Digitizing the Frontera Collection
Our biggest project has been continuing to digitize the Frontera Collection of Mexican and Mexican American recordings and make them accessible through the University of California’s digital library website. At this point we have digitized over 100,000 recordings from rare 78s, 45s, cassettes, LPs, and reel-to-reel master tapes. In June of this year we completed the digital transfer of approximately 45-rpm records and began working under a new grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to digitize our large collection of Mexican and Mexican American LP recordings. This is our third grant from the N.E.H., which has been very supportive of our work. However, in order to meet our required match for this grant, we will need to raise approximately $50,000.00 per year in matching funds for the next three years.
New Frontera Website
UCLA and the Arhoolie Foundation have been working on a new website for the Frontera Collection that should be debuting in the next month or so. It will make researching the music much easier, and make it easy for website visitors to comment and add information. We will also be uploading about 2,000 images from our Frontera image archive, and starting to post artist biographies, record label histories and more. There will be a blog for special articles about the music, as well as commentaries and news and information.
Frontera Collection Listening Station in El Cerrito, CA
Down Home Music Store in El Cerrito, CA has installed a listening station for the music of the Frontera Collection. Researchers and interested parties in the San Francisco Bay Area can now listen to the entire songs – just like the archive is available to LA area researchers at the UCLA digital music library. Come by during store hours: Thursday – Sunday from 11 AM to 7 PM. 10341 San Pablo Ave – El Cerrito, CA. Down Home can be reached by phone at 510-525-2129.
New Donation to the Frontera Collection
Carmen Juarez Beall, upon hearing of the Arhoolie Foundation’s efforts to preserve and disseminate Mexican American music, donated her huge record collection to the Foundation’s Frontera Collection.
From the Denver Post: “Thousands of recordings tossed by Colorado’s first Spanish-language radio station as tastes and technologies changed will be catalogued, digitized and added to the nation’s largest archive of Mexican-American music. For three days this week, collector Chris Strachwitz, 81, pawed through about 12,000 records donated by 85-year-old Carmen Juarez Beall, who worked as a KFSC disc jockey in the 1950s.”
The Arhoolie Foundation undertook the initial expenses of packing and shipping this large collection of 78s, 45s, and LPs, and we now hope to digitize those items that are not already in the Frontera Collection. We anticipate a budget of approximately $ 45,000.00 to digitize the approximately 800 selections on 78s and 2600 selections on 45s. I would love to have this done as soon as possible in order to assimilate these important additions into our Frontera Collection. Among these records I discovered many very regional and locally produced items including two previously unknown 78s by the legendary Lydia Mendoza that she had recorded in the early 1950s for a local Denver record shop!
Cajun Music: A Reflection of a People, Volumes 2 and 3
The Arhoolie Foundation granted funds to Ann Savoy to continue her research into the history of Cajun music and publish volumes 2 and 3 of her acclaimed book Cajun Music: A Reflection of a People. Volume one of the book can be purchased at http://www.annsavoy.com/shopcajunmusicbook.html
The Blues Come to Texas: Loping Like a Mule
The Arhoolie Foundation granted funds toward the completion of a book by acclaimed blues historians Paul Oliver and Alan Govenar. This 600-800 page book, slated for publication by the Texas A&M University Press, is the result of work and research begun by Paul Oliver over 50 years ago with the cooperation of Mack McCormick, legendary Texas vernacular historian. The project is being supervised and edited by Alan Govenar, who foresees publication in spring 2015.
Los Cenzontles Mexican Arts Center
The Arhoolie Foundation granted funds for to help with their “Supporting Roots” campaign to raise funds to expand and renovate their art center and enhance their cultural arts programming. Los Cenzontles is a band, a nonprofit organization, a music academy, a community space for youth and families, and a hub for Latino artists – all working in tandem to amplify our Mexican roots here in the Bay Area and beyond. Find them online at www.loscenzontles.com
Postage Stamp to Honor Lydia Mendoza
On May 15, 2013 the US Postal Service issued a postage stamp honoring Lydia Mendoza, the first Queen of TejanoMusic, whose recording career began in 1928 and lasted more than 60 years. Known as “La Alondra de la Frontera” (the Lark of the Border), Lydia was revered as a voice of the working class and a masterful interpreter of songs. The image on the stamp was supplied to the US postal service by the Arhoolie Foundation from its Strachwitz Frontera Image Archive. The stamps can be purchased on the Postal Service’s website.
Book about the Frontera Collection Wins Several Awards
The Arhoolie Foundation’s Strachwitz Frontera Collection of Mexican and Mexican American Recordings by Austin Gurza with Jonathan Clark and Chris Strachwitz.
Winner of three awards at the 2013 International Latino Book Awards.
First Place: Best History
First Place: Best Reference Book
Second Place: for Best Non-Fiction, Multi-Author
Winner of the 2013 Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC) Awards for Excellence: Best Historical Research in Recorded Folk, Ethnic, or Country Music.