New Music Tuesday–Cinco de Mayo Style

Happy Cinco de Mayo party people.

On this day, it’s only fitting that I curate a taste of music that I hope gives you a taste of the beauty and diversity that Mexican music is, past and present. Personally, it was something that I was always exposed to growing up, but like all things that my parents shared with me at that time, I just cast it aside and told them they were lame. It’s funny how things come full circle and now I’m the one bringing them music that I’ve discovered on my own, to which they’re just rolling their eyes and keeping their I told you so’s to themselves. I hope you enjoy this music and–as always–if you want to continue the conversation, just reach out to me at fmeza@oneupweb.com

 

Rodrigo y Gabriela – Tamacun

One of my favorite active bands out there. I first came up on them when a friend of mine booked them for The Tavis Smiley Show on PBS and he sent me a link to them covering Stairway to Heaven. It was a life changing moment. One that still gives me goose bumps today. They started off as a heavy metal band who were largely inspired by Metallica. They’ve got an amazing story that you should research here. I saw them play live at The Greek Amphitheater in Los Angeles 8/18/10. They brought an Indian-born violinist named Shenkar and Robert Trujillo from Metallica to do a 10 minute jam session that utterly melted people’s faces… it really happened. It got messy in that place that day…

 

Pedro Infante – Flor Sin Retono

One of the godfather’s of mariachi music and an idol of Mexican Cinema and Music. Such an amazing voice that has as much strength when he quiets to a whisper to when he belts out. He was also known as an avid pilot who tragically died when a converted war bomber that he piloted frequently crashed off the coast of Merida, Yucatan.

 

Vicente Fernandez – Vas A llorar

A living legend. Mexico’s de facto ambassador. The most beloved and prolific traditional music star. He’s got over 80 albums, has endured for 4 decades and unlike people that have been in the game that long, is just as relevant today as he was the first day he stepped on a stage. I was once lucky enough to see him live in Los Angeles. He played for 4 hours and it felt like he just got stronger as the night went on. We were up on our feet the whole time and I’d never seen an audience as engaged as I did that night. People cheering him on, throwing flowers, and fainting all over the place. It was awesome. The craziest thing was that he had a stage hand that was solely dedicated to making sure that he always had a tequila shot handy. That dude was busy the whole night. Towards the end of the night the manager of the venue came up to him and whispered in his ear. Vicente then got on the mic and said that he was way over on time and that if he continued to sing, he would be charged an overtime fee of 15,000 dollars. To which he asked the audience if they still wanted him to sing, to which the audience responded with the loudest applause I’ve ever heard. He then elegantly rushed the venue manager off of stage and continued to drink and sing for another 2 hours… Gangster. Who inspired this mad man, that’s coming up next…

 

Jose Alfredo Jimenez – El Rey

The undisputed king of Ranchera music. This man started singing at the age of 10 after the untimely death of his parents. Every time I hear him I just want to be on a beach in Mexico drinking tequila.

 

Las Jilguerillas – El Bato Gacho

Beautiful harmonies that personify a style of music known as Corrido’s which are musical stories that idolize Mexican folklore. My fiancé referred to them as the Mexican Pointer Sisters. Totally get it.