Musica Ranchera Audio Cassette

Relationship: Child of im/migrant
My father's audio cassettes of ranchera music
My father's audio cassettes of ranchera music

Driving from Chicago all the way to Durango, Mexico was a common road trip our family would take during winter break.  Cutting across US and Mexico state lines, music was almost always playing in the background. Vivid memories are associated with that sound track of polkas and rancheras, including singing, reading, eating, and playing.  My father, a lover of ranchera music, would pop in cassette after cassette for over 30 hours until we reached our destination.  At that time, when my brother and I were growing up, the music was the familiar sound that turned our car into a safe home during the two-day trip. It was a feeling of comfort and familiarity as everything outside our car windows was different and distant.  But now, these audio cassettes mean so much more.  Although the music continues to be a symbol of home and my Mexican roots, these audio cassettes remind me of how culture travels with you, no matter where you are. It is fluid. It is not tied to one place or time. It has no borders, and wherever it may be playing it always provides a feeling of familiarity, safety and comfort. Visually, however, the cassettes themselves do represent a time stamp, the period of time when I'd hear cassettes played in cars in the 80s and into the 90s, a time when I was growing up with my Mexican immigrant parents and my younger brother, traveling back and forth as a symbol of my hybrid cultural identity. But, the music inside those tapes will always be timeless. 

Place(s): Chicago, Mexico, across US

– Nancy Villafranca-Guzman

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant