Archive for the 'Boleros y Baladas' Category

Day 27: Trio Music and the Bolero Tradition

Although the roots of the bolero are said to have begun in Spain, it wasn’t until the early part of the 20th century that the genre progressed in the country of Cuba. Having emerged as a dance form and a musical cross with Cuban son – it would go on to evolve throughout Latin America in trio form, as probably one of the most recognizable vocal and guitar idioms. Lyrically the bolero is unashamed of being over-sentimental. With songs about eternal passion, death, or the wallowing/lamenting of unrequited love. Musically, as evident in this post, trios began fusing the bolero with other musical genres, that you can enjoy in presentations and concerts, so if you’re a concert goer or a person who works in loud and noisy places, you could invest in a pair of concert ear plugs to protect your ears.
. Probably the closest to its Cuban roots would be Trio Caribe’s bolero-son “Sola En El Mundo” (alone in the world). However, I did manage to include boleros from Mexico, Colombia and Argentina – from traditional serenade style trio music, to cumbia/rock/jazz bolero fusions. Enjoy!

1. Trio Caribe: Sola En El Mundo

2. Trio Fonseca: Murio Candelaria

3. Los Tres Reyes: Por Que Me Dejas

4. Los Tecolines: Puente Roto

5. Trio Los Panchos: Lupita


Day 17: Mariachi On Wax

DEEJAYS: Next time you’re looking for a closer for your deejay nite, throw on a mariachi joint–preferably à la Vicente Fernández or José Alfredo Jiménez–and let ‘er rip. Always kills. Granted, I don’t usually throw mariachi records on the turntable at home, but I like to keep a couple 45s handy when deejaying…just in case everyone needs it. Bodes well with Jalisco-born tequila, too.

Upon hearing about mariachi maestro Vicente “Chente” Fernández’s impending retirement from showbiz (well deserved, I might add, after a near half century-spanning career!), thought I’d share a couple of regional Mexican 45s from my collection. Big up to Franko y su Super Sonido for having me!

1. Vicente Fernández: Volver Volver (Discos Columbia, 1976)

Classic track by a classic dude. No mariachi rocks a mustache or a mic better than Chente. ‘Nuff said.

Found this in a dig while trekking across southern New Mexico two summers ago. It appealed to me primarily because of the fantastic picture sleeve, but bandleader/cantante Ruben Padillo’s signature was an added bonus. While the songs on the disc aren’t particularly mind-blowing (though the featured side is decent enough), it makes up in aesthetic value. Really, how often do you come across a signed, picture-sleeved mariachi 45 on a relatively obscure Mexican label? In my case, not terribly often. Not a bad way to spend 50 cents.

– Alex LaRotta

2. Mariachi Metropolitano de Ruben Padilla: Soy Fronterizo (Discos Aragón – 197?)

Great post and some amazing images on those picture disks. I’ve never met Alex personally, but he has been a fan of Super Sonido for some time now – for which I am greatful for. It appears that when Alex isn’t doing awesome guest blog posts, he can be found in San Antonio Texas playing all sorts of awesome records. Thanks Alex, totally appreciated, and you’re welcome back anytime sir!!! On a side note, Vicente Fernández‘s Volver, Volver (come back, come back) was initially written as a love song. However, the famous ranchera tune took on another meaning in the 70’s and 80’s – becoming a rallying song for Mexican immigrants to return to Mexico. Probably the most famous ranchera song ever written, if not a ballad that made Vicente Fernández legendary – Sonido Franko

Day 14: Sin Amor

I was gonna do a post about love songs, but I found that the music for the broken-hearted was way better. I figure for every love song I pull from the KRMX lot, there must be about 10 songs about sorrow, torment and agony. With titles like A Quien Vas A Engañar (who are you going to fool?), No Quiero (I don’t want/love), Lagrimas (tears) – it would appear that I am hell-bent on ruining your Valentines Day. I ran across these tracks last night and had no urge trying to research any of the musicians (and no real intention of ruining your day). I have written in the past about both Rodolfo and Leo Dan, so be sure to check it out. Otherwise, there really is no common thread between these 45’s but the mere fact that love and heartbreak is universal. Happy Valentines Day everyone! ♥

1. Rodolfo: A Quien Vas A Engañar

2. Rodolfo: Engaño

3. Teresita: No Quiero

4. Martha y Los Ventura: Te Odio Y Te Quiero

5. Magda Franco: Lagrimas

6: Arturo Alejandro: Sonreir

7. Leo Dan: Yo Se Que No Es Feliz

8. Javier Hildago: No Te Debo Demorar

Day 2: Yndio

In 1991, when I was 20 years old, I took a bus from the Oakland Greyhound to San Diego. From Tijuana I took a direct 52+ hour bus ride to Guanajuato, Mexico (the 2 lane highways really sucked back then). If I had a nickel for every time I heard Yndio‘s Sin Tu Amor (without your love) on the radio, I could have purchased a small house down there (the peso was very weak back then).

