La Bamba! on Throwback Thursday

Ritchie Valens
Ritchie Valens

Cinco de Mayo initially became popular with Mexican-American communities in the American West as a way to commemorate the cause of freedom and democracy during the first years of the American Civil War. Cinco de Mayo (Spanish for “fifth of May”) is held on May 5th, mainly here in the U.S. It commemorates the Mexican Army’s unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.

Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s Independence Day, the most important national patriotic holiday in Mexico, which is celebrated on September 16. In Mexico, May 5th is called  El Día de la Batalla de Puebla (The Day of the Battle of Puebla), and is celebrated mainly in the state of Puebla, but is not a large, national holiday.

Here in the United States, the date is observed as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride. Richie Valens was a Mexican-American singer born in a suburb of Los Angeles, CA in 1941. During his brief reign as a pop-star, he contributed this classic song, adapted from a Mexican folk song. Less than a year after it’s release, he tragically died, at 17. He was a pioneer in Spanish-language pop, in Chicano music and American Rock.

La Bamba is a great song to play with and for kids, the beat is irresistible and the words implore everyone to dance.

Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

Images are taken from wikimedia.