Maya Y Cantú
El Primero Conjunto Norteño Famoso, 1946-1949
Arhoolie (

cd cover The accordion's dissemination in the Texas-Mexico border region reflects a history of German involvement in the industrialization of northern Mexico in the late 19th century. The Hohner Company launched an energetic marketing effort that made inexpensive accordions widely available to Mexican workers. Musicians adapted traditional border canción and corrido traditions to an emergent genre of vocal duet with accordion and bajo sexto backing, and by the late 1920s, commercial recordings of norteño and tejano accordion-based music first became available. Jesus Maya (bajo sexto) and Timoteo Cantú (accordion) were among the earliest and most popular innovators of conjunto norteño style, which found a growing regional audience in the late 1940s with the expansion of border radio and growing involvement by regional recording outfits. Conjunto norteño music would practically define the border sound, and the instrumental and vocal combination would also strongly influence Mexican ranchera music.

"La Barranca "
Hosting a daily afternoon show on Nuevo Laredo's Radio XEDF, Maya y Cantú also recorded at the XEDF studio between 1946 and 1949 for Ideal Records (based in Alice, Texas), a Rio Grande Valley musical institution. This release offers 15 of their most popular corridos, canciones and polkas, available for the first time on CD. Included are the well-known corridos "Dionicio Maldonado" and "Los Tequileros," which celebrate the exploits of Mexican tequila smugglers during the Prohibition era, "Jacinto Treviño," lionizing a legendary facing down of the treacherous Texas Rangers, and "El Mojado" ("Wetback"), commemorating the river-crossing rite of passage that every immigrant to "El Norte" faces. The recording is an excellent introduction to the postwar conjunto norteño style of the Texas-Mexico border. - Michael Stone

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