Although the do-wop sounding Mexican ballad had been around for a while, it was the 1972 Sin Tu Amor that is probably the most famous. It was a massive hit for this group of norteños from Hermosillo. They really tried to run with that sound, as you can see with the two other songs in this post – both of which are from their next two subsequent albums. They do have some psych/hard rock numbers in the mid-70’s and recorded garage rock under the name Los Pulpos (hard to find/very rare) in the late 60’s. Otherwise, they fell into the Norteño/Banda trap like so many other musicians did in the 80’s. It was like $3000 pesos to the dollar in 1991, remember? Enjoy.

1. Yndio: Sin Tu Amor

2. Yndio: Noches y Dias Perdidas

3. Yndio: Siempre De Novios 

Contrabando con Los Tigres Del Norte

I did a short post about Los Tigres Del Norte over two years ago, but since then, drug smuggling in Mexico has since slipped into epic proportions; therefore, I thought I’d do another.

I summed up Los Tigres pretty well in my last post – I wrote about how Norteño music and corridos formed the sound-tract to the social problems and successes of the Mexican people. But it was the number Contrabando y Traicion (contraband and betrayal) that had catapulted not only the band, but the whole Norteño genre to massive success in the early 70’s. A lot earlier than I had previously indicated.

The gritty tune Contrabando y Traicion is a song about a couple who smuggles drugs across the US/Mexican border. Lyrically, it is a cover of an older corrido, which is kind of like a country ballad which can have a parable of some sort at the ending. As the story goes, Emilio Varela and Camelia the Texan smuggle marijuana in their tires from Tijuana, Mexico to Hollywood, California. But as Emilio wants to leave the business and follow a more sobering life in San Francisco, he is murdered by his female partner.

Ballads about anti-heroes, drug dealers, immigrants, and the modern ills of society were nothing new at the time. The Mexican corrido is a musical tradition that lasted over 100 years. The only difference was the approach Los Tigres Del Norte had taken musically to the genre. The combination of instruments, the use of the accordion, the loud/heavy use of the electric bass, and the nasal singing style were the subtle differences that modernized the corrido sound into what is now called Norteño. These guys popularized this sound, an approach which was copied by nearly all of Los Tigres’ contemporaries of the time.

Now the story of Contrabando y Traicion may very well be an exaggeration of some sort, but one can almost see this song as a lament to the trails and tribulations of the Mexican immigrant, a reflection for some, of how much bullshit one has to go through just to cross a border. On a side note, a few movies in the 80’s were made about this ballad. Probably one of my favorite songs of this entire genre. Please enjoy!

1. Los Tigres Del Norte: Contrabando y Traicion



Day 16: Los Comuneros de Paraguay

Formed in 1956 by harpist, Osvaldo Ganoa, Los Comuneros de Paraguay were one of the more successful conjuntos de arpa that came out of Paraguay in the mid-twentieth century.  They toured extensively throughout Latin America and enjoyed a substantial degree of international notoriety, as evidenced by this El Salvadorian pressing of their recordings of Anahí and Regalo de Amor. While they were somewhat adept at performing various Latin American genres, the two pieces featured here highlight their skill and grace in performing the ritmo guaranía of their native Paraguay.

Formed during the military dictatorship of Stroessner and baring the namesake of an early 18th century anti-colonial movement, Los Comuneros de Paraguay contributed to the nationalist fervor of the period with recordings such as these two. Anahí recounts the myth of a Guaraní princess, famous for her exquisite singing voice, who was taken captive by Spanish colonizers. She escapes, murdering a sentinel in the process, only to be recaptured and subsequently executed by being tied to a Ceibo tree and burned alive. As the flames engulf her, she transforms into the bright red flowers of the tree. The piece was written in the 1940’s by Argentine composer, Osvaldo Sosa Cordero, as commissioned by the Minister of Education for the declaration of the Ceibo flower as the national flower of Argentina. Regalo de Amor is a beautiful dedication of love composed by Paraguayan composer, Maurico Cardozo Ocampo, who dedicated himself to the preservation of the Paraguayan culture. The piece is sung in Spanish and Guaraní, both official languages of Paraguay, with the latter being the only such distinction of an indigenous language in Latin America that I know of.

