Thursday, January 03, 2008

The Lark of the Border

I've heard several epithets applied to Tejano songstress Lydia Mendoza, who died just a few days ago at 91, among them "the lark of the border" and "la reina de la musica ranchera"--the kind of intentionally iconic labels people attach to a certain, bewitching kind of art, in this instance music that sounds as lost the past to us now (and which therefore of course draws us in the more) as the Carter Family or McCormack singing old sentimental songs on a '78. Nobody could write (or perform, I think) a new Lydia Mendoza song idiomatically in the present any more than they could write a new Mozart symphony. In both cases, not a matter just of a stilled voice, but a language with no native speakers left. Here is the song I think of as iconic.

[Note: I read somewhere today that she took the plotwise pulpy words for Mal Hombre from a story printed on candy wrappers! I can't help but find them poetic just the same: "tan ruin es tu alma que no tiene nombre"!]

2 comments:

Anonymous Soprano said...

For a variety of reasons, I grew up listening to music that most people would tag as "sentimental" or "old fashioned" or "dated."

I have to admit though, that I like to listen to them again even now and they break my heart, and I don't know why.

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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