La Santa Cecilia: ‘We Are As American As Apple Pie And Tacos’

La Santa Cecilia. From left, Marisol “La Marisoul” Hernandez, Miguel “Oso” Ramirez, Alex Bendaña, Jose “Pepe” Carlos.

Humberto Howard/Courtesy of the artist



Grammy Award-winning group La Santa Cecilia takes its name from the Catholic saint of musicians. It’s a fitting moniker; as if by divine intervention, the members of the band — Marisol Hernandez, Jose “Pepe” Carlos, Miguel “Oso” Ramirez, and Alex Bendaña — found each other in the sprawl of Los Angeles.

“I met Pepe Carlos on Olvera Street,” lead singer Marisol “La Marisoul” Hernandez recalls. “I was busking with the older musicians — my teachers who I learned all that beautiful, traditional Latin-American music from — and Pepe was busking with his little brother on the other side of the street.”

They formed a connection, and years later Hernandez roped in her friend, Oso, along with Alex Bendaña, to create La Santa Cecilia, a band “where we could make our own music, write about our own experiences [and] experiment with our influences,” she says. Those influences were vast. They heard Mexican accordions and horns in mariachi bands and fused those sounds with bossa nova, jazz and pop.

They came together to act on their individual, forward-thinking visions.

Some of that fusion is showcased on the centerpiece of the band’s self-titled album, out on Oct. 18. The song, “I’ve Been Thinking,” is about a shared, tragic experience.


“Oso, Alex, and I lost our fathers at different times,” Hernandez says. “It was a very big, big, big blow to the band and to us personally. We were all very close to our fathers, and I don’t know if I could go through this without my bandmates. I feel like this united us even more and we needed to write something and let out these feelings.”

La Santa Cecilia’s members have also all been affected to some degree by the recent political climate and the debate surrounding immigration.

Still, for Hernandez, the band’s political messaging brims with hope.

“In La Santa Cecilia, we will always continue to raise, with pride, our flag of love, of where we come from: of being Mexican American, of being from Latin America and being born here in the United States,” Hernandez says. “And whether people like it or not, we are as American as apple pie and tacos.”

Rō’bear Re’por going to the dark side

Unknown.pngDear Readers

Rō’bear is going to the Dark side for a few weeks beginning Sept. 14th. Traveling south to check out rumors of a Deep State in the Central Andes along with some fly fishing and of course observance of the daily Pisco Hour.  He will procure assistance from local personas de mala reputación y conferencistas invitados residing in Rio Blanco, Portillo & Papudo Chile  …  then hopefully return with a few stories early October to share with rŌbert devotees.

While the jefe is visiting the Dark Side you can go to the bottom of each page in the Re’por to Older Posts which will take you back in time to past stories from the bad old days.

“It’s the truth even if it didn’t happen”  Ken Kesey


The Management


Ken Burns Gets To The Heart Of ‘Country Music’ NPR & OTHER STORIES …


In attempting a comprehensive look at one of the nation’s most popular forms of music, the emphasis is less on the genre than on its most enduring figures.


Bill-Monroe-Country-Music.jpgLes Leverett Collection

With few exceptions, the titles of Ken Burns documentaries serve as their own declarative statements. The prolific documentary filmmaker’s works have long had names that are unequivocal, as if there was any doubt about the subject matter contained within. “Country Music” — like “Baseball,” “Jazz,” “The Civil War” and “Jackie Robinson” before it — presents itself as a century-spanning compendium of a particular kind of music that’s been woven into the fabric of American life. While the series itself makes a compelling case for the importance of this music to a vast number of individuals across the country, it also raises plenty of questions about who decides what gets included in that sense of appreciation.

Told over eight installments, spanning 16 hours, “Country Music” is a largely chronological examination of milestone moments and figures within the evolution of the genre. The series doesn’t stray too far from the particular Florentine house style. Peter Coyote’s dependable baritone is just as much a fuel for gravitas as ever, while the stills of early genre proprietors seem tailor-made for the sepia-toned hue of history that often fill up these runtimes. Burns operates from a high floor in how this history flows from era to era, often rewarding the patience it regularly demands.

“Country Music” gets some of its greatest insights from the behind-the-scenes players who were able to shape this area of the musical world in less obvious ways. Radio DJs, producers, and session players provide their own window into their personal histories and the legends they’ve accumulated over generations. In some cases, these alternate perspectives help to puncture some of the mythology that surrounds various transformative periods and figures in this ongoing legacy. (One session musician who played on recordings that helped to define the mid-century “Nashville Sound” discusses how the sheer volume of their output meant that even with the hits, there were plenty of forgettable misses.)

