Deep South Productions
Leti De La Vega
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CD Reviews 6-24-03

Music is a learning tool. Teresa Leticia De La Vega has recorded a collection of songs and stories about her ancestors on Rancho Viejo, Mexico. She also recorded this with her ancestors---four generations of the Sanchez-De La Vega family to be exact.

De La Vega is the current historian of the Sanchez side of her family. What a rich history it is as well. This album, as the title reflects, is about her family land located in Mexico, just across the border from Los Indios, Texas. An amazing cast of family and musicians combine to make this album both musically and historically touching. In addition to the four generations of family, some of the players include Doak Short, Geoffrey Bowie Outlaw, Marvin Dykhuis, Fernando Castillo, the late Deschamps “Champ” Hood, and the late “Mambo” John Treanor.

The music is traditional at times, funky at others and downright wonderful throughout. More of a celebration of family through word and song, this album gives the listener the feeling of sitting in a backyard, enjoying a gathering of family and listening to history. The songs flow with Spanish and English weaving thoughout.

The song “500 Horses” is a distrubing tale of the Felix Sanchez family ranch being wiped out by a horse killing plague which only hit the 22 square-mile ranch. The suggestions of foul play is there, but understasted.

Foul play is the theme of the “Ballad of Florindo Sanchez.” The duet between De La Vega and Doak Short tells the tale of the assassination of her ancestor on the bands of the Rio Grande. Champ Hood’s fiddle sets the solemn mood. The spoken-word “Recipes pf the Ancestors” is a touching nod to the “pinch of this and clove of that” kitchen sense that is passed down from generation to generation.

The fun traditional song “Cascabel” is a reminder that all was not solemn on the ranch. The addition of some of the De La Vega childern on the vocals here was a wonderful touch.

A woman of many artistic talents, De La Vega wrote many of the songs and even painted the cover of CD. While this album was released in 2001, the content is timeless. Any one with an interest in historical folk would enjopy this offering. I found this CD in a little art shop in Wimberley, Texas where I met Ms. De La Vega a few months back, but I recommend ordering it online.

By: Sean Claes