Rare, Old Spanish Songs From California Available Online

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The Autry Museum has posted a collection of old, Spanish songs recorded in the early 20th century in California. Charles Lummis, founder of Los Angeles' Southwest Museum, created the cache to capture what he felt were the vanishing folkways of old California. What's fascinating is that Lummis saw his work as archaeology and recognized that the new recording technology of the day could be used to create artifacts that could be considered as such. He wrote an article in 1905 explaining his endeavor entitled, "Catching Archaeology Alive."

If you head to the site, my favorite song is first on their list, Blanca Paloma, sung by Manuela Garcia. Here's her quick bio:

One of the most prolific singers was Manuela García, whose family lived in an adobe on South Olive Street in Los Angeles. In 1904 and 1905, García recorded approximately 150 songs for Lummis. (In the records, there are several statements for payments to Garcia for between $4.00 and $20.00) Musicologist John Koegel has theorized that many of the songs García recorded are more recent in California, having arrived with Mexican immigrants in the second half of the 19th Century. In addition to singing for Lummis, García gave him her notebook containing the words to 149 songs. During recordings, García was accompanied by a blind guitarist of Mexican descent named Rosendo Uruchurtu.
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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he oversees the Technology Channel. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer calls Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science Web site in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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