the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center,
the Arhoolie Foundation,
and the UCLA Digital Library
Rio Records is one of those legendary labels that came to be identified with not just a musical genre but a movement. Though the label was short-lived, some of the biggest names in Tex-Mex conjunto music made their first recordings for Rio. They include three accordion players – Flaco Jimenez, Tony de la Rosa and Fred Zimmerle – who went on to become big stars in South Texas and beyond. In this blog post, Frontera Collection founder Chris Strachwitz tells the story of Hymie Wolf and the creation of Rio Records.
One of the secret treasures of the Frontera Collection is the amount of vintage Cuban music it contains. Among the most popular and longest lived bands is La Sonora Matancera, which celebrates its 90th anniversary this year. There are some 140 discs in the archives, mostly old 78s, by the iconic Afro-Cuban conjunto, founded in 1924 in the province of Matanzas. However, not all the titles are credited to the band itself.
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