‘Welcome to Tijuana’: An Evening of Mexican Music and Culture

Posted: April 5, 2006 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Nicholas Zinzer

When one thinks of music from Mexico, the first thought that often comes to mind is classical guitar and mariachi, an ensemble of five or more musicians who wear traditional dress. Nortec Collective, a band from Tijuana, Mexico, breaks that mold: The five band members compose and play all their music on computers.

Nortec Collective combines Norteño (“from the North”) and techno. Norteño is a music style played in the southwest United States and northern Mexico. The band is a “mix between the style and culture of ‘electronica’ and traditional Mexican music,” says Rei Berroa, a Spanish literature professor in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages. “When you listen to them, you don’t hear much of the ‘Mexican’ in their music.”

The group will perform on Saturday, April 8, at 7 p.m. in the Johnson Center Dewberry Hall. In addition, Josè Manuel Valenzuela, author of the book, “Paso Del Nortec. Welcome to Tijuana,” will speak about Mexican politics, culture and anthropology prior to the Nortec Collective performance.

Valenzuela is a research professor at Colegio de la Frontera Norte in Tijuana. His lecture will attempt to explain cultural traits about the band, such as where the band derives its artistic influence. Valenzuela will speak at 6:30 pm in the Johnson Center, Room G19A.

The band is composed of five artists: Ramõn Amezcua, Jorge Verdìn, Pepe Mogt, P.G. Beas and Roberto Mendoza. The band uses stage names that are references to the computers each member uses to compose and play music: Fussible (Mogt), Bostich (Amezcua), Panõptica (Mendoza), Clorofila (Verdìn) and Hiperboreal (Beas).

Berroa says the music draws artistic influence from Tijuana, but also absorbs electronic and techno influence from the United States. “There is a feeling you get when you listen to Mexican music…really the bulk of the music is a combination of rock with traditional music from Mexico.”

The free event is sponsored by University Life, Office of the Provost, Latin American Studies, and the Department of Modern and Classical Languages, with the collaboration of the Cultural Institute of Mexico.

For more information, call Rei Berroa at 703-993-1241.

Write to at