Theses and Dissertations

COMO LO RECUERDO: A REMEMBRANCE OF MEXICAN FOLK SONGS FROM OUR RESIDENTS’ HEARTS

Arturo Treviño Jr., The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

Copyright 2023 The Author. All Rights Reserved.

Abstract

Educators today face the challenge of finding either the individual in the community or the community in the individual. This study applies Jeff Titon's idea on communities as musical ecosystems to explore the sustainability of John A. Lomax's April 1939 Southern Collection field recordings, examining how and where these musical works exist in Brownsville, Texas today and investigating the meanings of these Mexican folk songs to Rio Grande Valley community members. In this work, I put the Lomax song collection in greater cultural, historical, and musical context, and argue that the songs can assist Rio Grande Valley individuals in both claiming and celebrating a Mexican musical legacy, even when they were not born in Mexico, and in maintaining a Spanish-speaking identity within an English-speaking majority nation. Border residents’ individual and culturally inherited memories evoked by Mexican songs learned in childhood weave a shared Mexican identity that can help build pride in the heritage of Mexican American students today and contribute to the narrative of Spanish usage. I explore the sustainability of these children’s songs and games over time and unpack their role in maintaining cultural solidarity in the music classroom and in the community at large.