Johnny Cash at his home in California, 1960.Credit: Sony Music Archives

One intriguing wrinkle to Burns’ time-tested approach to presenting the past is having various musicians play some of the songs they discuss. From the steel guitar to the fiddle to the mandolin, these demonstrations are able to illustrate particular styles and lyrical feats that feel essential to understanding why this parade of cultural artifacts is something worth examining from a 2019 vantage point. Those who don’t pick up an instrument and start playing are still able to express their admiration for the output of their musical ancestors and contemporaries with a distinct kind of reverence.

These appreciations are often as persuasive as they are subjective. What comes across less strongly is the “Country Music” approach to the individuals themselves. As the series progresses, most of the storytelling in “Country Music” is rooted in the personalities of various sizes that came to steer the industry. Most of these people are the names likely to be etched in memorial plaques around Nashville (where Ryman Auditorium, home of the long-running Grand Ole Opry, has existed in various forms for decades) or these singer/songwriters’ hometowns.

While these people aren’t exactly deified (through conversations with their respective children, it’s clear that Hank Williams and Johnny Cash were less than exemplary father figures), there’s an outsized emphasis on single players within the broader “Country Music.” By the series’ own admission, the term “country music” is enough of an amorphous label that it makes more sense to zero in on the personal stories of people generally accepted in the genre’s canon.

Through focusing on foundational figures in country movements in Tennessee, central Texas and Bakersfield, California, there’s something of a minor subconscious tug of war happening between the various testimonials, each trying their best to get at what country music means to them in its purest form. Sometimes that manifests itself as a championing of the genre’s oral tradition, of songs as the endpoint of musical gifts passed between hills and towns. Other times, it leads to musicians extolling the virtues of country artists as the ideal form of for-the-fans entertainment anywhere in the musical landscape.

Loretta Lynn Country Music

That feeling of having to insist on the qualities of country music that it alone can claim is less compelling than the historical view of how this output has permeated different parts of society. Pointing out that Bob Dylan had a great appreciation for Cash’s oeuvre feels germane to the overall thesis of country as a kind of music with roots in many others. But there’s a vein within “Country Music” that’s insisting on country’s importance — explaining how much each of The Beatles listened to country records growing up — that gives it an unnecessary chip on its shoulder. There’s enough in the archival footage and bygone recordings to stir the kind of awe that might bring out that kind of conclusion on its own.

Burns, along with writer Dayton Duncan and producer Julie Dunfey open “Country Music” with an installment that engages with the complicated history of country music’s origins, a tradition that sometimes dealt in racial stereotypes and excluded participants along similar lines. Eventual case studies of DeFord Bailey and Charley Pride show how gatekeepers within the industry have long shaped not just who gets to be included, but the ways in which performers of color had to prove themselves worthy of the country label. There’s also an acknowledgment here that the origins of the industry of recorded country music were built on manufacturing a certain kind of authenticity and commodifying it.

If “Country Music” had followed through on that idea and looked at how the past two decades have either reframed or reinforced how current singers and audiences are following in a grander tradition, the series would be closer to the comprehensive look it’s striving to be. Instead, its closing chapter ends with the rise of Garth Brooks’ megastardom and the passing of country titans like Cash and George Jones, a final hint that “Country Music” is grounded primarily in people. It’s impossible to tell the story of country without acknowledging those individual contributions. For its running time, Burns effectively steers this wagon across country music’s diverging timelines. It’s only in retrospect that “Country Music” raises questions beyond the answers its historical sweep can offer.



Country Music Is More Diverse Than You Think ~ NYT

Common stereotypes overlook the roles that blacks and women have played in shaping a uniquely American genre.

By Ken Burns and

Mr. Burns is the director and producer of the PBS series “Country Music.” Mr. Duncan is the writer and producer of the documentary and author of its companion book.

CreditCreditPaul Rogers


This spring the rapper Lil Nas X, who is black, released “Old Town Road,” a twang-inflected song that rocketed to the top of the country music charts — even though Billboard temporarily removed it from the list, saying it wasn’t sufficiently “country.”

A few months later, when the Country Music Association announced that three women — Dolly Parton, Reba McEntire and Carrie Underwood — would host its annual awards show, some people criticized the choice as political correctness, as if “real” country music was restricted to good old boys.

Both controversies reflect the stereotypes that chronically surround country music. They overlook its diverse roots, its porous boundaries and the central role that women and people of color have played in its history.


