Sunday, September 21, 2008

Linda Ronstadt in the NYTimes

Once a Rock Star, Now a Matriarch of Mariachi

NY Times: September 19, 2008


EVEN now, lounging around her apartment at the age of 62, wearing Mephisto
slippers and a far-from-revealing hoodie, Linda Ronstadt is thinking back to
a summer in Guadalajara when she was 12, and a light-haired Mexican boy
named Mario.

"I would flirt with him," she recalls wryly, her come-hither eyes and
heart-shaped lips still echoing the days when she was decreed "Rock's Venus"
by Rolling Stone. "One night I heard music and ran to the window. I peeked
through the curtain, and there was Mario with two taxis full of mariachis
serenading me with firecrackers."

To Ms. Ronstadt, whose roots are deeply embedded in Mexican soil, it was the
ultimate seduction. "These are big-voiced songs, filled with the exuberance
of nature, the fertility of the earth, love and romance," she says of
mariachi music, the focus of much of her artistic passion since she
abdicated the throne of rock Venus-dom in the early '80s. "They're about
growing the land, and romance blooming in that context. The songs are more
complex sexually, I think, than the romantic love we grew up on."

A mistress of self-reinvention who likens her resolve to "a Mexican crossed
with a Sherman tank," Ms. Ronstadt's post-"Heart Like a Wheel" career has
included pop standards with Nelson Riddle, Gilbert & Sullivan's "Pirates of
Penzance" onstage for Joseph Papp (she was nominated for a Tony), twangy
Appalachia (with Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris), French Cajun (her recent
"Adieu False Heart" with Ann Savoy) and of course, with "Canciones de Mi
Padre," mariachi - which reconnected her to her Tucson childhood as the
granddaughter of a German-Mexican mining engineer and rancher whose mariachi
band serenaded the populace from a now-defunct bandstand in the city's
central plaza.


The rest of the article is at:

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