The Chicken Scratch of Cisco Band and the Joaquin Brothers

The Cisco Band and The Joaquin Brothers -  Popular Dance Music of the Natives of Southern Arizona
The Cisco Band and The Joaquin Brothers – Popular Dance Music of the Natives of Southern Arizona
The Cisco Band and The Joaquin Brothers

Popular Dance Music of the Natives of Southern Arizona (Canyon Records, 2009)

This CD reissue combines the 1975 LP titled The Cisco Band – Popular Dance Music of the Indians of Southern Arizona and the 1975 LP The Joaquin Brothers play Polkas and Chotis. As the original album titles indicate, this reissue contains popular dance music performed by American Indians from the southwest. In this case it is the Tohono O’odham nation (formerly known as the Papago), who live in southern Arizona and northern Sonora (Mexico).

The Southwestern United states has been an area of crosspollination, mixing the cultures of American Indians, Spaniards, Mexicans and German immigrants. The European polka was adopted and transformed by musicians in the borders areas. two legendary bands, The Cisco Band and The Joaquin Brothers specialized in this hybrid border polka and the choti two-steps known as waila (name used by the Tohono O’odham) or chicken scratch (name used by the Pima tribe). The bands’ format included accordion, saxophone, guitar, bass and drum.

The CD booklet contains extensive information about the waila phenomenon and biographies of the the artists featured. The Cisco Band and the The Joaquin Brothers album is a great example of a melting pot of styles, bringing together traditional European dance music and southwestern melodies.

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