Both tracks feature the angelic voice of Nair, the lead vocalist of the conjunto who only went by her first name, and the understated harp of Ganoa, which interplays beautifully with an unknown pianist. The lilting guaranía rhythm evokes sentiments of love and forlornness, giving both pieces an endearing and haunting quality.  I get chills!  Enjoy!

– Marcos Juarez

You can check out my homeboy Marcos Juarez on KALX radio station each Thursday from 12:30 to 3:00 pm for the finest in Latin American music. Trying to get Marcos to be a regular contributor to Super Sonido so please bother him here and tell him to do so. The guy has a totally different approach to the Latin American music that he collects, from Latin funk to that more traditional/indigenous sound you’re hearing now. Thanks Marcos – first music from Paraguay I’ve had on this site and I couldn’t be happier.

– Sonido Franko

1. Los Comuneros de Paraguay: Anahi

2. Los Comuneros de Paraguay: Regalo De Amor  

Day 15: Lola Beltrán – Cucurrucucú Paloma

Long before hack singers were carried to award ceremonies in gigantic plastic eggs, there was the Ranchera singing tradition – usually accompanied by some of the greatest divas of the golden age of Mexican music. With the advent of radio and television in Mexico, people in urban settings were now able to recapture the sounds of their rural towns they had once left. Ranchera, coming from the word rancho (country), was usually joined with a mariachi ensemble and a female singer. Complex melodies/rhythms, plus lyrics about loss and betrayal were to characterize the Ranchera sound – a stlye which would only catapult singers like Lola Beltrán into super stardom and forever into the psyche of the Mexican consciousness.

Nicknamed Lola la Grande (Lola the Great) – Beltrán had similar humble roots as did most of her fans. Hailing from the small town of Rosario, in the state of Sinaloa – Lola ended up working in a radio station in Mexico City as a secretary. From there her list of accomplishments went from being a film actress, marrying a matador, being a telanovela star, to hosting a talk show. However it was always her singing that made her probably the most successful Ranchera stars of all time.

I think I’ve mentioned in the past that I am not a huge fan of Rancheras and Mariachi – but Cucurrucucú Paloma (cooing dove) happens to be one of my favorites of this genre. I put below the English translation of the song below to show how melodramatic, yet how very poetic this music can be. Enjoy!

1. Lola Beltrán: Cucurrucucú Paloma

They say that every night
he was wholly overtaken by tears;
They say he never ate, but only drank.

They swear that even the heavens
trembled to hear his wail,
he suffered for her so,
that even in death, he never stopped calling for her:

Ay, ay, ay, ay, ay, he sang,
Ay, ay, ay, ay, ay, he howled,
Ay, ay, ay, ay, ay, he sang,
tormented by a fatal passion.

They say that in early morning
a sad dove sings to the little empty house
with its wide open little doors. They swear that the dove
is none other than his spirit, hoping still for the return
of the ill-fated woman

Coo…coo… Dove,
Coo…coo… don’t weep.

What do the stones know about love?


Little dove, do not weep anymore.

La Guitarra Ayacuchana

Here on Super Sonido we tend to focus on cumbia and the more costal/tropical sounds from Latin America but in this post I want to shine some light on music from the Andes of Peru, specifically the region my family is from, Ayacucho.

Located in the central province of Huamanga is the capital city of Ayacucho. The city is named after the historical Battle of Ayacucho, fought during the Peruvian war of independence from Spain. Upon seeing so many casualties on the battlefield, locals called the area Ayakuchu, aya meaning “dead” and kuchu meaning “corner” in the Quechua language. An appropriate moniker considering it later became the epicenter of the Maoist uprising in the 80’s, led by the rebel group Sendero Luminoso (The Shining Path), an organization that gripped the country for over 20 years.

Since the times of the Spanish conquest, death and sadness have been common themes in this region -and nothing reflects this more than the melancholic rythm of la guitarra Ayacuchana. A guitar style so unique, that it is rarely heard in other parts of Peru , much less outside of the country.

The history of music from Ayacucho would be difficult to cover in one single blog post. It would probably require it’s own separate blog entirely. However, I wanted the opportunity to post some of my own personal videos and tracks – something that I hope will give the listening audience some idea of how this style of music fits into the larger picture of Peruvian popular culture. Perhaps illustrating how prominent the guitar is in Peruvian music, as reflected later in musical genres like Chicha and Cumbia Peruana. In Ayacucho the guitar became the instrument that empitomized that region’s sound. It achieved classical status while reflecting it’s indigenous melodic roots, something that tends to allude other instruments and styles such as Chicha and Cumbia, which are commonly looked down on as low class music.

