Trio Los Olmos

Traditional Music of Northern Mexico


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Details: Audio Cassette, 1989, Produced and Recorded by Alan Govenar
Track Listing: Rosa Maria, Corrido de Cananea (Guty Cáredenas), El Hidalguense (Nicardo Castillo), Ella (José A. Jiménez), La Paloma (Sebastián de Yradier), Dos Arbolitos (Chucho Martinez Gil), El Marquerido (J. Gonzales/J. Quiroz), Volver Volver (Fernando Z. Maldonado), Arnulfo Gonzales, La Potranca, El Gavilán Pollero, El Siete Leguas (Graciela Olmos), Mariá Elena (Lorenzo Barcelata)

Liner Notes

The Trio Los Olmos is firmly rooted in two enduring traditions in the folk and popular music of Mexico: the romantic, close-harmony format and the body of country-flavored songs, ballads, and regional themes which correspond to traditional or mainstream country music in the United States. Their repertory is built around the themes and styles of Northen Mexico in particular: huapangos, boleros, rancheras, and corridos (or topical ballads, some of which date back to the Mexican Revolution of 1910). These are the songs well known to most Mexicans and to Mexican-Americans with close ties to their indigenous culture. In addition to folk themes, there is the music of legendary composers, such as the late José Alfredo Jiménez and Guty Cárdenas, as well as Chucho Martinez Gil, Fernando Maldonado, and Graciela Olmos.

Trio Los Olmos sings in the style popularized by the great Mexican trios of the past, including Los Tres Diamantes, Trio Tariácuri, and Los Panchos. Yet, theirs is not merely nostalgic; both the trio and these country themes are living traditions in Mexican music culture today. Significantly, their music comes from Fort Worth, Texas, a city with a sizable Hispanic population, but one far removed from Mexico.

The Trio Los Olmos grew out of a family tradition. Their parents taught them many of these songs while the children were growing up. Older brother Pete began singing with his father around 1945. Joe joined Pete after returning from Vietnam in the late 1960’s. Together with Pete’s wife, Candelaria, they then founded the trio and have sung together ever since.

John Wheat
Barker Texas History Center
Austin, 1989