View Full Version : Tex/Mex, cojunto, Tejano
I haven't seen to many posts on this style of music... I just got back from six weeks San Antonio where I was playing at daily Church services at a Spanish Language school... I can't say that mi espanol es bueno, but I definitely got better on playing the mando this summer.
Most of the music was in the the Tejano or Cojunto style, and my Rigel A+ really shined in this style of music... It is a great, GREAT rhythm instrument for Tejano stuff. I was just playing chords, and the Mando sounded wonderful with all the nylon stringed instruments. Really cut through the mix. Most of the other musicos were Mexican American and said that they hadn't heard a mando in this context before. By the end of the semester, they were combing the pawn shops for mandos! (I was looking for a bajo sexto....)
Anyway, I just wanted to post this to encourage anyone who plays this style of music to keep it up. I found the musicians to be quite welcoming of a mandolin in the mix and were very intrigued by its possiblities.
Hey, this deserved a response-- I play in a band that experiments with all kinds of music from very traditional old time to blues to 1970s rock and roll to texas swing and tejano--
We are just having such a good time PLAYING that we aren't worrying about "tradition"-- the mandolin player is learning to do all sorts of stuff I think he never intended-- swing-style chops and "Elvis chords" among them.
This one of the best ways that new kinds of music evolve-- we have a sound in our heads, and we try to make it using the instruments at hand. I'm sure that 100 years ago when the Germans brought polka music to Mexico that no one sat around saying "but guitar and accordion together are so wrong!" I think they probably said "yippee-- more ways to put together fun sounds!"
I'll be watching to see if mando starts showing up on new recordings...
There is some nice Tex-Mex themed music on the soundtrack for All the Pretty Horses in which a mandolin shines as a lead instrument as well. I would love to find more music like this on CD.
"I was looking for a bajo sexto...."
Any luck finding one?
I've been after one for quite some time now, and have not been happy with the instruments I've found.
I'm heading for Paracho this winter, and hope find something there...
I did find a couple of Bajo Sextos... Some can be had kind of cheaply. Most are made in Mexico of laminate b/s with a solid top. Many of the ones that I saw needed neck sets badly. The pawn shops know the good ones from the bad ones... They also know the ones that were made by local noted luthiers in the Mexican community... so I did see a real nice one (with one of those cool dearmond soundhole pickups) for near $1000, but it was hand made and a professional instrument.
I ended up passing on the Bajo Sexto idea. First, they are tuned differntly from a guitar, with the b and high e courses being tuned to C and F, respectively. So, new chord shapes to learn. Second, most of the players remove the low E strings (bajo cinco?) and play it as a 10 stringed instrument... the low E's are pretty useless I guess. Finally, I had several email conversations with multi instrumentalist and bon vivant Wade Hampton Miller, of the RMMGA, who experimented with one and found it kind of limited as an instrument... so I got a ukulele instead!
Anybody a fan of Ozomatli? They are a great band with lots of influences from Rap to Indian to African to Rock but the Latin influence seems to kinda dominate. Outta L.A. they currently have 3 CD'd and a Live DVD which may not be available anymore but they are high energy and there live shows are a blast. Not ot be missed if they are in your area. No mando player yet but I wouldn't be surprised since most of em are multi-instrumentalest!
What a timely thread! Tomorrow morning I am headed for Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico. I will be working at a Ford plant there for 6 to 12 months, coming back to Michigan about once a month. I'm taking my uke with me tomorrow, and then I will take my mandolin and other instruments on each succeeding trip. Me encantan los mariachis, and I'm hoping to find some type of local jams. I wonder what they will think of my open back five string b**jo. #http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif
I've found the bajo sexto a disappointing instrument, too. I know that some players do tune it in the same intervals as a regular guitar, rather than straight fourths. I will be looking for a vihuela to acquire.
As far as groups to listen to, my current favorite is Los Palominos. They are available in the Latin section of Walmarts, even here in Michigan.
Anybody a fan of Ozomatli?
mandolooter: I received an Ozomatli CD (Embrace the Chaos) for my birthday, and really enjoy it; it has been in constant rotation in my car since.