This is low class basura Republican politics

We have a choice: Will we let socialists like be the face of our future? Or will a new generation of conservatives step up & lead us? We’re launching New Faces GOP to help identify & support the next generation of GOP leaders. Learn more:

Sharpie Presidency

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I really didn’t think “Sharpiegate” would have such legs. Sure, it was a ridiculous and sloppy lie, but amid all of the Trump administration’s lies I thought it would quickly become obscured. Of course Trump digs in. Again. And again.

The beauty of the blatant lie about the NOAA map of Hurricane Dorian — and the fact it was done in such a slapdash way — is probably one of the most accessible examples of what this administration is all about. Lie. Get caught. Then lie bigger. Then smear the people (in this case career government scientists) who point out your lie.

In addition to all the Trump lies and corruption that are obscured, there are so many that are done in plain sight — in this case with a cheap sharpie marker. Haven’t these people ever heard of Photoshop? But then Trump is more about bluster and lying until people move onto something else. His lies are mostly overtaken by new events . . . and then more lies.

Country Music, A Film by Ken Burns


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Country Music: Live at the Ryman Concert

Join celebrated musicians for Country Music: Live at the Ryman , A Concert Celebrating the Film by Ken Burns. Hosted by Burns and featuring performances and appearances by Dierks Bentley, Rosanne Cash, Rhiannon Giddens, Vince Gill, Kathy Mattea, Marty Stuart, Dwight Yoakam and more.

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About the Film

Tune in or Stream Sunday, September 15 at 8/7c

Explore the history of a uniquely American art form: country music. From its deep and tangled roots in ballads, blues and hymns performed in small settings, to its worldwide popularity, learn how country music evolved over the course of the 20th century, as it eventually emerged to become America’s music. Country Music features never-before-seen footage and photographs, plus interviews with more than 80 country music artists. The eight-part 16-hour series is directed and produced by Ken Burns; written and produced by Dayton Duncan; and produced by Julie Dunfey.

Country Music explores questions –– such as “What is country music?” and “Where did it come from?“–– while focusing on the biographies of the fascinating characters who created and shaped it — from the Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers and Bob Wills to Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Loretta Lynn, Charley Pride, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, Garth Brooks and many more — as well as the times in which they lived. Much like the music itself, the film tells unforgettable stories of hardships and joys shared by everyday people.

