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Texas political in-fighting, mariachi music and the tradition of the pachanga


by Jerome Weeks 10 Mar 2008

Reason magazine has a fascinating Q&A with University of Pennsylvania anthropologist Margaret Dorsey, author of Pachangas. She has followed the great Americo Paredes (With His Pistol in His Hand, the source for the film, The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez) in studying the Texas-Mexico border culture, specifically, the pachanga.  It’s a local institution whose forms range […]

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Mariachi outfit from Pensando en las musarañas

Reason magazine has a fascinating Q&A with University of Pennsylvania anthropologist Margaret Dorsey, author of Pachangas. She has followed the great Americo Paredes (With His Pistol in His Hand, the source for the film, The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez) in studying the Texas-Mexico border culture, specifically, the pachanga.  It’s a local institution whose forms range from family barbecues and dance-hall hoedowns to commercial spectacles sponsored by Budweiser — and political rallies for Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.

This blend of music, marketing and campaigning has been a strong-arm instrument of political bosses in South Texas — as well as one of attempted reform, of including the poorest Spanish speakers.

 And now it’s hit the debate over immigration.

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  • Americo Paredes (With His Pistol in His Hand
    reminds me of the wonderful song Con Su Pluma en Su Mano (With His Pen in His Hand) written about him by the Texas treasure Tish Hinojosa off of the wonderful cd Frontejas. It’s my favorite road music for a drive to Big Bend

    Can’t wait to read that article, looks very interesting.