Arhoolie Foundation Receives Grant Award from California Humanities

We are happy to share that we have received a Humanities For All Project Grant award for Rumbo A California—An Exhibition of the Strachwitz Frontera Collection.

“Rumbo a California” is a multimedia traveling exhibition that will explore the Mexican American experience in California as documented on commercial recordings going back to the early 1920s. Featured media will include 78 and 45 rpm discs, LP covers, photographs, posters, cinema lobby cards, guided audio, and bilingual transcriptions of topical corridos (narrative ballads) covering aspects of Mexican and Mexican American life throughout the state: immigration, deportation, Pachuco culture, the United Farm Workers Movement, natural disasters, important historical figures, crime, politics, cultural identity, love, death, etc. The basis for this exhibit is the Arhoolie Foundation’s Strachwitz Frontera Collection of Mexican and Mexican American Recordings, which we have been digitally preserving for many years in partnership with the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center, and the UCLA Library. At over 150,000 individual recordings on 78, 45 and 33-rpm discs, as well as rare cassettes and open-reel master tapes, the Frontera Collection is the world’s largest collection of commercially recorded regional Mexican music.

“Rumbo a California” will travel to venues around the state beginning in January 2021.


Comments (2)

Hi! I am the daughter of Miguel Archibeque. My older brother came across his music online and noticed that it is with Frontera. We would like to know how his music ended up in California. Can someone please reach out to me. He recorded the one album that I saw in the Hurricane Studios back in 71, the year I was born. It is 50 years old. I hope to hear from someone soon. We’re happy to know that his legacy lives on, even though he is no longer with us. I look forward to hearing from you soon. Thank you, Ramona

Saludos Ramona!

Thank you for writing. This particular record that you mention came from the archives of Carmen Beall. She was a pioneering woman DJ from Denver, Colorado. We have 18 songs in our collection including the LP.

Thank you again,

Juan Antonio Cuellar

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.