BY EDUARDO MARTINEZ
This week, we are going to take a look at six regional music gems you can find on YouTube.
>>“Solo Se Vive Una Vez” by Cali Carranza — Cali Carranza, of Pharr, was a long fixture at St. Anne’s Catholic Church’s Jamaicas (Festivals). He is probably best known for his cover of Leo Dan’s “Pideme La Luna,” but this track is also one of his best songs. Check out the great, 1990s aesthetic that you will see in this video. It’s so Valley, I just love it. Something about this song also reminds me of Peter Bogdanovich’s “They All Laughed.” There’s this nostalgic sadness in this that’s difficult to articulate.
>> “My Toot Toot” by Rockin’ Sidney — A rare recommendation that isn’t from the Valley. I know a lot of people think “Mi Cucu” by La Sonora Dinamita is an original, and while it’s awesome, I just wanted to remind or let people know it’s a cumbia cover of Rockin’ Sidney’s “Don’t Mess With My Toot Toot.” Classic zydeco song, and if you’ve never heard it before, I strongly recommend it!
>> “Almost in a Hole” by Seompi — South Texas has so much variety when it comes to music, and this is a proto-metal group from the year 1970. This is such an unusual sound, when it compares to the other music found in this area, and people are usually surprised when they find out this band is originally from McAllen. Their doom-sounding album, from where this track comes from, is also worth tracking down.
>>“Huapango Brujo” and “La Llorana Loca” by Esteban Jordan — Elsa’s Esteban Jordan has a long list of wild and eccentric songs to his credit, and these two tunes give you an idea of what he has to offer. Huapangos within conjunto and norteño music have remained popular over the decades, but Jordan adds his own touch to the form that sets this one a part. Love his random gritos and adornos that he sprinkles in from time to time during “Huapango Brujo”. “La Llorana Loca” is so wild and kinda silly, but as Jordan would say back in the day, “I dig it.”
>>“Memorias” by Oscar Hernandez — Oscar Hernandez is an accordionist that grew up three blocks from where I live, on the corner of Wright and Dogwood in Pharr. Not too much is known about him due to him not wanting to do interviews and not being a fan of the spotlight. One of the best conjunto books, “The Texas-Mexican Conjunto: History of A Working Class Music” by Weslaco’s Manuel Peña has a few sentences on him, one of which is a pretty great sentence to have written about you: “There was Oscar Hernandez, to this day recognized as the accordionist with the best technique in the history of the tradition.” This is from his great conjunto album “Dedos Acrobaticos”, acrobatic fingers, which really showcases how much of a virtuoso he was on the accordion.