NUESTRA MÚSICA ANTONIA APODACA
There are at least 54 known versions of “Delgadina,” a traditional Hispano folk song that was already ubiquitous when Spanish colonists arrived in Santa Fe and is still played today. Because it is a romance — a ballad that tells tales of the gentry — “Delgadina” narrates the exploits of a king and his family.
Demonstrating that stories only survive for more than 400 years if they reflect a common concern, “Delgadina” is about a vindictive father with lustful feelings for his daughter. Delgadina and her dad begin the day innocently enough, with a trip to the city of Morelia for mass, but after they’re through with church, the king announces to his beloved Delgadina, “ Yo te quiero para dama.” (I want you as my mistress.) It is an offense against God, she tells him, and against her mother. Her response angers the king; when they get home, he locks her in a dark room and commands his 11 servants to feed her sparingly, and only salty food, and to throw water in her face rather than allow her to drink. She begs her mother for water, saying she is dying of thirst. “ Madrecita de mi vida, tu castigo
estoy sufriendo,” she cries. (My dearest mother, I am suffering your punishment.) Her mother calls forth her 11 servants and commands them to bring Delgadina water in golden glasses. But it’s too late. Delgadina is dead — face up, mouth open — betrayed by the people who were supposed to love her the most.
“Delgadina” is just one of the romances you’re likely to hear at the 11th annual Nuestra Música festival on Friday, April 29, at the Lensic Performing Arts Center. Presented by the Lensic and the Spanish Colonial Arts Society, Nuestra Música celebrates the old-time Hispano folk music of Northern New Mexico. This year’s line-up features El Trio Jalapeño (New Mexico Living Treasure Antonia Apodaca, radio personality Ray Casias, and woodcarver Bernardo Jaramillo); renowned folk musician Cipriano Vigil y La Familia Vigil (his son Cipriano Jr. and his daughter Felicita); artist and musician Frank McCulloch y Sus Amigos; Lorenzo and Rob Martínez, sons of Roberto Martínez, one of New Mexico’s foremost composers of corridos; and Chuy Martínez and Oti Ruiz, two of the best-known internationally touring folk musicians from New Mexico. The evening is emceed by aural historian and radio producer Jack Loeffler and noted folklorist and musicologist Enrique R. Lamadrid; together, they produced a CD and companion book collecting many of these songs, La Música de los
Viejitos (University of New Mexico Press, 1999). There are several song genres within old-time New Mexico folk music. There is the aforementioned romance and the comical relación, which is related to the romance and characterized by parallel word play and lists of people, places, and things. The indita, which translates to “little Indian song” or “little Indian girl,” evolved as a musical expression of the mixing of Spanish and Indian cultures. The corrido, with roots in the romance, tells of events — often tragic or violent — in the lives of ordinary people. The canción, a poetic song, often about love, allows for lyrical and musical experimentation, and the
mañanitas celebrate ceremony, including religious holidays and birthdays.
According to Loeffler and Lamadrid’s research, “Mi Carrito Paseado” (My Jalopy) is the most popular relación still performed in New Mexico. Composed by Severo Mondragón of Antón Chico in the 1920s, it refers to the first Ford Model T’s in the state, which came with repair manuals written in English. The singer’s jalopy is so beat-up that only he knows how to drive it. The roof is made of cardboard and it doesn’t even have a battery because he realized it was in backward, so he took it out. The song bears some resemblance to The Playmates’ 1958 pop hit “Beep Beep (The Little Nash Rambler).” Far more serious is “La cautiva Marcelina” (Marcelina, the Captive), which is in a sub-genre of indita called cautiva, or capture song, that was often sung as part of a Nativity play called Los Comanches. In the play, Indians (portrayed by Hispano villagers) come to dance for the baby Jesus and then kidnap him, as Marcelina is kidnapped in the song. Marcelina’s captors murder her father, her brothers, and her children. “El Corrido de San Marcial” tells the true story of the last days of a thriving railroad town about 25 miles south of Socorro. San Marcial flooded twice — in 1929 and 1937 — and was abandoned by its residents after the second flooding. It was the 20th of August, the song