No one has told the story this way before.

~~~ CHECK IT OUT  ~~~


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‘Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice’ Review: And What a Voice It Is ~ New York Times

The career of a vocalist who sang every kind of song that’s ever been made.

Credit Greenwich Entertainment
Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice
Directed by Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman

If you were listening to the radio in the mid-1970s — AM or FM; pop, country, R&B or AOR — at some point you were probably listening to Linda Ronstadt.

Kids these days, with their curated playlists and SoundCloud streams, may not understand what it was like back then. A lot of music was never heard on the radio at all, while certain songs and artists made up a communal soundtrack that transcended genre and individual taste. Maybe you thought Ronstadt’s chart-topping cover of “You’re No Good” wasn’t all that great, but its organ riff and declamatory chorus probably settled into your ears anyway, and more than 40 years later you’re likely to remember it as a classic.

Ronstadt was an unavoidable presence — not only on the airwaves but also on television talk shows and magazine covers. (Those things were also a much bigger deal back then, but I’ll stop with the Gen-X Grandpa Simpson routine.) She didn’t write her own songs, but she owned the ones she performed with rare authority. In “Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice,” a new documentary by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, someone uses the word “auteur” to describe Ronstadt’s relationship to her material, and it doesn’t seem exaggerated. Her versions of songs by Warren Zevon, Lowell George and Kate and Anna McGarrigle (to name just a few) still sound definitive.

Not All ‘Lost’ Jazz Albums Are Created Equal ~ NPR

John Coltrane performs with drummer Elvin Jones and saxophonist Eric Dolphy in 1961. Impulse! Records is set to release the “lost” Coltrane album Blue World on Sept. 27.

Bill Wagg/Redferns/Getty Images



Historians and critics have pored over the recordings of these jazz greats like Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Stan Getz so exhaustively, it might feel like they’ve left no stone unturned. And yet, fans are seeing a slew of exciting new discoveries lately from these and other artists — so-called “lost” albums by some of the biggest names in jazz.

“For jazz historians and record producers, the work never finishes,” Nate Chinen of Jazz Night in America and NPR member station WGBO says. “There’s always another lead to be pursued, another corner to be explored and when we think we know everything about an artist … There’s often something else that we hadn’t considered.”

In addition to that air of exploration, Chinen says that the jazz industry has “commercial motivation” to pump out such albums and cites the 2018 album Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album, released via Impulse! Records, which sourced material from John Coltrane’s 1963 sessions and reference tapes as a shining example. “It sold over a quarter of a million copies.”

Later this month, Impulse Records! will release another album, Blue World, composed of Coltrane recordings from 1964 that were originally intended for a film score.

“Coltrane recorded this music for a film in Montreal,” Chinen says. “It’s a cornerstone of the Québécois film movement. But outside of that movement, it hasn’t been all that widely seen. So, the film historians and the jazz scholars didn’t connect the dots here and because the music wasn’t catalogued by the label it fell into this kind of blindspot.”

A new record of Miles Davis’ lost recordings called Rubberband was just released via Rhino Records. The album features Davis recordings from 1985 with contemporary touches. Vocalist Ledisi is featured on the track “Rubberband of Life.” It’s because of these contemporary aspects that Chinen doesn’t truly consider this a “lost” album.

“We have to sort of raise an eyebrow at that term here because there’s no way Miles would have envisioned this album because, I mean, Ledisi wasn’t recording music in 1985,” he argues. “The sound is clearly something from our time, not his. So is it a lost album? I don’t know. But it is indisputably some music that Miles Davis made at an interesting moment and because he is who he is people will be interested to hear what this is all about.”

Getz At The Gate (Live) was released in May 2019 and encapsulates a performance from the late saxophonist Stan Getz that Chinen says offers a fresh perspective on Getz’s music legacy.

“When you think of Stan Getz, I think many people think of his bossa nova period,” Chinen says. “This was a live recording made in 1961, a few months before he began that journey with jazz samba. … He’s leading a fabulous band with Roy Haynes on drums. He’s swinging so hard on the bandstand and so, you have this document of another side of Getz.”

Chinen counts these unearthed live jazz performances as “an area where the windfall just keeps coming.”

“We’ve seen so many live recordings that become cherished albums now that weren’t originally conceived as albums,” Chinen says. “It’s all to the better, I think.”

Rebecca Solnit: How Change Happens ~ Literary Hub


“If you think you’re woke, it’s because someone woke you up.”

September 3, 2019

We are building something immense together that, though invisible and immaterial, is a structure, one we reside within—or, rather, many overlapping structures. They’re assembled from ideas, visions and values emerging out of conversations, essays, editorials, arguments, slogans, social-media messages, books, protests, and demonstrations. About race, class, gender, sexuality; about nature, power, climate, the interconnectedness of all things; about compassion, generosity, collectivity, communion; about justice, equality, possibility. Though there are individual voices and people who got there first, these are collective projects that matter not when one person says something but when a million integrate it into how they see and act in the world. The we who inhabits those structures grows as what was once subversive or transgressive settles in as normal, as people outside the walls wake up one day inside them and forget they were ever anywhere else.

The consequences of these transformations are perhaps most important where they are most subtle. They remake the world, and they do so mostly by the accretion of small gestures and statements and the embracing of new visions of what can be and should be. The unknown becomes known, the outcasts come inside, the strange becomes ordinary. You can see changes to the ideas about whose rights matter and what is reasonable and who should decide, if you sit still enough and gather the evidence of transformations that happen by a million tiny steps before they result in a landmark legal decision or an election or some other shift that puts us in a place we’ve never been.


I have been watching this beautiful collective process of change unfold with particular intensity over the past several years—generated by the work of countless people separately and together, by the delegitimization of the past and the hope for a better future that lay behind the genesis of Occupy Wall Street (2011), Idle No More (2012), Black Lives Matter (2013), Standing Rock (2016), #MeToo (2017), and the new feminist surges and insurgencies, immigrant and trans rights movements, the Green New Deal (2018), and the growing power and reach of the climate movement. Advocacy of universal healthcare, the elimination of the Electoral College, the end of the death penalty, and an energy revolution that leaves fossil fuels behind have gone from the margins to the center in recent years. A new clarity about how injustice works, from police murders to the endless excuses and victim-blaming for rape, lays bare the machinery of that injustice, makes it recognizable when it recurs, and that recognizability strips away the disguises of and excuses for the old ways.


My formative intellectual experience was, in the early 1990s, watching reactions against the celebration of the quincentennial of Columbus’s arrival in the Americas and the rise in visibility and audibility of Native Americans that radically redefined this hemisphere’s history and ideas about nature and culture. That was how I learned that culture matters, that it’s the substructure of beliefs that shape politics, that change begins on the margins and in the shadows and grows toward the center, that the center is a place of arrival and rarely one of real generation, and that even the most foundational stories can be changed. But now I recognize it’s not the margins, the place of beginnings, or the center, the place of arrival, but the pervasiveness that matters most.

~~~  CONTINUE  ~~~