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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 26: Aniceto Molina

Sorry about the last 3 days. Being a bit sick and running out of ideas for this month sucks. Anyway, without too much detail, I thought I’d throw up some tracks from accordionist  Aniceto Molina. Considered “El Embajador de la Cumbia“, Molina would end up becoming more popular outside of his country rather than in his own native Colombia – most notably in Mexico, El Salvador, and among Latinos within the United States. For some reason or another it seems that Aniceto Molina never garnered the full attention of the bigger labels in Colombia and more or less set out on his own. Enjoy!

1. Aniceto Molina: La Cumbia Del Pato Donald

2. Aniceto Molina: Tu No Me Das

3. Aniceto Molina y su Conj. Tropical Valsur: Cumbia Sabanera

Day 22: Los Matecoco

Very nice boogaloo/mod 45 from Cuban/European outfit Los Matecoco. Couldn’t find out much about the band, however most of Los Matecoco’s records are on the French Riviera or Bel Air labels (probably made a career for themselves in that hexagon shaped country). And from what I gathered, this is probably their best stuff. The gut-punching Quieres O No Quieres (do you want it or not?)  is actually a Wilson Simonal cover and is ripe with all sorts of sexual innuendo. Cubans + sexually suggestive lyrics = boogaloo win. Enjoy!

1. Los Matecoco: Quieres O No Quieres


Day 21: Jeanette – Porque Te Vas

Probably the hugest hit for half-Belgian/half-Spanish/English-born/American-raised singer Janette Anne Dimech – aka Jeanette. Initially recorded in 1974 while living in Spain, Porque Te Vas (because you are leaving) became a global sensation when the song was used in Carlos Saura’s 1976 acclaimed Spanish film Cría Cuervos.

This song used to annoy the hell out of me – I first heard it as a cover song in 2002-3 by the US/Mexican indie group Los Super Elegantes (remember them, anyone?). Usually dead pan, bratty sounding females singing in Spanish would make me cringe. But I’m actually liking this song right now – what’s the world coming to? Anyway, Porque Te Vas would go on to be covered by many others bands and even attained cult status in Russia in 1979 – so at least I’m not the only person thats liking this song. Please Enjoy!

1. Jeanette: Porque Te Vas

Day 20: Three From Tito

I threw together some of the earlier RCA recordings of a younger Tito Puente in the 1950’s. This is the era of the big bandleaders and when the mambo craze was in full swing. If you hadn’t known already, singer/composer/pianist/timbales virtuoso Tito Puente is actually Puerto Rican and not Cuban – and this was the period that ushered Puerto Rican musicians into the New York/Latin music scene (Tito Rodriguez, Noro Morales, et al). Prior to that, most bandleaders were Cuban, but everyone seemed to collaborate well together. Cuban singer  Vicentico Valdés actually sings with Puente on Lagrimas Negras (one of my favorite songs) and I am quite sure Tito Puente’s band reflected the pan-Latin melting pot that was New York at the time, singers like this make a lot of people go into singing, there are even sites where you can take singing lessons such as I have more Tito Puente 45’s somewhere, but if my life and office weren’t such a mess……perhaps I’ll amend the post later if I find more. Enjoy!

1. Tito Puente: Lagrimas Negras

2. Tito Puente: Swinging The Mambo

3. Tito Puente: Lare Lare

Day 19: Acerina Y Su Danzonera

Sounding like a cross between tango and military/funeral marching band is the music and dance of Danzón. Developed in the mid to late 1800’s from European settlers in Cuba, Danzón would separate itself from the more afro-Cuban traditions of rumba and son – while establishing itself as an export most notably in Mexico. From its early beginnings, Danzón would be seen as something scandalous (like most Latin American music), only later to evolve into a more sedate and dignified form of music and dance. As it’s popularity began to wane in the 1920’s (due to the rising popularity of the chachacha and rumba) Danzón and their musicians would find open arms in such places like Veracruz, Oaxaca and Mexico City.

Mexico has long welcomed musicians and artists from all over Latin America and they really had taken the music of Danzón to heart. Probably one of the most notable Cuban exports would be Arecina Consejo Valiente Robles. It would only make sense to end up in Mexico, since the dance survived longer there than in Cuba. The two songs in the post are in fact  traditional Mexican Danzónes, not Cuban – one song being a homage to Benito Juarez and the other being the popular Nereidas (nymphs) written by Amador Pérez Dimas, who was a popular composer from Oaxaca, Mexico.

Although there is some afro-cuban elements in Danzón, you’d be surprised how ridged the musical form is. There is no singing and the music never features improvisation like rumba and son did. Without delving too deep into the structure, listen to the songs – you’ll hear that there is a change in tempo and tone that defines the style and form structure. Just remember, the melody tends to heat up at the end. Enjoy!

1. Acerina Y Su Danzonera: Nereidas

2. Acerina Y Su Danzonera: Juarez No Debio De Morir 

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