Posted by: Marie | January 18, 2010

(228) I dance pretty well for a honky

Post #228
[Private journal entry written on Saturday, September 19, 2009]

I went dancing tonight.

A friend of mine from work invited me to join her and her husband this evening for a gathering at the local Legion Hall (hall where war veterans gather). My friend and her husband grew up in Texas and in Colorado — their families were migrant Hispanic farm workers.

Their heritage is rich with the music of Mexico and early Texas. It is called Tex-Mex or Tejano music. It is very lively and it invites you to dance energetically.

The people at the gathering tonight were all musicians from this genre, along with their families and friends. They all grew up together and had played in bands together for many years. Much of the styling and talent has been passed down through the generations . . . and many families had multiple generations in attendance! They all took turns playing in groups.

Vietnam by Martin Chen

I know a little Spanish, but not enough to really understand what was being said. I was glad my friend was with me to translate, LOL. Her husband danced with me a few times – he said I danced pretty well for a “honky”. I think that was a compliment . . . maybe, LOL. At any rate, he said it in good humor.

Of course, there was wonderful food – green chili, chicken tortillas, beans . . . all kinds of food that was true to their culture. Some of it I didn’t even attempt to eat because I was warned that it was too hot for my “white girl” palette. When my friend thinks it’s hot – that means it’s REALLY hot! I like a little heat, but not enough to go against their advice, LOL.

My friend showed me a guitar that her father had played in his younger days (he is now in his 80’s). She brought it along in the hope he would play it on the stage. He didn’t. However, I found the instrument, and its history, very fascinating.

It is called a bajo sexto, which translates roughly to “six-string bass”. It actually has 12 strings – six sets of two strings. This particular one was built in Texas by a man named Don Martin Macias in the early or mid-1900’s. Macias was the “Stradivarius” of the bajo sexto and he made only a small number of these instruments because it took him 6-8 months to make each bajo. His bajos have a very distinct, very rich sound. This guitar has an incredible history and is quite valuable. It was a joy to see it and learn about it.

So, it was an enjoyable evening! I’m glad I went!

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