On the fifth of May—Cinco de Mayo—we here in the United States celebrate General Ignacio Zaragoza’s 1862 victory over the French invaders at Puebla, for some reason. I’d like to use the opportunity to dedicate a moment of time at Old Time Blues to a culture that I truly appreciate and admire—that of our neighbors south of the border, down Mexico way.
On this record, the Orquesta Típica Mexicana “Anahuac”, from Mexico City, plays two instrumental melodies of their homeland. As such, it is in typical orquesta típica style, that is to say a small orchestra, usually comparable in size and function to an American dance band, albeit with different instrumentation. Numerous típica orchestras representing various Hispanic nations made hundreds of records for Victor and other American record labels during the 1910s to 1930s. The “Anahuac” orchestra made a total of eight sides, all recorded on two consecutive days in 1926. Unlike the countless Mexican recordings made within the borders of the United States, such as the one featured here two years ago today. these were actually cut in Mexico and exported to the United States for pressing, only to be exported back to Mexico. Unfortunately, original documentation for these recordings is lost, so I can offer precious little information regarding their history.
Victor 79174—in their 70000 “export” or “ethnic” series—was recorded on December 14 and 15, 1926, in Mexico City. It was released in 1927 and remained in Victor’s catalog all the way until 1949. This particular pressing dates to around the late 1930s or early 1940s.
Firstly, the Orquesta Típica Mexicana “Anahuac” plays a rather dramatic marcha (march) composed by José Briseño, titled “Patria”, or “Native Country”.
On the reverse, they play a melody which you may recognize, a baile mexicano (Mexican dance) titled “Jarabe Tapatío”, better known to anglophone audiences as the “Mexican Hat Dance”.