05 May 2008

Monday's mp3: Cinco de Mayo sin Mariachis

Americans seem to be able to forget connections. Today's a great example. Amid the increasing anti-immigrant fervor ("let's build a wall! plus anti-immigrant radar!"), we're nonetheless delighted for a chance to throw a Cinco de Mayo party. The irony in this context of a US-based celebration of a Mexican military victory may be lost on Corona-soaked brains, I suppose.

Today we dig a little deeper into the music of Mexico than the stereotypical Mariachi band (as fun as they are). Xavier Quijas Yxayotl goes back to the pre-European roots of the music of the New World on his 2002 album Singing Earth.
Xavier Quijas Yxayotl - Singing Earth
"When people think of music from Mexico they think of this newly formed Mariachi style as traditional Mexican heritage," says Yxayotl. "They are wrong in thinking so." On this CD, Yxayotl gives a sampling of real Mexican roots music: pre-Columbian songs played on authentic instruments that he has spent most of his life building and playing.
The music is rhythm-driven (all five of the artists on the CD play percussion) along with vocals and Yxayotl's Aztec and Mayan clay flutes. The liner notes are sparse, and I would love to know more about the drums used. But that's a minor complaint about a beautiful album that's rhythmically and melodically accessible.
[mp3] Xavier Quijas Yxayotl: Dance of the Corn People
from the album Singing Earth
artist website: www.yxayotl.com
and he's on YouTube
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