Arriba, Arriba! Feliz Dia de San Patricio! What? You didn’t know Ireland and Mexico are practically compadres when it comes to nations? Apparently a group of Irishmen living in the United States dared to fight alongside Mexican troops during the Mexican-American War of 1846–48.
Ireland’s legendary Chieftains, a group that’s been making music since 1962, and the equally legendary singer and composer Ry Cooder celebrate this alliance (and its many unsung heroes) through the album San Patricio (Blackrock Records). A veritable musical fusion, the record includes special guests like Linda Ronstadt, Lila Downs, Los Tigres del Norte, Los Cenzontles and 92-year-old icon Chavela Vargas.
“This project started 25 years ago when I started to think about the possibility of making an album about the War of Succession but the San Patricio Battalion got in the way,” said Chieftains frontman Paddy Maloney in an interview with Efe. “It’s an untold story that hasn’t been written in books, and I thought it was important to share it.”
He does just that in songs like “Lullaby for the Dead” and “March to Battle,” which seamlessly combine Irish instrumentation with Mexican folklore. Now if only we had a little green tequila to raise our glass to the brave troops that stood by Mexico.