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Thirty years ago, Linda Ronstadt celebrated her Mexican background with Canciones de mi Padre

Whenever I hear the opening of Linda Ronstadt’s “La Charreada” I think back to the winter of 1987, when I was 8 years old. That’s when my mom bought Ronstadt’s latest release: “Canciones de mi Padre” (“My Father’s Songs”), a Spanish-language cover album that remains a milestone of American music and Mexican American history. A rush of brash mariachi strings, and male yelps that mimic the excitement of a Mexican-style rodeo, followed by Ronstadt’s mighty voice that holds a note for seconds before she launches into rapid-fire verses — and it all comes to me again. Its national success — it sold over 2.5 million units, the biggest-selling foreign-language album ever in the United States — was a crucial moment to my peers and me. Our generation would become the first group of Mexican Americans to grow up comfortable with both sides of that term… read more >

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