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Old Southwestern Fiddle Music
Many influences!
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August 18, 2021 - 10:23 pm
Member Since: June 10, 2020
Forum Posts: 3440
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I fell in love with some music from the Old Southwest by watching old Hollywood films when I was young - these fiddlers remind me of those films!

The "Gu-Achi Fiddlers" had a different take on 'Oldtime'. 

Old Time O'odham Fiddle Music Playlist - Gu-Achi Fiddlers

Liner notes by Jim Griffith of The Southwest Folklore Center in Tucson, Arizona:

This is the first commercial recording of one of the loveliest instrumental traditions in Southern Arizona - the fiddle band music of the Tohono O'odham (the Desert People), formerly known as the Papago Indians. The O'odham fiddle sound is a unique one with a full band consisting of two violins, a guitar, a snare drum and a bass playing polkas, two-steps, and mazurkas.

The story of this music starts when Arizona was part of New Spain and Catholic missionaries taught the Indians under their care to play European instruments so they could provide music for Mass. By the time such exciting new dances from rhythms as the polka, the shottische, the quadrille and the mazurka arrived in Arizona in the mid-19th century, O'odham musicians had the skills and knowledge to learn them.

And learn them they did. O'odham musicians from San Xavier were playing dances at fiestas in Tucson by the late 1860's. To the European dances listed above, some communities added the melodies for the pascola and matachines, ritual dances that probably came from the Yaqui Indians of Sonora, Mexico.

The fiddle tradition has lasted up to the present day in many deserts villages, submerged by the modern sounds of "Chicken Scratch," but still alive. With the start of the annual All O'odham Fiddle Orchestra Contest at San Xavier in 1984 there has been a revival of interest. This brings us to the Gu-Achi Fiddlers, the first fidddle band ever to cut an album.

Now, this is how fiddlers get thru covid while social distancing! 

This is from 2020 - "Los Gu'achis" is a little band that took their name from the Gu-Achi Fiddlers, learning some Old music that had been preserved on wax cylinders. 

Los Gu'achis performed a one-hour concert outside violinist Barbara Arhon's garage in Petaluma, California

"Los Gu’achis also plays music of the Early Californians (Los Californios), of Mexico, New Mexico and Swedish tunes, all of which lend themselves to the Gu’achi style".  You can read more about them and hear better examples of their music, here. 

Los Gu'achis site - Listen



Been searching for music like this for a long time & I had almost given up! 

... just reminds me how important a good E string is. 🤭🤫 

- Emily

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