Rare, Old Spanish Songs From California Available Online

More

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.
Jump to comments
Presented by

Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called 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 website 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.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

An Eerie Tour of Chernobyl's Wasteland

"Do not touch the water. There is nothing more irradiated than the water itself."


Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Is Technology Making Us Better Storytellers?

The minds behind House of Cards and The Moth weigh in.

Video

A Short Film That Skewers Hollywood

A studio executive concocts an animated blockbuster. Who cares about the story?

Video

In Online Dating, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist

The co-founder of OKCupid shares findings from his analysis of millions of users' data.

Video

What Is a Sandwich?

We're overthinking sandwiches, so you don't have to.

Video

Let's Talk About Not Smoking

Why does smoking maintain its allure? James Hamblin seeks the wisdom of a cool person.

Writers

Up
Down

More in Technology

Just In