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Treasure trove of songs released online

March 26, 2009 |  4:06 pm

An archive of over 41,000 Spanish-language songs dating back to the early 1900s was released online today by UCLA.

Available at http://frontera.library.ucla.edu, the recordings are from the Arhoolie Foundation's Strachwitz Frontera Collection of Mexican and Mexican American Recordings and was released by the university's Chicano Studies Research Center, according to a press release from the university.

Selections include some of the first known recordings of Lydia Mendoza and her family in 1928 and of accordion player Narciso Martinez in 1937. The collection includes music, speeches and comedy skits.

Only 50 seconds of each song in the collection is accessible from most computers off UCLA's campus. Full versions are available through computers at the university and for those that have access to its network, officials said.

The music group Los Tigres del Norte, which donated $500,000 to the university in 2000 that helped digitize about 30,000 recordings made from 1905 to 1955, joined officials on campus in making today's announcement.

The other 11,000 recordings are from 1955 to the 1990s.

-- Ari B. Bloomekatz