Ezequiel Peña

Nuestra Tradicion: La Charreria

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It certainly isn't unheard of for Ezequiel Peña to be pictured on horseback wearing a sombrero. He is one of the more traditional Mexican singers of the '90s and 2000s, and los caballos (horses) have often been celebrated in traditional Mexican music. Peña, like many Mexican artists, has frequently described a rural lifestyle -- and that rural imagery has made Mexican music popular not only in Mexico, but also in some other Spanish-speaking countries, including Colombia, where a lot of rancheros (ranchers) and campesinos (country people) identify with those rural themes. And on Nuestra Tradición: La Charrería, Peña's caballo and sombrero are especially appropriate given the album's overall theme. This banda/mariachi collection, which Fonovisa assembled in 2005, is a tribute to los charros -- Mexican horsemen whose sport, la charrería, goes back to the 16th century and was a forerunner of the American rodeo. Not everything on Nuestra Tradición is about la charrería specifically, but horses are a prominent theme on this 59-minute, 20-song disc. And given Peña's interest in rural life, it wasn't difficult for Fonovisa to find some caballo-friendly recordings in his catalog -- heartfelt recordings that include "Caballo de Patas Blancas," "La Charreada," "El Ranchero," "Amor de Charro," and "Potro Bandido." If one were driving to a charrería in Mexico, Nuestra Tradición could easily get him or her in the mood; this release often sounds like the soundtrack to life in the rural parts of Mexico. Longtime Peña fans will be familiar with most or all of these recordings, but it's still nice to have them on the same CD -- and with Nuestra Tradición, Fonovisa has successfully assembled a pleasing tribute to Mexico's horsemen.

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