Every week, we find out what the new theme is, and every week there are artists I want to post who don’t have a song that fits. This week has given me the chance to get to some of these artists. Here are three more.
Tish Hinojosa: Rancherita
Tish Hinojosa is a Mexican-American. The album I have, Homeland, is a celebration of her heritage, so it’s only natural that some of the songs are in Spanish. Rancherita means “little ranch girl”, and here she is serenaded beautifully by the cowboy who loves her. The accordion part, by the legendary Flaco Jiminez, has a bit of a polka feel to it. Settlers from Poland and other parts of Eastern Europe brought their accordions and their polkas with them when they came to Texas. There, Mexican migrant workers heard this new sound, and brought it back with them to Mexico. And that’s how the accordion found its way into norteno music.
Angelique Kidjo: Batonga
Angelique Kidjo hails from the African country of Benin, but her music is an amalgam of various African styles, as well as being influenced by American R & B and even rock. She has done amazing covers of Jimi Hendrix and the Rolling Stones. Batonga is an original song. Most of the words are in Yoruba, but the title is a word Kidjo made up when she was a girl. She used it to respond to boys who taunted her at school, and they had no response because they didn’t know what the word meant, and they didn’t want to admit their ignorance to a girl. Batonga, to Kidjo, has come to be an assertion of a girl’s right to an education, and it is now the name of a foundation in which Kidjo is very much involved, and which is dedicated to that purpose.
Jim Lauderdale: Whisper
It’s not that I have anything against the English language. I had better like it, since it’s the only one I speak. And it is certainly possible to express oneself beautifully in English. Take Whisper. In 1978, this song would have been a country chart topper, and regarded as a classic country song ever since. Whisper is a great example of how to say I love you in a country song, and Lauderdale gives a wonderful sincere performance. The production is perfect, with the song having everything it needs and not a trace of the overpruduction that mars so many country songs. The only trouble is, Whisper didn’t come out until 1998. By then, was considered alt-country, and not nearly enough people got to hear it. I’m happy to have a chance to do a little something about that.