Included in this post are videos that I shot back in 2001 in Huancayo, Peru . They feature my friend and mentor Rudi Felices playing various compositions, one of which he composed. During the war in the 80’s, Rudi was lucky to escape from Ayacucho with his life, he was shot in the arm as he jumped from rooftop to rooftop, escaping the city in the middle of the night. He now lives in Huancayo and works as a math teacher. In the second video clip he goes into some of the history behind one of the classic Ayacuchano songs he refers to as Temple el Diablo, also known as Helme. I have also included an MP3 version* played by the undisputed king of the guitarra Ayacuchana Raul Garcia Zarate. As the story goes, the song was written by a guy named Helme, who after finding his woman with another man, killed them both in a fit of rage and ate their hearts. In his depression, he called upon a famous quenista (flute player) and asks him to teach him a type of playing called Manchay Puito, which is the saddest music known to man; Sadder even than another style called “Yaravi”. He then began to play this music as punishment for the crime he had committed. It’s widely believed that if you play this style of music long enough it will drive you to suicide. ENJOY!!!!

– Dj Lengua

1. Raul Garcia Zarate: Helme *

2. Lira Paucina: El Solitario

3. Florencio Coronado: Arascasca

Balada Fuzz con Rodolfo

I’m not sure if these 45’s belong to Colombian crooner Rodolfo Aicardi or if there is some other ballad singer on the Discos Fuentes label solely named Rodolfo. If I had to put some money on it, I’d go with the former guess rather than the latter.

According to a few biographies I’ve read, Aicardi has been associated with various musical genres within his 40+ singing career: from Cumbia, Cumbión, Merengue, Paseo, Balada, Balada-Rock, Balada-Ranchera, Plena, Funk, Jala Jala, Paseaito, Bolero, Saltarín, Guajira, Porro, Salsa, Porro, Zamba, Ranchera, Cumbia Andina, Maestranza, Puya, Guaracha, Tamborera – to name a few.

The irony was that these songs presented below were probably his least popular songs in South America. Like the Peruvian band Las Pasteles Verdes or Argentinian singer Leo Dan – Rodolfo found a much larger audience for his over-the-top fuzzed out lyrical romanticism in Mexico of all places.

At any rate, some truly incredible songs. Almost has that now-sound/James Bond thing going on – especially with the song Incertidumbre (uncertainty), which is a cover song of a much older bolero standard. Great stuff for the beat heads. Enjoy!

1. Rodolfo: Incertidumbre

2. Rodolfo: Voy A Hablarte Francamente

3. Rodolfo: Has Regresado Viejo Amigo

4. Rodolfo: Buscando Amor

Gal Costa: 1968 to 1974

The arrival of Tropicália on the Brazilian music scene began in 1968 with the seminal collaboration album Tropicália: ou Panis et Circencis. Although this new genre was also embraced by the visual arts community, it was largely seen as a musically driven movement. The key to the Tropicália manifesto was antropofagia, or the cultural cannibalism of all societies. Essentially it was the digestion of all other influences, from all other genres, in order to create something totally new.

Musically it consisted of a fusion between regional Brazilian and American/British psychedelic rock. Also, the experimentation with studio production was another key element . Take the first song Mamãe, Coragem, which I couldn’t record on its own. Most tracks on the Tropicália album segway directly into each other – the whole album is on some Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club trip.

Please know that Brazil was experiencing their third military dictatorship at the time, which lasted from 1964 to 1984. So a new musical movement that rejected most conventions could only be deemed as politically engaging or a form of activism, to say the least. And the Tropicalismo movement pretty much ended with founders Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil being forced into exile in 1971.

It is ironic to think that even though Gal Costa was a big part of the Tropicália movement, she never wrote any of her own songs. Most of her music was composed either by Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil, or both. While the two were in exile, it’s as if Gal became their default artist in their absence.  However, her strength really lies in the way she expressed herself through other composer’s music and lyrics. Gal has the ability to take any genre and turn it into her own. She really captured the movement’s dense lyricism with her voice. Her singing appears unorthodox at times, with unusual time structures, always creating a thin line between happiness and sadness. It’s in my opinion that she is probably has one of the most unusual, original and beautiful female singing voices I’ve ever heard.

Presented here are a few tracks from each album in chronological order. I tried to select songs from multiple genres as an example of what was going on with the movement at the time. I am missing a few of her late 70’s records, which I’ve partially heard and appear to be impressive as well. If you like what you hear, don’t hesitate to pick any album up for yourselves, most songs on the albums given are amazing from beginning to end.  On a side note, popular Forró musician/singer Dominguinhos plays accordion on a few of her records. Forró is a popular regional music from the Northeast of Brazil. It’s almost like Zydeco. I find it amazing that he played and toured with Gal for many years, really a reflection on the influence, longevity and all-inclusive nature of the Tropicalismo movement. Peep the funky track Relance. Enjoy!

