Sunday, May 13, 2007


Mexico had a pretty good underground psychedelic rock scene in the '60s and '70s and if you dig hard enough, you can find quite a trove of musical delight. The musical counterculture was seething under the "importation of rock and roll" from the US, complete with government mandated playlists for radio stations.

On September 11, 1971, a rock band decided they would try to capitalize on a local car race by arranging a performance. This wound up in several bands deciding that they wanted to perform and resulted in a Mexican version of Woodstock with over 250,000 people in attendance. The event itself has since been referred to as Avandaro (the name of the town where the show happened, which was 20 miles outside of Mexico City).

It was considered to be a major coup in the rock and roll scene in Mexico because, although the authorities were at hand, no incidents occurred. This was three months after a bloody stamping out of a student protest, so there was a concern that the police would bust up the show.

There is a compilation of recordings related to the performance that can be found on the music blog Black Acid.

18mm film footage was shot of the event and there are several videos posted online.

Peace And Love were one of the many bands that played the gig. They were led by Ricardo Ochoa, who was considered to be a pioneer in the political music scene at that period in time. The band's music easily flows from latin style rhythms to funk to rock and roll to ballads. Here is the re-issue of their record.

Rough translation:

"It's been fifteen years since three days of music, peace, and love was recorded in the heart of that beautiful place of grace- much to my astonishment. The Peace And Love band was an important group to me but of equal importance was the festival of Avandaro- it is held to be the best experience of my musical career. Bringing this music from the shadows of the past and back into the light after so many years have gone by is so very important... and I want to share it with you."
Ricardo Ochoa

To learn more about the underground Mexican music scene, read Refried Elvis: The Rise of the Mexican Counterculture by Eric Zolov. The whole book can be read online here.

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