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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

Bernardo Jaramillo

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