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Antonio Aguilar

100 Regional Mexican Compilations Released in 2015

calibre 50 mejor

The hyper-abundant compilation album is one of the more bewildering aspects of the Regional Mexican music industry. There are a LOT of them — witness this Allmusic list of more than 50 Conjunto Primavera comps since 1995, released on eight different record labels. Lately some music-writer friends and acquaintances have observed a dearth of compilation albums in recent years, given listeners’ ability to cherrypick their own songs on streaming sites. NorteñoBlog does not dispute this observation; I’ll only add that the compilation market in Regional Mexican is still going strong. This year saw four new Primavera comps, on two different labels. Who’s buying these things? Don’t they already own all these songs?

Without answering these questions, NorteñoBlog presents this list of 100 single- (or, in the case of Sony’s Frente a Frente series, double-) artist comps released on CD in 2015. It doesn’t include multi-artist comps like Fonovisa’s annual Radio Éxitos: Discos Del Año series. This list is incomplete; I’m pretty sure I could find more by scouring the catalogs of indie labels Select-O-Hits and D&O.

Some items of interest: Continue reading “100 Regional Mexican Compilations Released in 2015”

Ask a Norteño Fan: Manuel Martinez-Luna

manuel martinez-luna

Today we extend a warm NorteñoBlog welcome to Manuel Martinez-Luna. Manuel is a 31-year-old New York native, having cut a swath from Yonkers to Queens. You know him as the blog’s top commenter, which has led to an exciting new job (tambora roll…) writing for NorteñoBlog! (First article coming soon.) (No, there’s no money in it.) In his spare time, Manuel works as a compilations coordinator for The Orchard, a digital distribution arm of Sony Music, creating Regional Mexican compilations under the brand name Club Corridos. (Nice logo.) In alphabetical order, his favorites artists are Los Alegres del Barranco, the Beatles, Vicente Fernández, Ratt, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

We recently talked by phone for almost an hour about growing up in Yonkers, how Manuel came to love norteño music, how Hispanic and white people view narcocorridos, and his karaoke triumphs and fails. Here’s the edited transcript:

NorteñoBlog: What was the first popular music you ever remember loving? How did you hear it? What did you love about it?

Manuel Martinez-Luna: I would say it was hip hop. I got more aware of the artists and particular songs in middle school. Jay-Z and, when I used to live in Yonkers, the Lox — I still listen to them. For the most part it was the beats, the instruments they used, but also the lyrics — some songs might have been a little bit more street-oriented or violent, but a lot of the the things they said I could definitely relate to. The struggle, growing up in the inner city, was not that uncommon from the type of life I had — and not just me, but a lot of people can relate to not having enough money to get school clothes for the new year, or whatever it may be. Your plumbing doesn’t work during the winter, so you have to heat up your bath water in a big pot and then pour it over yourself to take a shower. Like the landlord, sometimes you ask him, “Come by and fix my damn pipes!” You know, they take a while, and you can’t show up to school smelly.

NB: What kind of music did your parents listen to? Did you find yourself liking what they liked, rebelling against their taste, or what?

MML: All Mexican music, primarily rancheros — you know, Vicente Fernandez, Antonio Aguilar — stuff like that. My dad would listen to corridos, but mostly more old school stuff — Los Alegres de Terán, Los Huracanes del Norte, like those guys? My mom would listen to very obscure female groups, I can’t remember their name right now. I think their name was Las Jilgueras something… [NB note: Las Jilguerillas?]

Honestly, when I was younger, I just didn’t get it — I thought it was kind of hokey and too old school or whatever. I would hear it in the background all the time, Saturday mornings my mom and dad would put on their music and we would go about our business, but at that time I just didn’t get it. You know, I wasn’t into it.

That changed around 2006, 2007, Continue reading “Ask a Norteño Fan: Manuel Martinez-Luna”

¡Nuevo! (starring Colmillo Norteño, Cuarteto Imperial, y más)

colmillo big

NorteñoBlog has been in the tank for Remex Records since hearing La Trakalosa’s “Mi Padrino El Diablo” on the radio. The song co-opted the Faust myth with more diabolical vigor than any of the surrounding songs could manage — any, that is, except those by other Remex bands, like Banda Tierra Sagrada and Marco Flores’s #1 Banda Jerez. Sometimes these bands falter: Tierra Sagrada’s “Soy Un Desmadre” is a great single, but most of their forgettable 2014 album was a disappointment. Overall, though, the Remex crew are a lively bunch who appear on one another’s tunes and seem perpetually on the verge of cracking up.

colmilloThis week on Remex, the tuba quintet Colmillo Norteño releases their 10-song A Quien Corresponda, which features their own take on “Mi Padrino El Diablo,” along with the rapid-fire circus parade (and Pick to Click) “La Plebona” and some other good or promising stuff. Colmillo have been around for several years, their album covers growing shinier and less rural over time, and I dig their sousaphone “O.” They also appeared on Tierra Sagrada’s smash “El Bueno y El Malo,” which at last count had garnered ONE TRILLION YOUTUBE VIEWS.

Also on Remex, Trakalosa’s new single “La Revancha” may be good for practicing your cusswords, or at least your three-against-two subdivisions. Wouldn’t hurt you to click on that one, either.

Another single, by the duranguense goddess Diana Reyes, is not as good. She sings her self-released banda ballad “La Mesa Puesta” well, but the song itself lies flat.

el tronoSpeaking of duranguense, El Trono de México has a new best-of, Los Más Grandes (Skalona), which kicks off with a song entitled “Se Fue” that is NOT the Diana Reyes song “Se Fue.”

la originalLa Original Banda El Limón drops Medio Siglo (Luz/Disa), from whence comes their Mexican top 10 ballad “Mayor de Edad.” Like their clademates in Arrolladora, Original reliably churns out two or three radio hits a year, and “Mayor” has begun its slow climb to mayority in El Norte.

cuarteto imperialIn the world of cumbia albums that may or may not be compilations, but that are definitely pro-fishing, Cuarteto Imperial celebrates El Pescador (Utopia). I should caution that Cuarteto Imperial is South American, not Mexican: this busy album cover boasts “De Colombia a la Argentina ye de Argentina para el mundo!” World conquest may take them a while; when I went to watch the video for “El Alegre Pescador,” it had zero views. Now it has one. This is a great injustice you should help remedy, because “Alegre” is a lot of fun, heavy on synth and piano, and not the official Click to Pick only because I can’t tell if it’s new. Cuarteto Imperial also posted the rest of this album on Youtube. Go make some fishermen happy.

antionio aguilarThe late man-myth-legend Antonio Aguilar has a new compilation, Antonio Aguilar Eterno (Seamusic). Aguilar recorded 150 albums of ranchera music and acted in a bunch of movies. Billboard sez, “Much of his repertoire consisted of “Corridos,” the sung stories so beloved in Mexican music. He turned several “corridos,” into classics, including “Gabino Barrera,” “Caballo Prieto Azabache” and “Albur de Amor.””

ramon ayalaI like the cover of this Ramon Ayala reissue:

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