The Strachwitz Frontera Collection of Mexican and Mexican American Recordings
Arhoolie Founcation, UCLA Chicano Research Studies Center, UCLA Music Library & Digital Library Program, Los Tigres Del Norte Foundation
This collection of commercially produced Mexican and Mexican American vernacular music is the largest of its kind. It holds more than 100,000 recordings, primarily in Spanish, originally published on cassettes and records (78 rpm, 45 rpm, and 33-1/3 rpm) between 1905 and the 1990s. This growing site presents digitized versions of the roughly 30,000 recordings originally on 78 rpm records. The music ranges widely in style and includes lyric songs, canciones, boleros, rancheras, sones, instrumental music, and the first recordings of norteņo and conjunto music, as well as politically motivated speeches and comedy skits. A browseable list of subjects (especially useful for those unfamiliar with this subject) shows that love (unrequited love, adultery, regrets), war (Korean War, Mexican Revolution, World War I and II), and praise (of country, guitar, mother) are common themes in this collection. The songs, available to the public in 50 second sound clips, are streamed in real time and cannot be downloaded. A particularly useful feature of the website for classroom use is the Virtual Collections tool. After completing an easy registration process, users can collect, store, and share recordings of their choice. Teachers and students interested in gaining full access to a select group of songs for research purposes are encouraged to contact the site’s administrators.