Sunday, January 28, 2007


Rocanrol en Espanol has been around for a while now. Long enough, it seems, to have spawned a healthy "alternative" scene that features edgy groups exploring all kinds of musical spaces.

Of course, the alt.mex movement has been influenced by some cross-border pollenation. Tex-Mex Conjuntos have inspired young talent like Tish Hinojosa, and a broader palate of acoustic and electric rhythms have inspired groups like the Texas Tornados. Respect to the late Freddie Fender for his many contributions, but it was, perhaps, the Jimenez family that has had the most profound influence on the emergence of eclectic, alternative Mexican groups. Family patriarch, Santiago Jimenez, made the sound of his spirited accordion a regular part of southwestern music. But Flaco is da man. In addition to the Tornados, Flaco played with everybody, including Tish. His role in Los Fabulosos Cadillacs and the emergence of alt.mex is legendary.

Recent groups like Los Lonely Boys, Cafe Tacuba, the Nortec Collective, Kinky and LA Band Psychotic Aztecs (download "Puro") are tapping an obvious and growing market.

When I lived in the LA area, the "barrio canciones" radio show we listened to was broadcast from Pasadena City College's KPCC public station on Sunday nights. It was hosted by a velvet-voiced vixen named "Snuggles." Her tag was: "snuggle up with Snuggles." She did dedications, of course. Early 60s low-rider fare with lots of sappy, romatic lyrics. We loved it. That was back in the day. These days, the sounds of alternative Mex (Latin) are sharing the airwaves with more traditional tunes. A good thing.

No comments: