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Bird of Four Hundred Voices : A Mexican American Memoir of Music and Belonging - Eugene Rodriguez

Bird of Four Hundred Voices

A Mexican American Memoir of Music and Belonging

By: Eugene Rodriguez

eBook | 6 August 2024

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Available: 6th August 2024

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From the founder of Los Cenzontles Cultural Arts Academy, a profoundly personal exploration of music's power to build cultural bridges that last.

"I wish I had studied with Eugene Rodrigeuz when I was growing up. Read this beautifully written book about culture, identity and resilience, and you will know why." —Linda Ronstadt

From an early age Eugene Rodriguez knew he was captivated by music. But he found himself encountering the same two problems again and again: the chilly rigidity of so much formal music education, and the underrepresentation of Mexican culture in American media. In 1989 he founded Los Cenzontles (The Mockingbirds), a group that offered music education to Bay Area youth, and that gave pride of place to Mexican musical traditions.

Bird of Four Hundred Voices follows Rodriguez as he leads his young students from a California barrio to uncover their ancestral roots. From their home community in San Pablo, Los Cenzontles journey to fandangos in Veracruz, resurrect a lost mariachi tradition, and collaborate with luminaries like Linda Ronstadt, Lalo Guerrero, Taj Mahal, Jackson Browne, Flaco Jimenez, and Los Lobos. Rodriguez's story offers an honest, deeply personal look at the cultural work that confronts historical oppression and joyously challenges cultural borders. And it is a profound celebration of the powerful influence of Mexico's musical heritage on American culture.

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