a morbid fascination with getting your heart and dreams broken by others, usually in death." In other words, Morrissey--and behold 10 proofs for my conclusion: the most Mexican Morrissey/Smiths songs of them all.

See also:
Review: Morrissey - The Observatory - May 8, 2014


More »

La Santa Cecilia Win a Grammy!

Thumbnail image for la_santa_cecilia2.jpg
Humberto Howard
That's Grammy Award winning La Santa Cecilia thank you very much!
Fresh off their Friday night performance at the Segerstrom Center in Costa Mesa, La Santa Cecilia took home the Grammy award last night for Best Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative Album! Yay! The honors went to Treinta Días, their major label debut. Competition in the category was diverse and fierce with Café Tacvba, El Tri, Illya Kuryaki and The Valderramas, and Los Amigos Invisibles all nominated, but the Los Angeles band rooted in Olvera Street prevailed.

More »

Yes, America: Mexican Music is Violent. Get Over It.

Categories: Español Music

buknas_de_tijuana.png
From Movimiento Alterado's "Sanguinarios del M1"
BuKnas de Culiacán singer doing what he does best--vamping!
America's liberal class and MSMers are abuzz right now over Narco Cultura, a documentary about Mexico's horrific drug war and the musical movement that has risen around it. These libs (and more than a few conservatives) are telling each other and the two Mexicans they know about how Mexican music nowadays glorifies the drug trade, how artists will write songs for narcos on commission, how musicians go on stage with AK-47s, bulletproof vests, and bazookas, how those songs revel in being as gory as possible--and how terrible all of this is.

Never mind that the music groups highlighted really hit their height in Mexican culture in 2010. Never mind that almost no media outlet had reported on this new wave of narcocorridos--alternately called el movimento alterado ("the altered movement"--"altered" as in "high as shit") or corridos enfermos ("sick corridos") until now, and now everyone is tripping on themselves to report this "new" news. NPR and the New York Times did stories on Narco Cultura recently, so it's now news! And you know something is the liberal flavor of the month when they're going to Ry Cooder--the only person progressive gabachos trust for their ethnic music--so he can cluck about the sadness of it all.

SNORE. Yes, America: Mexican music is violent. Get over it.

More »

Signa Elevates Latin Alt-Rock Sounds With Help From Vampiro!

signa_green.jpg
Julio Salazar
From left to right: David Barrera, Paul Droste, Abel Muñoz, Beto Gudiño
Signa, a Costa Mesa-based rock en español band, is back with an impressive new recording. Produced by none other than César "Vampiro" López--the guitar virtuoso of Jaguares and Maná fame--Temporales is a clean toned, highly polished four-track EP that elevates the musicians to a higher plane. Always spiritually minded, Signa held firm to their commitment to follow up their debut Cuando se ponga el sol with a heavier rocanrol sound. Vampiro plays guitars on "Cielos Abiertos" (available for free download) while Humberto "Beto" Gudiño's vocals, among the most underrated in OC in any language, shine on the title track that ponders the temporal nature of earthly existence. The rhythm section is locked tight in the grooves while the guitar work is exemplary--all of what is to be expected given Signa's talent and Vampiro's guidance.

The band even belted out an immigrant anthem "Pinches y Jardineros" (also available for free download) with the solidarity slogan "Todos somos ilegales." Check out video of an acoustic version of the song before guitarist/vocalist Beto Gudiño gives the Weekly his spare notes on Temporales.

More »

Why the Latin Grammys Remain America's Biggest Anti-Mexican Sham

Categories: Español Music

Thumbnail image for vicente_fernandez_tree.jpg
Chente, sad that the Latin Grammys suck so much

Over a decade ago, I wrote an op-ed piece for what was called Pacific News Service but is now New American Media bemoaning how pathetic the Latin Grammys were due to their lack of Mexican music. "The definers of Latin culture," I wrote then, "have decided that the most popular Latin music genre in the United States isn't worthy of promotion because it might lead people to believe that Latinos are poor and culturally backward, not slick and 'with it.'"

Back then, the Latin Grammys had just weathered a 2000 boycott by major Mexican music labels protesting the invisibility of canción mexicana in the event. Flash-forward 11 years later, and little has improved. Sure, scheduled to perform are Mexican recording artists like Calibre 50 (one of those groups that combine accordions with tubas that drive us traditionalists crazy but is what the kids like nowadays) with Banda Carnaval; Newport Beach's own Mariachi Sol de Mexico ( problematic in their own, Balboa Bay Club-patronizing, way) teamed up with ranchera feminist Paquita la del Barrio; and Latin alternative songstress Natalia Lafourcade no doubt performing something off her so-so album of covers from the Agustín Lara songbook. But this year's iteration--November 21 in Las Vegas, in a ceremony anticipated by only by NBC/ABC/FOX/CNN/Insert-name-of-major-American-media-network-giving-token-attention-to-Latinos Latino reporters seeking to score free tickets--proves the Latin Grammys will continue to be what it's always been: an anti-Mexican sham of a show.

More »

The 10 Best Songs About Illegal Immigration

Categories: Español Music

Los Tigres del Norte: champions of mojados
Over the past decade, a slew of art devoted to the cause of amnesty for illegal immigrants has flourished across the United States (check out the work of my former KPFK-FM 90.7 producer, Long Beach chingón Julio Salgado), everything from music to YouTube videos, posters to poems. It follows in the grand tradition of Mexican protest songs about la frontera and migra, a genre that goes back a century and has produced some of the most touching (or, conversely, hilarious) songs in the Mexican canon. Following are the 10 best, going back decades and involving some of the biggest names in music. Enjoy!

More »

La Santa Cecilia Return to Santa Ana for Delhi Center Zocalo Fundraiser!

la_santa_cecilia2.jpg
Humberto Howard
Traviesos!
La Santa Cecilia has popped up in some very unexpected places recently. La Marisoul, frontwoman of the alt-Latin act, performed on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon for a duet with Elvis Costello backed by The Roots. Then they hit the airwaves of NPR for its Tiny Desk Concert. The band just played the Lincoln Center and dates await in Mexico next month. But when La Santa Cecilia returns to Santa Ana for the Delhi Center's annual Zócalo Fiesta fundraiser, it will be on familiar ground.

More »

La Familia Valera Miranda, Acclaimed Cuban Son Group, Make a Rare Visit to Santa Ana

valera_miranda.jpg
La Familia Valera Miranda gettin' down!
La Familia Valera Miranda hasn't been stateside since 2001, but the musicians from Santiago de Cuba are currently on tour. Lucky for us naranjeros, they will make a stop in Santa Ana along the way! The septet from la isla are virtuosos in the tradition of Cuban son. The musical style spread widely throughout Latin America decades ago but recently became popularized once more before audiences in the United States with the emergence of the Buena Vista Social Club.

More »
Loading...