1. Gal Costa: Mamãe Coragem + Gal/Caetano/Gil/Os Mutantes: Batmacumba

2. Gal Costa w/ Gilberto Gil: Sebastiana

3. Gal Costa: Vou Recomecar

4. Gal Costa: Tuareg

5. Gal Costa: Com Medo, Com Pedro

6. Gal Costa: Lingua Do P

7. Gal Costa: Acauã

8. Gal Costa: Fruta Gogóia

9. Gal Costa: Presente Cotidiano

10. Gal Costa: Relance

11. Gal Costa: Da Maior Importancia

12. Gal Costa: Pontos De Luz

13. Gal Costa: Barato Total

14. Lua, Lua, Lua, Lua

15. Gal Costa: Flor Do Cerrado


Nelson Ned: El Enano Con Voz Gigante

Brazilian singer and composer Nelson Ned sort of carved out a niche in the 60’s and 70’s by singing sentimental ballads in both Spanish and Portuguese. Almost like the Brazilian Roberto Carlos did. However, his songs of suffering and sentimentality were probably taken even more seriously since he was so small in stature, him being a midget of course. During that era he gained international popularity, most notably in Mexico and Europe. I even recall him singing on Mexican television in the 70’s and 80’s.   

Later, Nelson Ned converted to Christianity in the 90’s (a lot of singers that crawled out of the 70’s seemed to have done that for some reason or another) and currently sings only Evangelical songs. I selected the song “No Digas No” (don’t say no), which is currently my favorite. The compilation album it comes from has no cover, so I just selected a photo from another album. Enjoy!

1. Nelson Ned: No Digas No

Day 21: Los Ángeles Negros

The Chilean band Los Angeles Negros (the black angles) probably wouldn’t be so familiar to North American ears if it wasn’t for the sample used off the Beastie Boys “Hello Nasty” album. But who can blame them for copping a beat like “El Rey Y Yo” (The King and I). Psychedelic bolero break-beats? Anyway, long before the any popularity was garnered from that Beastie Boys record, Los Angeles Negros where the most popular bolero groups of their era. 

Los Angeles Negros have almost a similar biography as Los Pasteles Verdes (see my earlier post). Both bolero style groups, founded after winning a talent show, becoming internationally famous, and then moving partially to Mexico. On a side note, keep in mind that Mexico is the most populous Latin American country (besides Brazil). So if a band makes it big, you find a lot of Caribbean and South American acts ending up there. There is almost like a cultural diaspora in Mexico City. It’s a bigger market, close to the United States, a recording/publishing mecca, and it is relatively stable to other Latin American countries, or was at the time.

Nevertheless, I threw some great break-beat sounding boleros, along with their most popular mega hit “Y Volvere” (and you will return). Check out predecessors Julio Jaramillo (Ecuador) or Carlos Gardel (Argentina). South America has had a long history of the romantic bolero and over the top lyricism. Enjoy!

1. Los Angeles Negros: Y Volvere

2. Los Angeles Negros: A Tu Recuerdo

3. Los Angeles Negros: Amor Por Ti

4. Los Angeles Negros: Con Todo Mi Amor



Day 17: La Lupe

I can’t think of one Latin female singer that took in so much and put so much out with her heart, singing, and energy than the Cuban born Guadalupe Victoria Yolí Raymond, aka La Lupe.

From exile, to fame, to drug addition, heartbreak, a waning career with Fania, to Santeria, and to an eventual life as a born-again Christian. This complex and often controversial history that La Lupe had will always be reflected in the tone of her singing voice. PBS did a documentary bio-pick of her few years back which I recommend watching. Also, peep my other post Day 1: Yeh-Yeh,  La Lupe does backing vocals for Mongo Santamaria, who actually discovered her in 1962 after being exiled to the United States from Cuba.

The song Puedes Decir Di Mi (you can say whatever you want about me) should have been in a James Bond movie. In fact, whenever I play this at clubs I always have at least one person asking me who the singer is. It’s her powerful, infectious voice that really can capture one. You don’t even need to know Spanish to understand where this lady has been and what she is trying to say. Tossed in the B side, which is just as powerful. Enjoy!

1. La Lupe: Puedes Decir De Mi

2. La Lupe: Tan Lejos Y Sin Embargo Te Quiero

Day 14: Son Tropical Yumuri de Juan Torres

 I suffer because I love you.

Happy Valentines Day!

