Friday, March 15, 2024

Duck Walking Down Through History

 March 15, 2024

   When I am looking at old images from the Southwest frontier I am often struck with how modern they appear to be. Case in point.

Daily Whip Out:

"Duck Walking Mariachi On Canal Street

In Nogales, Sonora"

(circa 1902)

   The designation of DWO is an indication that I have tweaked the image, ever so slightly, to make my point. Here is the original photo:

   But still, it's a pretty convincing point, don't you think? Of course, this is the guy who invented the duck walk in our country.

Chuck Berry's Duck Walk

(reversed to show the similarity)

   As for the history of the instruments these two Sonoran street musicians are playing, here is what the foremost border musician-historian tells me:

   "One of these high-hatted fellow is playing an
harpa grande, a thirty two string diatonic harp usually made of cedar. Historically the harpist played the bass line with his left hand and the melody with the right. The other fellow is playing a guitarrón (big guitar) which provides bass in mariachi ensembles. There are smaller harps (about the size of Irish harps) favored in Sonora by Yaqui groups. Remember, all of this is violin driven music. Indigenous Mexicans were, and are, very musical. In the 16th century they were introduced to European string instruments including the harp. Guitar and violins were not quite invented yet, but guitar like instruments and violin like instruments were. Harps are central to Jarocho music in eastern (think Vera Cruz) Mexico. Big concert mariachis are using harps more often as sound equipment has improved."

—Greg Scott, Nogales, Arizona

   All of the above is true, some of my part—the DWO—is leaned on, which only goes to prove. . .

"The only thing new in this world, is the history you don't know."

—Harry Truman

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous5:28 PM

    But still, it's a pretty convincing point, don't you think?
    NO. I don't know what you're looking at, but the guy on the left has both feet on the ground- that thing is not his leg.


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