Thanks to a $500,000 contribution on behalf of Los Tigres Del Norte and their foundation to the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center, the first stage of 'The Frontera Collection of Mexican and Mexican American Recordings' at UCLA was finally unveiled March 26.
The 'Frontera Collection' is considered the largest collection of historic Mexican and Mexican American music in the world. The collection is divided into three sections and includes recordings dating back from 1905 to the 1990s.
Jorge Hernández, vocalist and accordion player for Los Tigres Del Norte, one of the most representative bands of Mexican music and corridos (popular narrative song), said he was very pleased with this achievement.
"We accomplished a sequence of our foundation by preserving our language, our Mexican songs, and a very beautiful chapter because 41,000 songs were digitalized in this first stage," said Hernández, who is also the director of the band.
He also said that it is important to preserve Mexican music, especially for the new generations so that they can take advantage of this information.
"We sometimes say that words are very important and that actions are even more important, but there are times when words surpass actions and we want whomever our successor is, that he or she does it the best way possible," he said.
Hernández said the band feels a lot of responsibility to support projects such as this one because it is the way everyone can continue to work together to better and continue Mexican music.
"We have been singing a memory that leads us to conjugate what the history of the song is, call it love, deception, joy, political history, history of corridos, and the history of our social issues that we face daily. That is why the people identify with us," he said.
The first section of the project is made up of approximately 20,000 recordings from 1905 to 1955, including the recordings of the first corridos, a type of music that has been incredibly important in the career of Los Tigres Del Norte.
"Corridos nowadays include the use of very bad language and that is not what the Mexican corrido is," stated Hernández. "For us, what's important is the traditional Mexican corrido, the lyrics that are words our people can listen to in an appropriate way."
"We dedicate ourselves to do the story as a corrido should be done and to respect the norms that each corrido has," added Hernandez, whose some corridos include 'Contrabando Y Traición' (Contraband and Treachery), 'La Banda Del Carro Rojo' (The Red Car's Band), and 'La Camioneta Gris' (The Gray Truck).
The first 50 seconds of each song that makes up the 'Frontera Collection,' which also includes boleros, sones and patriotic speeches, can be heard on the project's official Web site. The songs can be heard in theirentirety only at computers at the UCLA campus due to copyright laws.
For more information, visit http://digital.library.ucla.edu/frontera or www.lostigresdelnortefoundation.org.