Archive | May, 2012

La Reconquista

25 May

ha ha ha! I promised someone I would write this blog after talking about it last night. So here I go: I used to be a big fan of Gustavo Arellano’s articles, but then he got really conceited and began to dismiss anyone who dared to oppose him. In his early Ask a Mexican book, he described to his readers the version of “La Reconquista” that was a plan drawn up by the MEChistas of the 1960’s. Of course, clueless folk from south OC, Yorba Linda, or Kansas, wrote in asking about “La Reconquista.” Did it mean that Mexicans had to go to war and fight to take back the lands that were stolen from Mexico during the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo?  Should we be afraid that Mexicans were hiding in the USA ala “Trojan Horse” to plan a surprise attack on US soil? Nope! Arellano clarified that “La Reconquista” had a metaphorical meaning. All it meant was that Mexicans were slowly going to start infiltrating the US and eventually work their way into the professional, political, and social world. There wasn’t going to be an actual war: just a slow migration to el Norte in which the Mexican culture was going to dominate the US world. That was the real “Reconquista”.

The big turning point was the 1990’s: so many events happened that allowed Latinos to be pushed into the spotlight (see my previous “Selena” post). Latinos could no longer be ignored specifically Mexicans.

I thought it was funny when a mariachi colleague began to solidify plans to start a mariachi conference in the city of New York next month. Very ambitious especially with all the Newyor-icans, I thought to myself. But then I read an article which mentioned that Mexicans were now the largest minority in some areas of New York City. What?! For real?! Wow, La Reconquista was really happening! Of course we knew that minorities were one day going to be the majority in the US, but this article is further proof it already happened with babies. http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/minority-babies-outnumbered-white-newborns-in-2011/2012/05/17/gIQAfVQHWU_story.html

Which brings me to my next point: WE’RE EVERYWHERE! No seriously! True story: I was in Italy during the summer of 2010. My friends insisted on trying the Chinese food restaurant next to our hotel. After a week and a half of Italian food, we were ready to try something different. We went and the food was INCREDIBLE. It was easily the best Chinese food I have ever had. The setting was also very elegant with silverware and very polite waiters. And the price: I paid about 10 euros for a 3 course meal and my drink. Yum! Due to the excessive walking, my digestive system was awesome in Italy so I had to use the restroom. I walked over to the back and the one uni sex restroom was busy so I waited. Then I heard something that I thought was a hallucination: was that Banda El Recodo coming out of the kitchen? You can’t get anymore Mexican than listening to Banda El Recodo. I took a peek into the kitchen and saw two Mexican men washing the dishes with their radio next to them blasting El Recodo. I felt like I was home. I kept staring, but couldn’t say a word and then one of the Chinese waiters came out of the kitchen and gave me a weird look because I kept looking inside the kitchen so I walked back to my spot waiting for the bathroom. After I finished using the restroom, I tried to peek again but the men were no longer there. I asked one of my friends to confirm my ears and yes indeed that had been 2 Mexicans listening to Banda El Recodo in Italy inside a Chinese restaurant.

Why yes: yes we are not just taking over the US, but now the world 🙂

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Las Amarillas y El Toro Rabon

24 May

I never played this song, but this is the trademark song for the SAC mariachi class. SO many memories derive from this class that I am not even going to start listing them. I can tell you one thing: it has transformed my life. The girl singing at 3:11 has, in my opinion, one of the best voices I have ever heard in my life. There are many more examples that prove my opinion, but this is the only one youtube. She has also been the person to help me the most with my skills as a guitar player, motivation as a woman in mariachi, and more recently as an educator. Here’s to you Alma!

Mariachi Cobre- El Pecador

24 May

Mariachi Cobre is the most underrated mariachi in the world. They barely release any CD’s, are hardly on TV, and NEVER come out on the radio. However, they specialize in teaching students all over the USA during mariachi conferences. Their “big” claim to fame is that they are the Official Mariachi of Walt Disney World and receive their paychecks from Mickey Mouse.

This song is about a person that has done many things that he/she regrets, but he asks for mercy on his/her loved one. The violins are BEAUTIFUL in this song. THe vocals are flawless and sound opera-like: their trademark and distinction in the mariachi world.

 

 

This song showcases the guitar/vihuela section. Omar (guitar) has been my teacher when I go to the mariachi conferences and he just makes playing the guitar look SO easy.

Mariachi groups rarely play this song. Another reason that Cobre is awesome. They play songs that are rarely played by the traditional “hey let’s play all of Vicente and Jose Alfredo’s songs” mariachi group. Gotta love this rendition of Lucha Villa’s song.

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The Crazy Ones

14 May

The Crazy Ones

I found this in the restroom of an Italian restaurant, Momma D’s in Newport Beach. By the way, this restaurant has the BEST pink pasta sauce and the BEST service EVER. ever.

The Guest House

13 May

My favorite professor from C. University, Laura L.,  posted this on her fb page:

Poem read at the funeral service of my friend and mentor Barbara M / Poema leido en el funeral de mi amiga y mentora Barbara M.

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

… A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

~ Rumi ~

“Serenata Sin Luna” – version Julieta Venegas

12 May

A great modern version of a truly poetic and innocent love song. Mixed in with Julieta’s non-traditional voice is a rhythmic acoustic guitar played in a higher octave.  A nicely distorted electric guitar in the chorus section also gives the song a rock feel. Don’t forget Julieta’s trademarks: the melodic accordion and hand claps.

 

Little known fact: Pepe Aguilar played the guitarron for this song.

 

Words of Wisdom

12 May

My sister posted this on her fb page:

WORDS OF WISDOM: Love is like a fart, if you have to force it, it’s probably shit.

 

Love it