the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center,
the Arhoolie Foundation,
and the UCLA Digital Library
The most common gifts for Mother's Day are flowers, chocolates and maybe jewelry. But traditionally, Mexicans also give music as a gift to honor their madrecitas. This album by Los Tigres del Norte, "A Ti Madrecita," contains 12 songs expressing devotion to mothers, tied with a bow on the cover.
Browsing song titles in the Frontera Collection shows how important the cult of motherhood is in Mexican music. A search for the Spanish word "madre" yields 20 pages of results and the diminutive "madrecita" another five. (To be accurate, though, the count should not include the 15 versions of "Me Importa Madre," where the term is used profanely to mean "I don’t give a hoot," to put it politely.)
The rest of the songs are very respectful, even reverential. There are 53 versions of "Amor de Madre," expressing the classic theme that there is no love like a mother's love. Mothers are hailed as holy, angelical, immortal and unforgettable. They are adored, idolized and beloved, but sometimes also abandoned, though prodigal sons are always repentant.
We find songs about a mother’s rosary, her rebozo, her voice, her tears, her advice, her blessing, her curse and her final resting place.
The songs offer roses, postcards, apologies, prayers, poems, and serenades. And because the music comes from immigrants far from home, the pain of learning of a mother's demise back home is reflected in 27 versions of this final farewell, "Adios Madre Querida."
One song, however, does not fit the mold. It has a title that smacks of a little irreverence, even naughtiness: "Yo Debi Enamorarme De Tu Madre." Meaning, "I should have fallen in love with your mother."
But that’s for a different day.
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