I was driving in my car  with a date, we were talking getting to know each other and the subject of music came up she asked me what type of music do I listen to I told her I like rap listen to classic rock but I really like Banda Machos, she started laughing and said that band is old school. She said you don’t look like someone who would listen to that type of music. I told her why because I don’t wear a cowboy hat, it was not the first time I have heard someone tell me that. So I grab my iPod and go into my playlist and find some Banda Machos, I turn up the volume and start singing

Un indio quiere llorar

sus lagrimas casi brotan herido del corazón

el no la puede olvidar y su tristeza me mata

porque ese indio yo soy
 

It was one of Banda Machos popular songs about a man, an Indian who fell in love with one of societies women who has ice in there soul, she broke his heart and he’s very sad because that Indian was him.

Banda Machos originally came from Villa Corona from the state of Jalisco, Mexico. Their music is a combination of Band music, Quebradita, and Ranchera music. The band has recorded over 20 albums. The bands successful mostly came from their music style, la Quebradita which popularized in Los Angeles, CA in the early 90’s. Some of their most famous songs are, “Al Gato y al Raton”, “Y La Quiere Paco”, “Sangre de Indio”, and “La Culebra” all of which were popular songs in both Mexico and the United States. The album cover was the first to display the band’s unique costumes that they gained recognition for it included the essential touch of their name by what many call “El Macho” consisting of a figure with a hat and suit. Along with other bands, they were responsible for constructing a more danceable style of traditional Banda music. This was the Quebradita style which essentially combined cumbia with banda. This dance is considered to be very energetic and has a lively dance style to it. La quebradita is a mixture of Mexican Cumbia and Sinaloa music. It was established in Sinaloa, Mexico it became popular in the 90’s in both Mexico and the United Sates. The instruments used in for this dance are trumpets, snares, clarinets, trombones, tuba, tambora, and percussions. The basics of la quebradita is that It is danced in couples, the man fully embraced the woman’s waist and the man’s legs should fit into the respective spaces, as these should keep harmony as they move equally and simultaneously. The movement includes alternating feet with small jumps that make balancing the body on either side; this rocking motion is “broken”, turns on the job or around the room. The man does what is called tombé, which he makes the woman pulls back up straight.

A social impact the group caused with one of the songs recorded by the band was “La Culebra” (The Snake), a cover of a Cuban song. This song was played during the campaign, in which the PRI candidate to the Mexican Presidency in 1994, Luis Donaldo Coloso, was murdered. It is said that “La Culebra” was supposed to act as the signal to go ahead with the murder. The key point was where the song says “Ay, si me muerde los pies!, Yo la quiero acurruñar si me muerde los pies, Yo la tengo que matar“. (If it bites my feet, I have to grab it, if it bites my feet, I have to kill it). In the only video recording of the event, one can hear the song in the background as the gun approaches the candidate’s temple.

Today the Quebradita music is long gone, it phased out like many other music movements in the past. Banda Machos still occasionally tours, I hope to catch them in concert one day. The music was before my time when I was a kid, I remember the music at Quinceneras and big parties, that maybe a reason why I like the music it reminds me as a kid running around playing with my friends and watching all the older adults dance la Quebradita.

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About ocbarrios

Professor for Cal State Fullerton's Barrio Studies class for Fall 2011 semester

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