Lance & Carlos — 17th Annual Woody Guthrie Folk Festival, 2014

Woodyfest 2014: Lance Canales & the Flood

Deportee

Deportee

In , Lance Canales and his band, the Flood, cov­ered [Sidenote: This is the first post in our cov­er­age of the sev­en­teenth annual Woody Guthrie Folk Festival. We’ll be alter­nat­ing our report­ing with essays and photo gal­leries from the twenty-​second fes­ti­val in , so check in often for a mix of old and new Woodyfest good­ness.] Woody Guthrie’s song “Refugee.” Guthrie wrote the song shortly after the plane wreck at Los Gatos, California, which killed the cabin crew and twenty-​eight Mexican nation­als. Some of the Hispanic vic­tims were return­ing home fol­low­ing the ter­mi­na­tion of bracero con­tracts. [Sidenote: The Bracero pro­gram (from the Spanish term bracero, mean­ing man­ual laborer or one who works using his arms) was a series of labor laws and diplo­matic agree­ments between the United States and Mexico.] Others were being deported for being undoc­u­mented. While the now famous song brought inter­na­tional atten­tion to the inci­dent, the names of the dead remained largely unknown to the American pub­lic. The mod­est marker at the gravesite said only, 28 MEXICAN CITIZENS WHO DIED IN AN AIRPLANE ACCIDENT NEAR COALINGA, CALIFORNIA ON R.I.P.

Canales first per­formed “Refugee” at the Steinbeck Festival. [Sidenote: Artist bio, ReverbNation.] Woody’s orig­i­nal laments the anonymity of the Hispanic vic­tims. In his cover, Canales names each of the vic­tims. This con­trasts with con­tem­po­rary news­pa­per arti­cles, which sim­ply labeled them depor­tees. [Sidenote: The only named vic­tims in most con­tem­po­rary report­ing were the cabin crew and an immi­gra­tion offi­cial.] Soon after he began per­form­ing the song, he learned that the grave con­tain­ing these lost souls was in Fresno, California, not far from his cur­rent home.

Say Their Names

By Canales was orga­niz­ing a fundrais­ing con­cert with poet Tim Z. Hernandez, Nora Guthrie (Woody’s daugh­ter), and the Guthrie Foundation. The con­cert raised $10,000 for a mon­u­ment fea­tur­ing the Los Gatos vic­tims’ names. The marker was later placed at the gravesite. The names them­selves were dis­cov­ered through Hernandez’s curios­ity and ded­i­ca­tion. [Sidenote: Diana Marcum, Passengers on Doomed 1948 Flight, Their Names Now Emerge from Shadows,”, Los Angeles Times ().]

In , Hernandez joined Lance Canales and the Flood to open the annual Woody Guthrie Folk Festival. While the band riffed on an instru­men­tal break from “Refugee,” Hernandez recited the names of the twenty-​eight. They are:

  • Miguel Negrete Álvarez
  • Tomás Aviña de Gracia
  • Francisco Llamas Durán
  • Santiago García Elizondo
  • Rosalio Padilla Estrada
  • Tomás Padilla Márquez
  • Bernabé López Garcia
  • Salvador Sandoval Hernández
  • Severo Medina Lára
  • Elías Trujillo Macias
  • José Rodriguez Macias
  • Luis López Medina
  • Manuel Calderón Merino
  • Luis Cuevas Miranda
  • Martin Razo Navarro
  • Ignacio Pérez Navarro
  • Román Ochoa Ochoa
  • Ramón Paredes Gonzalez
  • Guadalupe Ramírez Lára
  • Apolonio Ramírez Placencia
  • Alberto Carlos Raygoza
  • Guadalupe Hernández Rodríguez
  • Maria Santana Rodríguez
  • Juan Valenzuela Ruiz
  • Wenceslao Flores Ruiz
  • José Valdívia Sánchez
  • Jesús Meza Santos
  • Baldomero Marcas Torres

Gallery

Gallery

My favorite new Woodyfest per­former in was also my first to see: Lance Canales and the Flood. Canales sings of work­ing life and hard­ship, sub­jects he knows all too well: he grew up working-​class and for years was forced to take his lumps in order to help his fam­ily make ends meet. [Sidenote: Artist bio, ReverbNation.]

Impossible to take one’s eyes off of, Canales com­manded the stage. His grav­elly vocals and pound­ing accom­pa­ni­ment chased away all early-​morning fatigue. He’s been back twice, in and . If we are all lucky, he will return.

About Chris J. Zähller

International Man of Mystery. Cocktail Nerd. Occasionally designs websites. Sometimes snaps a picture or two.

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