My father listens to Spanish-speaking radio.
He doesn’t speak Spanish.
He’s been doing this for quite a while now. He likes the sound of it, and he doesn’t have to endure the opinions of deejays.
He’s been doing this since I was little. It’s a tribute to our ability to be distracted that neither one of us understand much of it. Seriously. My understanding of Spanish (in the Mexican-sense of Spanish, and I am aware that there are differences but I couldn’t tell you what they are) comes from Speedy Gonzalez cartoons (Andale! Andale! Arriba! Arriba!) and the telephone (para Espanol, marco dos**).
The music, though?
It’s the accordions. I've got an affection for the accordions.
My father and I have the dubious distinction of having both played, as teenagers, in bands with accordions in them - in his case a three-piece playing standards in Minnesota and Wisconsin for pennies in the ‘50s and in my case a band that swelled from three to 12 depending on what the ballroom would pay, doing “Old Time”: polkas, schottisches, mazurkas, waltzes, foxtrots, standards and a hypnotic “rock” medley consisting of “Johnny B Good”, “Maybellene”, “Kaw-Liga” and ending with a ripping version of “Woodchopper’s Ball”.
You were allowed to bring your own booze.
Wait a minute. Where was I?
I’ve found myself experimenting recently with Mexican radio.
Radio Rey (La Ley) Minneapolis, on the left end of the AM dial. I can’t understand a word of it.
And why would I want to? I’m just here for the music, right?: accordion, guitar, trumpet, tuba, drums. Cultural music, ethnic music.
Funny how close it is to the polka.
* The Law!
** For Spanish, press “two”.
Pointy The Poinsettia
15 hours ago