Much has been made of Mexico's rich Spanish and indigenous heritage, but until recently there's been little talk of Mexico's so-called "Third Root": Africa. Africans came to Mexico with the Spanish as soldiers and slaves -- so many that by 1810, the black population of Mexico was equal to that of the United States. Today, African heritage persists throughout Mexico, yet for a variety of reasons, Black history has long been silenced. In this Hip Deep episode, we use music to explore that history as we take a road trip across the country in search of sonic traces of Afro-Mexico.
We visit the state of Veracruz to learn the history of the Afro-Mexican son jarocho sound, made famous by Ritchie Valens' 1958 hit cover of "La Bamba," a traditional jarocho tune. Then, we visit the Costa Chica of Guerrero, where Afro-Mexican communities are fighting for government recognition to help preserve faltering musical traditions. And we'll stop by the golden-age dance halls of Mexico City, where the Afro-Cuban danzón thrives far from its ancestral home in Havana. Along the way, we hear from top scholars in the field such as Ben Vinson III and Alejandro Madrid, as well as Afro-Mexican music stars past and present, from Los Cojolites to Las Cafeteras. ¡Que padre!
The Grammy Award-winning Tuareg desert rocker Tinariwen's first commercially released album turns 21 years old this year. The group has come a long way since they were recording it in between power outages in a Malian radio studio. To celebrate, Wedge Records is reissuingThe Radio Tisdas Sessions and its follow-up, Amassakoul, on March 25. Check out where to preorder and hear a previously unreleased tune right here.
Palladium in the New Millennium at Lehman Center for the Arts This concert reminisces on the era in the 1950-'60s when Machito, Tito Puente, and Tito Rodríguez headlined as "The Big Three" at the Palladium Ballroom. The event features the sons of those legends: Tito Rodríguez Jr., Mario "Machito" Grillo, and Tito Puente Jr.
Afropop Staff: Sean Barlow, Executive Producer Banning Eyre, Senior Editor Michael Jones, Chief Audio Engineer (jonesaudio.com) Ben Richmond, Director of New Media and Operations CC Smith, Editor at Large