Night Music: Esteban Jordan and Valerio Longorio, “La Hilacha”

Two accordions in one song. I fear what might happen tonight in Eastern Pennsylvania.

Anyone who has watched Breaking Bad knows the form of the borderlands ballad, a nortena song style that’s usually about criminals plying their trade and escaping the long brazos of the law.

One of the main characteristics of these songs is a metonymical tempo and a steady passionless delivery. This is Mexican music, but one that evolved out of the polka of the German settlers of South Texas. It is a dance music of the wooden soldiers.

Esteban Jordan, known unofficially as the king of the diatonic accordion when he was alive, subverted the rules. His is a music of swing, varying tempos, intemperate ejaculations (like Bob Wills), and a drive to rock the tempo out of it’s implacable groove, into one with just a little bit of surprise. You can see from Velerio Longorio’s reactions in the video, that Jordan’s mild improvs and filigrees are outrageous.

And the eye patch doesn’t hurt.

One thought on “Night Music: Esteban Jordan and Valerio Longorio, “La Hilacha”

  1. Mexican restaurant music. David Carradine with an eye patch.

    Sounds the same as any other Mexican restaurant music I’ve ever heard, although surely non-connoisseurs of the music I like might say it all sounds the same as well.

    Fair enough, Diego.

    (If you look really closely, you can spot Sean Penn in the audience at 1:57.)

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