Oro de México

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This past August my fiancé and I treated ourselves to 3 weeks of traveling through Mexico. It had been five years since we were there last and my only regret from that last trip was that I didn’t go hunting for records. I wasn’t about to make that same mistake twice. We traveled through 4 states: Mexico (DF), Veracruz, Oaxaca, and Chiapas. My expectation was that I would only find records in the tianguis (outdoor flea markets) of Mexico City which I did thanks to Franz’s friend. Thankfully I relearned the most valuable lesson in record digging—records are everywhere. The key of course is making friends. Below is small sampling of what I returned with.

The photo above was taken in Oaxaca after finding the bazar that I had been told about from a friend I made in another bazar. On our last day I stumbled across it after having no luck earlier. The place was dark, dirty, and filled with mosquitos. However, this bazar was also filled with stacks upon stacks of records. The only problems was we had a bus to catch with only minutes to spare. Digging at top speed I managed to find a fair amount of good stuff including this gem of a 45 from Acapulco Tropical called La Pollera Amarilla.

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By the time we crossed from Oaxaca to Chiapas I really didn’t expect to find more records, but again making friends is the key. This time there was no getting lost. After making friends with the owner of a vintage shop we were guided straight to a record store filled with deadstock vinyl. (Mil gracias Edgar!) Musically Chiapas is most known for marimba. To be honest, a lot of marimba music from Central America just doesn’t do it for me. But how can you pass up Marimba Seguridad Publica De Chiapas, with it’s 8-man horn section covering La Sonora Dinamita’s Macumba? 

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For those who have never been to Chiapas I highly recommend visiting if you get the chance. The natural beauty there is stunning beyond words. Of course we went to the Mayan ruins of Palenque. And it was only fitting to find this great record by Los Royang’s with Noche Palencana to provide the perfect soundtrack.

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Without a doubt my absolute favorite state in Mexico is Veracruz. I’ve managed to collect a wealth of favorite memories over a short period of time there. And of course Veracruz is the home of Son Jarocho which we’re all big fans of here at La Pelanga. Here is one of the great standards from Veracruz, La Bruja by Conjunto Villa Del Mar De Angel Valencia. I can listen to this over and over.

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Mexican salsa: tomatos, onions, garlic, chiles and limes are one of the best conjuntos of ingredientes ever! But in Veracruz you also have another legendary type of salsa—Sonora Veracruz. Here is a spoonful of their sound from the late 70s, El Pescador.

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As any record digger will tell you, unearthing and breathing new life into a record is the rewarding part. But the real treasures are all the memories of the places and people you meet in the process.

-pozole

 

“El Coquero”, Los Beta 5

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Los Beta 5, one of Peru’s great cumbia bands, featuring the Canevallo Pardo brothers–what a talented family. Nelson (lead guitar), Fernando (guitar/bass), Reynaldo (timbales), Juan (bongos) + Pancho Lema (quinta). Here’s my favorite of this comp I got in Lima last month: ‘El Coquero”. Enjoy.

El Coquero by Los Beta 5

El Coquero

– tunda

 

 

March 2

Governor Brown’s 2011 budget proposal for the state of California includes a (best case scenario) massive cut of 1.8 billion dollars, or 15.8%, to the system of higher education. There is little else to cut, given that, for instance at San Francisco State University, 78.3% of the budget pays for salaries and benefits. This has meant, among other things, cutting hundreds of classes, delaying students’ graduation dates, denying admission to tens of thousands of students, and massively increasing the cost of tuition (over 242% since 2002).

Last year I posted this song on the occasion of the March 4, 2010 Day of Action to support public education in California. Sadly, a year later, it is even more relevant, and I’d like to repost it on the occasion of the March 2, 2011 Day of Action.

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Estudiante En Marcha by Carlos Lleras – Huber Araujo

Estudiante En Marcha

This is not a blog about politics; but these are songs that were written about Colombia’s educational system in the 70s, and are perfectly on point in this “first world” country, in 2011.  So I thought I should share.

Besides, I *know* you want to hear a “vosotros” conjugation in a vallenato, no joda!

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Los Maestros by Los Hermanos Zuleta

Los Maestros

papicultor, in support of public education.

South to North, Cumbia Mexicana

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La Pelanga, the blog, has been up and running for well over a year now and with great respect we have to acknowledge some of the great music blogs out there that have influenced, encouraged, and better informed our musical awareness. One such blog is Super Sonido which is wonderfully curated by our East Bay neighbor Joe Franko (sonido franko). Of the many record collecting blogs I traffic his by far is one of the best and one which we highly recommend visiting if you like ours. Last year I picked up an incredible Yucatan record (Baile Con Chicken y Sus Comandos by Chicken Y Sus Comandos) that I now play at every Pelanga due to first getting turned onto them by this post on Super Sonido. Those familiar with the original version of Cumbia Candelosa by Edmundo Arias will immediately pick up on how these Yucatecos really take this song into whole other gear by putting some serious swing into it. I never get tired of the call and response between the sax and keys, then the chorus comes in to seal it all up.

Cumbia Candelosa by Chicken Y Sus Comandos

Cumbia Candelosa

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From this record I have since discovered more of these great early Mexican cumbia groups like this hopping record Mas Cumbias De Pegue by Hermanos Martinez de Allende, N.L. Take a listen to a really fun song Bailando en Shorts. Despite this group hailing from much father North (Nuevo Leon) near the cumbia hotbed of Monterrey it carries a very similar interpretation of cumbia Colombiana as Chicken’s — heavy swing with that back and forth between the horns and keys. Cumbia has taken may diversions within it’s time in Mexico, but this early style is one of my favorites.

Bailando En Shorts by Hermanos Martinez De Allende, N. L.

Bailando en Shorts

If you haven’t gotten word yet. We’re throwing una Pelanga en La Peña in Berkeley, California on Friday, February 25 (see all the info here) to help raise money for the flood relief efforts in Colombia. Come through and shake up the dance floor with us!

-Pozole

 

come to the knockout on thursday night!

Friends, I’m bringing a heavy stack of old records to the Knockout on Thursday at 10pm. That’s in the Mission (SF), at 3223 Mission (where Mission and Valencia meet). $3 only.

Come!

If you’re into that, here are the facebook pages to this party and to La Pelanga.

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You want to hear what Phengren Oswald and Special Lord B. have in store, too –  just look at the poster they put together!

In the meantime I’ll leave you with some vallenato. Espero que le guste a mi compadre César en Istmina!

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El Batuqueo by Silvio Brito Con Los Hermanos Meriño

El Batuqueo

papicultor