Florida is home to immigrants from across Latin America and the Caribbean. In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15), this series of blog posts features music brought to Florida from throughout the Hispanic world.
Mariachi Jalisco is an aptly named band, as Mariachi music originated in the Mexican state of Jalisco. This recording of the band comes from the Metro-Dade Folk Arts Survey conducted in 1986 by folklorists Tina Bucuvalas, Nancy Nusz, and Laurie Sommers in order to identify folk arts and folk artists for the 34th Annual Florida Folk Festival.
Members of Mariachi Jalisco performing at the Historical Museum of Southern Florida during the Traditions Festival, Miami, 1986
Here, Mariachi Jalisco perform the song “La Llorona (The Weeping Woman),” a tune based on the legendary tale of a mother condemned to roam the earth for eternity looking in vain for her children that she drowned in life.
The latest podcast features traditional Arab music performed by Rick and Mark Bateh from Jacksonville. Listen to the Bateh’s explain styles, techniques, and rhythms used in Arab music and demonstrate their skills to the crowd at the 1982 Florida Folk Festival in White Springs.
“Don’t be misled; we play Southern, but it’s Arab style”
More Info: Podcasts Page
For more information about Arab music, see Habib Touma, The Music of the Arabs (Portland, OR: Amadeus Press, 1996).
“Hard Time Killing Floor Blues,” by John Cephas and Phil Wiggins
More Information: Catalog Record
This soulful blues tune is performed here with foreboding intensity by John Cephas and Phil Wiggins at the 1991 Florida Folk Festival in White Springs. “Hard Time Killing Floor Blues” was originally penned and recorded in 1931 by delta blues legend Nehemiah Curtis “Skip” James.
John Cephas and Phil Wiggins performing at the Florida Folk Festival, White Springs, 1991
Guitarist John Cephas (1930-2009) and harmonica player Phil Wiggins (1954- ), legends in their own right, were an acoustic blues duo hailing from Washington D.C. The pair were known for their Piedmont blues style, but as you can hear in the audio clip above, they perfectly capture the essence of “Skip” James’ delta blues. If this song sounds familiar to you, it was also performed in the Coen Brother’s film “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” by musician and actor Chris Thomas King.
Heading to the Florida Folk Festival this weekend in White Springs?
Brush up on your favorite artists, or learn a few new tunes. On Florida Memory, you can listen to and download hundreds of Florida Folk Festival recordings from the 1950s to the 2000s.
Program for the 1976 Florida Folk Festival