Bolivia had its own record label in the mid-20th century called Mendez, pressed in La Paz. Although the examples I’ve come across were pressed poorly – with heavy, bumpy shellac and often in irregular sizes (9 3/4″ as opposed to the standard 10″, for instance) – they were purely a Bolivian product and that counts for a lot. There seems to have been some wonderful regional music captured on Mendez, although I know next to nothing about the extent of their output or how long they existed before being bought up by a larger entity (I do know that they pressed labels in turquoise, gold, and dark blue, as seen here).
The mysterious ensemble known as “31 de Octubre” consisted of a couple of guitar players, at least one probably playing the charango, and a soloist on the quena, or the traditional Andean flute. This track is labeled as a carnaval (the flip side is listed as a danza indigena), also known as a carnavalito, a particular musical style of Bolivia. It is a song from the Eastern part of the country, interestingly, not the Andean side. The title, Milongueros, refers to Milongas (or Milonga), the Argentine style of music, and playing. It’s a nice tune – short and sweet!
(Special thanks to Carol Blenda for help and information!)
Issue Number: 203
Matrix Number: 53-L15