Musical Diversity Noted
September 17, 2007, 05:05 PM
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We already knew that Mexicans are musically inclined, from their large output of narco-corridos which celebrate gangsterism hispanic style.

Recently their musical creations have come to the attention of diversity-loving NPR, which presented their songs as the folk expression of a people in struggle for a better life.

It is culturally unsettling to hear "This Land Is Your Land," the old Woodie Guthrie standard, being sung in English with a Mexican back-up. (There's a Spanish version also, naturally.) The song is sung in words we Americans can understand in order to communicate the full insult as intended: not only are they invading our country, they are stealing our songs too, particularly the lefty ones.

"Woody Guthrie wrote this song in 1940, at a time when migrant workers from the Great Plains were being displaced by drought and the Dust Bowl," Dies says. "They were traveling and looking for opportunities, for a chance to work and feed their families."

Many Mexican migrant workers of today can relate, so Dies decided to translate Guthrie's classic into Spanish, while adding a few lyrics of his own: "In the world there are people who are poor / In the world there are people who are rich / And then there are the others, the travelers / who are seeking an opportunity." [Immigrant Songs Offer New Twist on Old Sounds, National Public Radio 9/16/07]

There was one tune I enjoyed...

Other immigrant farm workers are not as optimistic. Benigno Pedraza sings, "The doors of opportunity are closing in America, so I'm going back to Mexico."

Since this is NPR open-borders radio, there was no mention of the destruction wrought by job-stealing illegal foreigners on poor Americans. Those folks are singing the blues.

Incidentally, this radio project was apparently sponsored by the Western Folklife Center, the organization that hosts the annual National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. Their celebration of the invasion of America seems tone-deaf, to say the least. Why don't you ask them what they think they are doing these days: wfc@westernfolklife.org.