Monday, May 24, 2010

Work Ethic

I am reading an article about Norteño, a kind of northern Mexican border music that deals with heartache and lamentation, and, according to the writer is, by rhythm, almost a kind of polka.

Mexican polka. The mind boggles.

I didn't know the music, but it sounds interesting, and the article focuses on the best-known and most successful group playing it, Los Tigres del Norte. Who, since getting together in the early 1970s, have sold thirty-four million records.

What I found most fascinating was the comment that they might be the only arena act in the world without a set-list. Apparently, they have maybe three songs in mind when they arrive. People in the audience write titles on slips of paper and pass those to the front, where they are tossed onto the stage. The band collects them as they go, and the concert is over when the stage is clean.

Or the promoter throws them out, because of local curfew laws. Apparently an eight-hour set is not uncommon. And the band doesn't leave until everybody else does.

That is a work-ethic, friends.


bourgon said...

Not really surprised; there's a lot of Mexican music that's played in polka-time.

Now, if you want to hurt your brain - there's a style of music from Finland called Humppa. It's similar to the Polka or the Foxtrot. I happen to listen to a band called Finntroll that plays heavy metal, using Hummpa as its base. Yes. Or, as I explain to coworkers, I listen to Finnish-Death-Metal-Polka. Not entirely accurate, but it works.

Steve Perry said...


Dunabit said...

A million years ago, I worked at a concert stage lighting company. Los Tigres del Norte were one of our steady clients.

I mostly worked logistics, getting trucks, gear, and people where they needed to be. Every once in awhile, I worked a show, including a three-day New Year's road trip with Los Tigres through California's central valley.

We played the large expo halls at county fairgrounds -- vast, empty spaces usually filled with cows (which are much bigger than I'd have guessed) and auctioneers. These nights, the halls were packed with people dressed in their finest. It was like being in a garden of satin flowers and fine-tooled cowboy boots.

Los Tigres played forever, got everyone dancing, paid in cash, and were some of the nicest stars I've ever met.