The Arhoolie Foundation’s Strachwitz Frontera Collection is the largest repository of commercially produced vernacular recordings of Mexican, Mexican American, and other Latin American music in existence. Although originally focused on the border music of the United State and Mexico, it now contains music from all of Latin America. The nearly 170,000 recordings in the collection were made primarily in the United States and Mexico, and were issued on 78 rpm, 45 rpm, and 33⅓ rpm (long-playing, or LP) phonograph records, cassettes and some un-issued reel to reel master tapes. The earliest recording was made around 1905, and the most recent recordings were released in the 1990s. The Frontera Collection is unique because of the depth and breadth of each section, and because many of the recordings are irreplaceable. This archive was collected by Chris Strachwitz over the past 60 years. He has donated the entire collection along with thousands of photographs and other related material to the Arhoolie Foundation.

University of California Frontera Website
Frontera Collection YouTube Channel

Sort by: A-Z Most recent

Statement on the passing of Chris Strachwitz

Arhoolie Records Founder
July 1, 1931 – May 5, 2023

We celebrate the life of our founder, friend, and great record man Chris Strachwitz. He died peacefully at home in Marin County, CA, surrounded in his last days by dear friends and family. Over his 91 years, Chris captured the music that represents the best “down home music” the world has to offer.

He was at the forefront of nearly all the roots revivals over the last 60 years including blues, zydeco, Cajun, Norteño and Tejano music. His drive to document traditional music helped introduce the nation to our diverse musical heritage. He had the foresight to save music that might have otherwise been lost to obscurity and played a role in strengthening cultural traditions through his records, films, and most recently the Arhoolie Foundation. He cared for those around him, fought for royalties and recognition for Arhoolie artists, and provided counsel to countless musicians, writers, film makers, and academics.

Plans for a public celebration of his life will be announced in the coming weeks. Today we’re thinking of all that Chris brought to our lives and the lives of the musicians and fans with whom he shared his passion.