1. Son Tropical Yumuri de Juan Torres: Sufro Porque Te Quiero

Day 12: Leo Dan, Leo Dan, Leo Dan

Leo Dan is kind of like the Tom Jones or Neil Diamond of Latin America. Born Leopoldo Dante Tévez, this Argentinian crooner would go on to be a huge singer/songwriter in Latin America, especially in Mexico. Sacha from was kind enough to drop the first track on this post. Yo he looped the intro also. AWESOME!!! A lot of sugar-coated top 40 Latin American pop. But the older Leo Dan really had that deep “Now-Sound” going on. The last 2 tracks I tossed in for you listening pleasure. Enjoy!

1. Leo Dan: Yo Se Que No Es Feliz

2. Leo Dan: Mucho Mucho

3. Leo Dan: Porque Jamas Te Olvide

Los Pasteles Verdes

I read somewhere that Víctor Hugo Acuña heard a song from The Doors and in turn created the ballad rock group Los Pasteles Verdes (The Green Pastels) in the early 70’s. Founded by both guitarist Victor and his keyboardist brother Cesar Acuña from the industrial fishing port of Chimbote, Peru. Even their web-bio indicates that they were moved by a number of American, British to South American acts. From British invasion bands like The Beatles to The Rolling Stones, Chilean ballad rock from Los Ángeles Negros to Los Iracundos, and Peruvian nationals like Los Destellos to Los Shains. But even with the plethora of influences aside, Los Pasteles Verdes have created one the most unique low-tempo sleepy psyche sound I’ve ever heard. Highly popular in Mexico (they would eventually move there), where this signature sleepy-balada sound was immensely copied as well.  Enjoy!    

1. Los Pasteles Verdes: Esclavo Y Amo

2. Los Pasteles Verdes: No Te Das Cuenta

3. Los Pasteles Verdes: Recuerdos De Una Noche

4. Los Pasteles Verdes: Baby

Ok Dominicans!


Gorgeous bolero style Batchata from the Dominican Republic. The album is a split artist record between Rafael Encarnación and Fabio Sanabia and is mostly over the top romantic love songs. Lyrically I am reminded of Julio Jaramillo, vocally I think of Jamaican Desmond Dekker, and musically it is more or less similar to Cuban guajira and Puerto Rican jibaro music. The mixture of Rafael’s hypnotic voice and the amazing acoustic guitar work is really what this old school Batchata sound was all about. See my earlier post about Edilio Paredes  if you’re into something a bit more uptempo. The Fabio Sanabia side is kind of messed up, but I selected a couple cool ass songs from Señor Encarnación .

1. Rafael Encarnación: Muero Contigo

2. Rafael Encarnación: Ay Que Amor

Discos Musart: Pan-American Beats

I’m anticipating a busy September so I thought I’d toss up a bunch of music while time was on my side. Discos Musart is a label from Mexico and I kind of scrapped together 10 little gems for you people. The great part of Musart was not only their home grown acts but they would also license music from various other Latin American labels and different Latin American countries. They really ran the gamut of genres. From cumbia, boleros, rancheros, to surf rock. The records themselves were often printed in Mexico, Los Angeles, and Hialeah Florida. Thus, the Pan-Americanism. Good friend and Mexican dj Sonido Apokalitzin reissued a few compilation CD’s for Musart about 2-3 years ago. Unfortunately you could only buy those CD’s in Mexico (I have one of them). Seems like he went through their vaults and picked out some really funky numbers. I hope my 45’s stack up.

1. Memo Salamanca: Barranquillerita

2. Nelson Pinedo: Botecito De Vela

3. Los Gibson Boys de Xavier Reyes: Camisa De Fuerza

4. Ramiro Lopez con Conj Barranqueños: Cataclismo

5. Alfredo Gutiérrez: Cumbia

6. Eulogio Molina: Cumbia Morena

7. Carlos Campos y su Orquesta: Guajira Con Boogaloo

8. Emilio Dominguez: Marinero De Agua Dulce

9. Manolo Muñoz: Seremos Felices

10. Alberto Vazquez: Vamos A Bailar



















los gibson


















alfredo cumbia














































Mercedes Sosa: Gracias A La Vida


1. Mercedes Sosa: Gracias A La Vida

I’m kind of a sucker for Latin American folk music. It’s almost like a gateway into what activism would be like in 1970’s South America. Very passionate, hopeful, and heartfelt music. And it was the hugely popular Argentine Mercedes Sosa, with her progressive and politicized lyrics, who would eventually become best known as the voice of the “voiceless ones”.

Read my prior post on Carlos Canzani y La Nueva Canción. Like Canzani, Sosa suffered the same fate during the oppressive military junta that began in 1976 Argentina. She would eventually be arrested on stage in 1979, banned from her native country, and exiled to France and Spain.

