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Songs We Love: Mariachi Los Camperos de Nati Cano, 'Yo'

Nati Cano's Mariachi Los Camperos released <em>Tradicion, Arte y Pasion</em> on Smithsonian Folkways in July.
Daniel Sheehy
Courtesy of Smithsonian Folkways
Nati Cano's Mariachi Los Camperos released Tradicion, Arte y Pasion on Smithsonian Folkways in July.

When mariachi musician Nati Cano died last year the world lost a true cultural warrior. His dedication to the Mexican folk music was a lifelong passion that took place initially in bars and at public events, then eventually on the world's greatest stages.

/ Smithsonian Folkways
Smithsonian Folkways

His singular focus was highlighting the deep and complex beauty of mariachi, and he was recording yet another album for Smithsonian Folkways when he died unexpectedly in October.

Cano's Mariachi Los Camperos digs into the song "Yo" and imbues it with the passion it deserves as the first song released by composer José Alfredo Jiménez, a legendary talent who wrote more than 1,000 songs, many of which are still performed.

This song and the entire album, Tradición, Arte y Pasión, are the kind of mariachi my mother loves: lots of strings and trumpets, full-throated singing and lyrics about broken hearts that invite singalongs.

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Felix Contreras is co-creator and host of Alt.Latino, NPR's pioneering radio show and podcast celebrating Latin music and culture since 2010.