San Patricio (Blackrock Records/Hear Music HRM-31321-02, 2010)
The Chieftains’ latest recording, San Patricio (Saint Patrick in Spanish), celebrates the music of Mexico and also pays tribute to a battalion of Irish soldiers who fought for the Mexicans during a U. S. invasion. If you think Mexican music is mariachi music or norteño corridos, you are in for a surprise. In recent years, The Chieftains have collaborated with musicians from many parts of the globe and they know where to look when they are seeking music. So when the group’s leader, Paddy Moloney, decided to collaborate with Mexican musicians, he located some of the best.
San Patricio will give you a good idea of the music from the various regions and sates of Mexico. Living legend Chavela Vargas was very ill recently and her participation was in doubt, but she managed to get the energy to recording some material for The Chieftains. the result is the passionate “Luz de Luna” (Moonlight).
One of Mexico’s best known artists in recent years in the world music arena is Lila Downs. The Mexican American singer contributes two songs that fit perfectly with the Irish band’s format. In fact, the band didn’t have any difficulty blending the sounds and instrumentation of Ireland and Mexico.
The album is packed with musical talent from both sides of the Atlantic. On the Mexican side, you will find one of the most popular bands in and out of Mexico, Los Tigres del Norte; as well as Los Folkloristas (founded in 1966), who preserve the ancient traditions of Mexico and Latin America; Mariachi Santa Fe de Jesús; and the fascinating black Mexican harpist La Negra Graciana. From the U.S. side, The Chieftains enlisted Ry Cooder as coproducer, singer an guitarist; California-based los Cezontles, who continue the son jarocho and other traditions of their Mexican ancestors; and rock star Linda Ronstadt, who has Mexican heritage.
From Europe, Irish icon Moya Brenann provides her entrancing vocals; actor Liam Neeson narrates a spirited historical account of the Irish battalion; and Spanish multi-instrumentalist Carlos Núñez contributes his Galician pipes and other wind instruments.
San Patricio is a spectacular gathering of renowned musicians, celebrating the captivating musics of Mexico and Ireland.
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Author: Angel Romero
Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. Angel is currently based in Durham, North Carolina.