Music of New Mexico

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New Mexico is a state of the Southwest United States.

Perhaps the first well-known group hailing from New Mexico was The Fireballs scoring a #1 hit in 1963 called "Sugar Shack". Native American Rock group Xit, signed and recorded two albums for "Rare Earth Records" a subsidiary for "Motown Records", "Plight of the Redman" in 1972 and "Silent Warrior" in 1973. In 2002, a song called "New Slang" was heard on TV commercials across the country. The group was The Shins, which became a perennial favorite among indie folk/pop/rock fans worldwide. The next international success came when a young Santa Fe and Albuquerque resident Zach Condon formed an ethno/world influenced band called Beirut.

Native American music is represented by Taos Pueblo's Robert Mirabal who received Grammy Award for his recent work.

Other notable musicians associated with New Mexico include Al Hurricane (dubbed the godfather of New Mexican music), Eliza Gilkyson, Tish Hinojosa, Farzad, Deuter, Ottmar Liebert, Rahim AlHaj, Hazeldine, Wagogo, Jaka, Joy Harjo, Consuelo Luz, and The Eyeliners.

The New Mexico Symphony Orchestra, currently under the leadership of Guillermo Figueroa, has been performing since 1932.[1] Other music institutions in the state include the Taos School of Music, the Santa Fe Community Orchestra and the Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra and Chorus.

The English-language state song of New Mexico is "O Fair New Mexico", adopted by the state legislature in 1917. In 1971, "Así es Nuevo México" was adopted as the Spanish-language state song. In 1989, the legislature adopted "Land of Enchantment" by Michael Martin Murphey as the official state ballad; and in 1995, the legislature adopted "New Mexico - Mi Lindo Nuevo México" by Pablo Mares as the state's official bilingual state song.

Country music[edit]

New Mexico's country music heritage includes Red River's Michael Martin Murphey, a cowboy singer and popular local attraction, as well as the Old West town of Las Vegas, New Mexico. The town of Clovis was home to the Norman Petty Studios, where Texans Buddy Holly and Roy Orbison recorded; the town of Ruidoso is home to the Lincoln County Cowboy Symposium.[2]

Heritage project[edit]

New Mexico's heritage studies and inquiries into the unique past of the area reveal that the violin was introduced into New Mexico long before Europeans brought polka and other folk forms to the east coast. Tomas Lozano's book Cantemos al Alba, John D. Robb's Hispanic Folk Music of New Mexico and the Southwest, and Weigle and White's The Lore of New Mexico, among many other studies, confirm the long and fabulously interesting history of violin playing in New Mexico.

A heritage program has been started at the University of New Mexico that explores and expands this research. The New Mexico Musical Heritage Project continues to play the music of early New Mexico, while learning the violin building techniques used in the pueblos to convert the natives through music.[3]

Music festivals[edit]

The city of Santa Fe, New Mexico is home to the Santa Fe International Festival of New Music, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, and the Santa Fe Opera. Taos is home to the Taos Solar Music Festival. June is the month for many festivals in New Mexico. Besides Taos Solar Music Festival at the end of June, there is Southwest Roots Music Festival, also called the Thirsty Ear Music Festival that takes place in the middle of June just outside Santa Fe at the famous western movie set. Festival features well-known artists representing the roots of folk, blues, bluegrass, and world music.

Another festival in New Mexico is Globalquerque taking place at the end of every September since 2005 at the Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque. It features music from all continents (folk/ethno/pop) as well as some Native American and Hispanic acts.

Small venues[edit]

In Las Cruces, Starbucks coffee shop is known for hosting an open mic on Friday or Sunday nights. Popular artists at these venues include the group: "Raw Material," as well as Clay King, a local guitar player, Codeword Zefferina, and Jon Paz, a local multi-instrumentalist.

Red River in Northern New Mexico has a Bluesfest in early June and Larry Joe Taylor's Music Festival and Chili Cookoff featuring well-known songwriters such as Richard Leigh, Keith Sykes, Joe Ely and Michael Hearn.

In Taos, the Taos Inn host nightly music performances.


  1. ^ "History". New Mexico Symphony Orchestra. Retrieved December 7, 2005. 
  2. ^ Byron, Janet (1996). Country Music Lover's Guide to the U.S.A. (1st ed. ed.). New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-14300-1. 
  3. ^ "New Mexico Musical Heritage Project". Retrieved October 9, 2012. 

External links[edit]