I *Heart* Mexican Music

28 February 2008 · 3 comments

For the past month, I’ve been training our new salesman at the box factory, David Gingerich. He’s not a Roth, but he’s darn close. His father and my father grew up together (though Dad was closer to David’s uncle, John). David went to school with my brother, Tony.

David and his wife recently returned from a two-year mission trip to Ecuador. I love to hear his stories of life and culture in South America. As we drive around Portland looking for people to buy boxes, we have many fine conversations about immigration politics, theology (though I’m atheist now, I’m proud of religious roots), and, of course, Latin music.

When I was young, I made fun of “beaner music”. (“Are kids still racist like that?” I asked David today. He didn’t know.) The oom-pa sound of the songs the Mexicans listened to while picking berries was easy to mock. When I went to work for Dad after college, I was dismayed to find our Mexican employees preferred this sort of music.

But you know what?

I actually grew to like certain songs. In fact, several years ago I made an entire CD devoted to my favorite oom-pa Mexican songs. (I borrowed CDs from Jose, Jesus, and Sabino.) Sometimes I’ll be driving along an sunny day and the mood will strike me to listen to my Mexican mix. I don’t understand a word they’re singing, but I love it.

This afternoon as I started cleaning the house, I wanted some upbeat background music. I wasn’t in the mood for classic rock, though, and the dance station on XM was just too chipper. What I really wanted was Mexican music. Did XM offer any? I looked at my channel card…

Sure enough! For the past hour now, I’ve been listening to XM 92, Aguila! (“Regional Mexcian” it says on the channel card.) I still don’t understand a word they’re singing, but somehow I don’t care. It’s the perfect music for my mood.

1 jdroth February 28, 2008 at 17:03

I’m going to turn this blog into “all XM, all the time”, aren’t I?

2 Mom February 28, 2008 at 17:55

Regarding your comment that you are proud of your religious heritage, I wish I could say the same, but I’m not. This lack of appreciation for the Mormon church and teachings, in particular, was made especially strong in me due to my experience of being made to feel a lesser human being by some of the Mormon friends and relatives of my mom at her funeral on January 4th. I am trying to get beyond that and I did have some positive experiences, too, but I will never be proud that I came from Mormonism. My attitude is in part resentment of the teachings I had ingrained in me, especially regarding “apostates” like myself. However, when it comes to my Mormon family, my feelings are sympathy and pity, and I truly love a lot of them and have felt love in return, but not enough to ever become a Mormon again.

3 pam March 1, 2008 at 10:50

I think we grew up in an era when people just didn’t think about the terms that we used. After the mid-eighties PC movement we all realized how bad and racist these terms were. Before that, they were just part of the vernacular. Growing up, family gatherings frequently included “wetback delight” – sort of a Mexican salad bar/buffet that was easy to put together and easy to serve, plus it was easy to do potluck style (‘you bring chopped tomatoes, you bring grated cheese, etc.). These days, though, we’ve ditched the offensive title and just refer to this dish as “walking taco.”

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