Crossing Jordan

Rub?n Martinez presents his story-song cycle evoking modern migrant tales, July 29

Published on LatinoLA: July 17, 2004

Crossing Jordan

Rub?n Mart?nez, known to many Angelenos for his nearly two decades? worth of writings on Latinos and their experience on both sides of the border, will present a story-song cycle entitled CANAAN, an evocation of modern migrant tales, in an exclusive L.A.-area appearance at the Echo in Echo Park on July 29.

The former Emmy Award-winning co-host of KCET-TV?s ?Life & Times? and veteran commentator for National Public Radio as well as Pacifc News Service invokes the ghosts of that original alt-folkie Woody Guthrie, the plaintive Mexican balladeer Cuco S?nchez, with flashes of Hank Williams, Los Tigres del Norte, Steve Earle and Freddy Fender in his cabaret-style performance.

Mart?nez, who has followed migrants from their hometowns in Mexico across the border and across the United States, combines his flair for storytelling and political commentary with a sweet, lowdown, gravel voice. CANAAN is the story of the border not as the media distorts it but as the people of the frontier live it. He renders a portrait of a territory and a people that transcend the border even as he examines the human toll it takes.

?This summer as the temperature rises into triple digits, the migrants will cross the line and face the wrath of the deadly desert sun and hundreds will die,? says Mart?nez. ?Most, however, will survive the journey and pick up low-paying jobs across the country. For doing so, they will be called criminals; they will be told to go back to Mexico. But to me, they?re the new American pioneers. That?s what I write about. That?s what I sing about.?

Joining Mart?nez onstage will be a stellar L.A. band, including Joe City Garcia (who has toured with Martinez and composed for and accompanied such artists as Victoria Marks and Elia Arce) on guitars, Rub?n Gonz?lez (the Blazers) on drums and percussion, Michael Bolger (Domingo7, Dakah, Los Super Elegantes, Brazzaville) on trumpet and accordion, and Philip Salazar (Horsemen, Whiskey Train) on bass.

Mart?nez is the author of four books, including Crossing Over: A Mexican Family on the Migrant Trail (Picador) and, most recently, The New Americans (The New Press), a companion to the PBS television series of the same name.

WHO: Rub?n Mart?nez and band perform CANAAN
WHEN: July 29, 8:30 PM
WHERE: The Echo, 1822 Sunset Blvd., between Echo Park Ave. and Alvarado. $12 admission; information at 213-413-8200 and also on the web at rumandhumble.com

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