Sosa returned to Argentina in 1982, several months before the military regime collapsed as a result of the Falklands War. This 45 comes from the 1985 live album Vengo a ofrecer mi corazón (I come to offer my heart) during the democratically elected Raúl Alfonsín’s government. Gracias A La Vida (thank you to life) is a positive reflection of some of the democratic changes that were more or less occuring in Argentina at that time.

Disco Quebrado


1. Los Yaki: Cenizas

This one I recorded for Dj Lengua for sampling purposes. I like recording obscure breaks and beats for friends. Also, I have the illusion that someday I’ll do something with it, but I end up just lying to myself. Nevertheless, I like this tune a lot, I like Los Yaki.  In fact, I intended to keep this little gem until I broke it in half taking it out of the 45 spindle. Luckily I recorded the whole song instead of just the intro part. Anyway, the heartbreak song  Cenizas (ashes) can’t explain or reflect more how I feel when I lose something I like. Not going to explain Los Yaki, off to bed. Enjoy!

Carlos Canzani y La Nueva Canción

1. Carlos Canzani: Aguaraguacarloscanzani

2. Carlos Canzani: Parana

I don’t know about your town, but it seems that the San Francisco Bay Area has been sprouting up with all sorts of indie-folk, alt-folk, and freak-folk bands over the last 10 years. The popularity of this genre tends to ebb and flow with the uncertainty of an era and the overall reflections of it’s time and space.  Look back to 1960’s South America and we can find a similar uncertianty of that epoch. Poverty, political anxiety, and an overall distrust in government are key themes that helped foster the folk music movement called the Nueva Canción (new song) in places like Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay.

Pretty amazing and obscure stuff from the Uruguayan Carlos Canzani, who later played with the popular Chilean prog/folk group Los Jaivas.  The 1974 recording of Aguaragua is probably a little bit more on the experimental side than the political Nueva Canción movement. Or maybe his lyrics just aren’t as overt on the topics of poverty, human rights, and imperialism as his peers were. Either-way, Canzani was exiled to Argentina and finally France just like most artists from that movement, some of whom met an even darker fate.

British folk influences like Nick Drake/Cat Stevens and Brazilian Tropicália are evident throughout this record. Paraná is a state/province and river in Brazil. And if I had to guess, aguaragua is a nonsensical word. Basically he’s stating in the song that no one can tell him what he can or cannot say, even if it makes no sense.  Carlos Canzani is still alive today and still retains a certain global popularity. If you can find it, highly recommended record. Well made LP from start to finish.

El Ultimo Adiós

Possibly one of the best indicators of a economic recession is when I start selling records on ebay.  Wall Street should use that as an economic barometer of some sorts. Anyway, it was around November when I first drafted this post, business was slow, I was bored, and I had an urge to unload some wax. I tend to slang vinyl when I start thinking I have way too many records or when I am just not that into the music (I usually end up with sellers remorse). Nevertheless, I just so happened to record some of the 45’s that I sold, songs which I was luke-warm with at the time. And the 45’s in this post are a sample of such.

Its a real mixed bag in terms of genres. From Mexican ska, cha-cha, garage, son, salsa ect. ect. I won’t get into much detail about each band, but I’ll let you guys decide if I made a good choice or not.  Please note, that at the time, I scanned the images so small that I am now unable to read them or know some of the artist’s names. Damn I am full of regret today.

  1. Locos Del Ritmo: Donde Vas







2. Hermanos Carrion: Con Golondrinas

hermanos carrion 





3. Los Johnny Jets: Dracula A Go Go

los jonny jets






4. Desconocido (Los Yonicos?): Guapachosa

los yon






5. Toño Quirazco: La Familia







6. Johnny Zamot Y Su Orquesta: Oye Nicola







7. Memo Salamanca: Oye Rumbito







8. Desconocido (Can’t read the name): Viva Tirado




Cinco De Mayo

Tigres Del Norte Cesar Chavez1. Los Tigres Del Norte: Cesar Chavez

There is probably nothing more Mexican than Los Tigres Del Norte playing a  norteño (northern) corrido. And there is probably nothing more Mexican American than farm worker, labor leader, and civil rights activist Cesar Chavez. This is a perfect 45 for a day that symbolizes Mexican pride and heritage.

Norteño music, corridos, and banda are probably the most popular regional styles in all of Mexico. Hailing from the Northern part of the country, thus the name, Norteño forms the sound-tract to the social problems and successes of the Mexican people.

