As often happens while researching a book project, I conducted some interviews with corridistas that I was not able to use in the final, published version of Narcocorrido. Rather that letting them go to waste, I prefer to have them up here where other researchers and fans can read them.
The Balladeers of the Border:
This entire chapter had to be cut from the book because the editor felt it covered themes that were sufficiently discussed elsewhere. I was particularly sorry to see it go because it was the chapter on Reynosa, a border town where three of the most influential corridistas of the modern era lived: Reynaldo Martínez (at left, with one of his prized fighting cocks), Beto Quintanilla, and Juan Villareal. But I had no choice, so here it is. It would properly be read in the context of the full book, following the chapter on Julian Garza, which ends with a party at Garza's house that involved a lot of alcohol and cocaine and left me somewhat the worse for wear, hence the chapter's somewhat odd beginning.
Jorge Hernández interview (In Spanish)
Jorge Hernández is the leader, principle corrido singer, and accordionist of Los Tigres del Norte, the long-reigning superstars of norteño music. My book was largely inspired by their work, and includes interviews with most of the corrido composers who have been associated with them over the years. This interview was conducted toward the end of my research, to get his perspective on the stories the composers had told me and get his own insights into the corrido world he has done so much to shape.
Hernández interview (In Spanish)
Nacho Hernández (no relation to Jorge) is one of the finest accordionists on the West Coast, as well as a successful composer of many corridos, but he is probably best known as the longtime accompanist of Chalino
Sánchez, the corrido star who before his death in 1992 did more than anyone else to define the modern form. I interviewed him in his home in the desert east of Los Angeles.
Rafael Buendia interview (In Spanish)
Rafael Buendia is an important songwriter, record producer,
filmmaker, actor, entertainer, and longtime leader of the Dueto Fronterizo. I would have loved to include a chapter on him in my book, but concluded that he really belonged to a previous era. Although he has composed some fine corridos of immigration, he does not really fit with the rough-and-ready world of the Tigres and their followers, but rather is a classic ranchera singer in the tradition of Jorge Negrete, Pedro Infante, and Antonio Aguilar, and an all-around showman with a deep knowledge of every aspect of the music and entertainment business.
Cavazos interview (In Spanish)
Cavazos is a member of the pioneering norteño duo Los
Donneños, as well as owning a record store and label in MacAllen, Texas. I interviewed him in his store, and although the conversation was briefer than I would have liked, it was a chance to meet one of the true legends of early norteño music.
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