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Los Tigres del Norte help unveil UCLA Mexican music archive

March 31, 2009 |  9:08 am

Growing up in the Mexican state of Sinaloa, the members of the Mexican norteno supergroup Los Tigres del Norte absorbed all kinds of musical influences, including the regional music of the frontera. That sound helped shape the group's distinctive -- and commercially successful -- sound, and now Los Tigres is repaying the favor.

Last Thursday, four members of Los Tigres were at UCLA to help celebrate the formal launching of the Arhoolie Foundation's Strachwitz Frontera Collection of Mexican and Mexican American Recordings, which school officials are calling the largest online digital archive of its kind.

The archive includes more than 41,000 recordings of historical Spanish-language songs dating from the early 1900s to the 1950s. Los Tigres contributed $500,000 from its foundation to help digitize the  Frontera Collection's 78 rpm recordings. Also present Thursday was Arhoolie Foundation President Chris Strachwitz, who collected the recordings, and representatives of UCLA's Chicano Studies Research Center.

Full-length versions of each song can be accessed from computers on the UCLA campus or by those accessing the campus network through its proxy server (although, due to copyright restrictions, only the first 50 seconds of each song will be accessible from computers off campus).

See how the music of Los Tigres del Norte inspired a mural in Mexico City here.

-- Reed Johnson in Los Angeles