Although the music tends to sound the same after a while, it is the ever changing lyrics that speak to the Mexican people in that down to earth manner. The ballads tell of anti-heroes, drug dealers, immigrants, activists, patriotism, love lost, and the modern ills of society. It was songs like this that catapulted Los Tigres Del North to enormous success. Their modernized and retailored version of the norteño sound resulted in a phenomenon that changed the face of Mexican music in the 1990’s.

Feliz Cindo De Mayo!!!

Chico Sonido

mas-discotheque-myspace Just wanted to drop another great audio set I heard recently from Chico Sondio. I’ve had the honor to dj with Chico a few times at Mas Exitos/Mas Discoteca and the guy absolutely floors me with the stuff he’s got. I’m constantly asking him “what the fuck was that song?” Some of the sickest and jankiest Latin beats on the planet.

Be sure to listen to his “paisadelic” set at the fully fitted blog. Peep the last song also, which is coming out on his debut album. From the sound of it, it’ll probably be one of my favorite records this year.

Fucking great stuff Chico!

Bachata and Edilio Paredes

1. Edilio Paredes: La Mama Y La Hija

Bachata or Bolero Campesino (peasant love song) is a style of guitar music that is often overlooked when you think of other more popular Latin American musical genres. In fact, for a long period in the Dominican Republic (where it originated) it was marginalized, denigrated, and usually associated with the lower classes.

The music began in the rural areas as a romantic bolero style music. Early Bachata often had themes of heartbreak, deception, and love lost.  However, things began to change for the Bachata movement with the death of dictator Rafael Trujillo in 1961, whose family had a monopoly on the entire Dominican music industry. It was at that point where the Bachata recording industry and the music itself began to flourish.  And it had evolved in that era with a more rhythmic and dancable beat borrowing from Merengue and Son.  

However, it appears that there was a backlash to Bachata in the 70’s where it again was stigmatized and barred from the higher class venues. Most songs from this era dealt with the musicians environment of uncivil behavior, drunkenness, and prostitution. Songs of the time were ripe with sexual innuendo (double sentido) . Although super popular in the Dominican Republic, these songs were thought of as vulgar and ignorant by the mainstream society. 

This 45 from Edilio Paredes is a perfect example of Bachata at this time. You can already see where this song is going with La Mama Y La Hija (the mother and the young daughter). Its basically a tale of two friends liking, enjoying, and marrying both the mother and daughter.

2. Edilio Paredes: La Gozadera

A great two sider from Edilio Paredes, who is considered by many as the most influential singer, guitar player, arranger, and the person who most influenced these more uptempo changes of Bachata in the mid 1970’s .

Born in the town of La Galana, near near San Francisco de Macoris, Edilio Paredes began his musical career young and still still plays today. At age 13 he moved to the capital of Santo Domingo and got a job working at a record store/record label which launched his music profession.

You have to excuse me but Dominican Spanish is sometimes difficult for me to understand due to the idiomatic expressions and dialect. But what I do know or what I sense, is that this song is ripe with all sorts of innuendo.  If anyone from the Dominican Republic would like to translate or thinks my paraphrasing sucks, just let me know. The song La Gozadera (fun loving time?) is a story about a guy who has a problem with his girl, whose love is over, and whose solution is to party and womanize. Amazing, amazing, amazing 45. 


Cardboard Houses

1. Los Bukis: Casas De Carton

I first heard this song while living in Nicaragua in 1993. At the time I probably would never have guessed that is was Los Bukis performing this song, let alone Marco Antonio Solis who wrote it.

It was the romantic ballad like their 1975 debut “Falso Amor” (a. side)  which I am aware of, what made Los Bukis so famous in Mexico, and a style of music that became popular all over Latin America. But Los Bukis really exhibits a progressive side to themselves with the song “Casas De Carton” (cardboard houses).

 This tune is a lament to the people of Mexico (and beyond) who live in shanty towns. Sometimes called ciudades perdidas (lost cities), the inhabitants tend to build their homes with anything they can find: scrap metal, plywood, cardboard boxes.  And from what I understand of Mexican history, it was in the 1970’s where large metropolitan areas began to see this phenomenon on a much bigger scale. Irregardless, the song demonstrates a slightly revolutionary Los Bukis when they first began. The song starts out with the words; “You’ll never believe this, but there are schools for dogs where they recieve an education”

 2. Los Bukis: Necesito Rosas

I threw this one in for good measure. It’s pre-banda romantic love sounds like this that made it for Los Bukis. This song is pretty tame compared to first one. I guess you can’t always be political. Necesito Rosas (I need roses) is an uptempo ballad about a guy who needs roses for his sweetheart. Where is the flower lady when you need her?