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New Book On The Arhoolie Foundation’s Strachwitz Frontera Collection

 

The Strachwitz Frontera Collection of Mexican and Mexican American Recordings contains over 140,000 individual recordings on 78, 45, LP and cassette, over 2,000 photographs, posters, catalogs and other images, and a database of record company histories, musicians’ biographies and much more. It is without contest the largest collection of its kind on the planet.

Enter Agustin Gurza, the first writer to take a shot at wrestling this monster to the ground. His introduction and guide to the Frontera Collection (pictured above), recently published by the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center, offers a manageable look at a seemingly endless resource. His approach is to explore the Frontera Collection from different viewpoints, discussing genre, theme, and some of the thousands of composers and performers whose work is contained in the archive. Throughout, he examines the cultural significance of the recordings and relates the stories of those who have had a vital role in their production and preservation.

An essay by Chris Strachwitz traces the history of commercial recordings of Mexican music, and another by historian and mariachero Jonathan Clark tells the story of mariachi from its earliest days to the present. Also included are playlists of favorites chosen by Strachwitz and by the man who has personally digitized over 70,000 of these recordings, musician and Arhoolie Foundation Head Digitizing Technician Antonio Cuellar.

Published by the University of California Los Angeles Chicano Studies Research Center 

8 1/2 x 11″, Paperback, 226 pages

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