El Grito de la Independencia Set to Music

“A great science fiction detective story” – Ian Watson, author of The Universal Machine

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Days since the election: 75

This blog has been on a brief hiatus as I took care of some other projects, but we’re back just in time for Independence Day.

To tell the truth, national holidays aren’t my favorite kind of celebrations. They tend to be too full of jingoism and self-delusion for me to enjoy them.

But there’s something genuine and heartfelt about celebrating the independence of a country that lives next door to a superpower. I’m originally from Canada, so I can identify with the Mexican experience of having to share the continent with the US of A. (No doubt the Poles experience some of the same feeling in relation to Russia.)

Independence Day celebrations, 2008 (photo credit: Thelmadatter on Wikimedia)

Independence Day celebrations, 2008 (photo credit: Thelmadatter on Wikimedia)

There’s plenty I like about the USA, but there’s no doubt that its omnipresence — culturally, politically — can get oppressive at times, most of all for the countries that happen to be right next door.

So it may be misguided, but I tend to see independence for Canada and Mexico as victories for the underdog.

One of the earliest and most powerful impressions I had of Mexican independence came to me the first time I visited the country, and it came through the music. Canadian music has largely been absorbed by the U.S. music industry, so while Canada has produced a pretty impressive array of musical talents since at least the 1960s, you’d be hard pressed to identify a Canadian style of music that’s distinct from what comes out of New York or L.A. or Duluth.

Mexico isn’t like that. Sure, music has crossed the border from the north, but to a very large extent the music you hear on the street, coming from cars, and in restaurants and homes, is very deeply Mexican and not at all gringo. Hell, some of the best music from the USA is Mexican in every way that matters.

So to celebrate September 16, I intend to kick back and listen to a long, unbroken set of awesome Mexican music, ranging from traditional music from Chiapas and Oaxaca to Mariachi to Trios to Plastilina Mosh and  Instituto Mexicano del Sonido.

Some traditional Mexican music.

Some traditional Mexican music.

Now, I’ve written about my love for Mexican music before (you can find my previous post here). But I have a new project.

As you’ll see if you read the post linked above, I wrote my novel Luck and Death at the Edge of the Worldon a steady diet of Mexican music, which is fitting since a large part of it is set in Mexico City (which I visited in 2006 to do research and to meet the people who were camped out in the Paseo de la Reforma to protest what they believed to be electoral fraud.)

I’ve just released the second edition of Luck and Death, which includes a new section called The Facts in the Fiction that looks at some of the factual background behind the fictional story. One of the things I would have loved to do, but couldn’t, was to embed some  Mexican music right in the ebook.

Oaxacan singer Lila Downs

Oaxacan singer Lila Downs

But, no worries. I’ve also launched a Luck and Death web site (www.LuckAndDeath.com) that includes sample chapters from the book, a sample section of The Facts in the Fiction, and other goodies.

The web site lets me do is three things:

  • introduce Luck and Death to people who haven’t read the book yet in a way that’s more effective than a little intro on Amazon
  • update and expand on the content in the ebook with new material, and
  • deliver content that I couldn’t include in the ebook, like music.

So if you go to the Luck and Death home page you’ll find a bunch of cool stuff, but if you click on the L&D Jukebox tab over there you’ll get to enjoy a bunch of embedded videos featuring some of the awesome Mexican music I had going in heavy rotation while I wrote the novel.

The L&D Jukebox Page (click image to go there)

The L&D Jukebox Page (click image to go there)

And the Luck and Death home page is an ongoing project that will continue to grow, which is where you come in. I’m always looking for new and wonderful Mexican music to add to the Jukebox.

If there’s a Mexican song you love that’s on YouTube (or any other video service that  provides embed codes), drop me an email or leave a comment below, and be sure to include a link to the video.

Hell, maybe you’re from the DF or Tijuana or Monterrey or wherever and you have a band of your own and you want me to include your video. Send me a link and if I dig it, I’ll post it.

And if you suggest a song, be sure to include your email and tell me what ebook format you prefer, because:

  • anyone, anywhere who sends in a link to a video of a Mexican song that I use in the Jukebox will get a free copy of the new edition of Luck and Death by return email, and
  • any Mexican artist who sends in a link to a video of a song they recorded, whether I use it or not, will get a free copy of Luck and Death.

[Note re Email: my nas@nassauhedron.com email is down briefly while I change service providers. Please email to nashedron@me.com until I remove this notice.]

So happy Independence Day, Mexico! You rock, in this case literally.

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