The set and Emperor Maximilian

Nortec Collective's 'Tijuana Sessions'
Emperor Maximilian
The Execution of Emperor Maximilian'
Benito Juarez
Last night’s set went well for a Monday night. We had special guests turn up like Pragueblog’s Steve Hercher, Klara Nemravova and about three other people. I just got a new shipment from my favorite online music store,, including John Beltran’s “Sun Gypsy,” and a compilation of Brasilian drum’n’bass (or as I like to pronounce it, “drumming bass”).

I got asked a couple of times what the significance of Cinco de Mayo is, and strangely enough, it has to do with the Austro-Hungarian Emperor Maximilian, who was apparently kind of the family screwup. They didn’t know what to do with him, so they shipped him off to Mexico, where they made him Emperor. He lasted something like 30 seconds, and the Mexican revolutionaries, led by Benito Juarez, eventually executed him. The Cinco de Mayo commemorates a battle Juarez’ revolutionaries lost, but its significance was that the Mexicans could stand up to a much greater force – Maximilian’s, backed by Napoleon III.

The reason this all comes up now is because we were talking about Nortec, which combines techno and norteno music. Norteno music has its roots in polka (the Czechs call it dechovka, literally “breath music”) which was brought to northern Mexico by central European settlers. I mean, how else are Mexican Indians going to get accordions and tubas?

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