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The KUT Longhorn Radio Network Presents: Mexican American Experience Collection

Audio recordings including interviews, music, and informational programs related to the Mexican American community and their concerns in the series "The Mexican American Experience" and "A esta hora conversamos" from the Longhorn Radio Network, 1976-1982.

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Chicano Music In The Southwest
Program #

John Wheat
Don Americo Paredes, John Wheat
Jun 13, 1977

Chicano Music in the Southwest

John Wheat discusses some of the different styles of Chicano Music and Dr. Americo Paredes discusses the history and evolution of the Corrido. Wheat first discusses Conjunto music which originated in the 19th century, when German and Czech immigrants brought unfamiliar musical styles and instruments, such as the polka and accordion, to Mexicans and Anglos in the Southwest. Although a conjunto can be any small ensemble, the most popular have a guitarist, bassist, drummer and the accordian. Wheat explains that a good accordian is key to success and many of the most famous Tejano musicians, including Flaco Jimenez, are accordionists.

Dr. Americo Paredes then discusses the structure and themes of the corrido. Corridos have historically dealt with topics of border violence and Anglo-Mexican conflict—themes which the genre still explores today. Dr. Paredes explains that today’s corridos are inspired by contemporary political and social activism, much like the music of Woody Guthrie, and seek to reinforce ethnic pride. Other corridos cover sensational news topics, like the kidnapping of Patricia Hearst.

Wheat then discusses the rise of Freddie Fender, Chicano Country and other hybrid music styles, such as bilingual country western songs. Steve Jordan’s polka psicodelica is another example of emerging indigenous American musical styles, like blues, jazz, soul, country, salsa and conjunto.

John Wheat; Producer of Spanish-language programming, KUT-FM, Austin, Texas


Center for Mexican American Studies | Department of History | The Benson Latin American Collection

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