A few years ago, I was introduced by Chimatli to Son Huasteco music from Eastern and Northeastern Mexico, and immediately took a liking to it. Interestingly, it’s taken me some time to locate authentic sones huastecos on 78rpm, though I’m sure quite a number were recorded – as were numerous inauthentic sones huastecos, but more on that in a minute.
Son Huasteco music is played by a trio: two players on guitars (often local guitars from the region, such as the juarana huasteca and the eight-stringed guitarra quinta), and the determining factor, a fiddle player who plays hard and fast, in a rough-hewn style that’s completely engaging. There have been several times where I’ve taken a chance on a 78rpm Son Huasteco record only to find that it’s simply a vocal trio with no violin – a cover band of sorts. This record, which I received in the mail last week and thought would be a fine companion to last week’s entry, is getting to closer to the real thing. “El Llorar” was recorded by a few different artists in the 78rpm era, besides Nicandro Castillo, featured here. It continues to be a perennial classic performed by current huasteco trios in Mexico, such as the incredible Los Camperos de Valle. Castillo’s version was released on a 2-CD Mexican set titled Huapangos Y Sones De Le Huasteca, but that appears to be out of print and unavailable – so I offer my copy here.
Also, I would be foolish if I did not mention the unbelievably important work being done by record collecting giant Chris Strachwitz and his Arhoolie Foundation in conjunction with UCLA. Their Frontera Collection of Mexican American Music is something that should be used as a model for future preservation efforts of music from the 78rpm era. Chris Strachwitz, as well as the others that I have mentioned throughout this blog, is someone whom I humbly look up to as a pioneer in broadening musical taste and knowledge through the preservation of early music.
Nicandro Castillo con sus Huastecos – El Llorar
Stay tuned for a holiday-related update in a few days.
Label: RCA Victor
Issue Number: 23-6413
Matrix Number: E4XB-9068