Border Music Part Of Growing Crossover Movement

Aug 7, 2013

Each generation seems to have its own style of popular music –that is probably the idea. Lately though, genres of music are being blended that never have been before.

“There’s this incredible crossover between the genres…”

KRWG News sat down with professor of music at NMSU, Jim Shearer. We’re next to the shelves of CD’s he has neatly stacked in his office.

“One of the things that fascinates me these days is we have access to everything all the time.”

Between iTunes and Pandora and other websites, new music is always a click away…but that doesn’t mean we’re clicking…or listening.

“Bill Cosby always said this music requires more than self indulgence…we don’t seem to always get that here and I don’t know why.”

Shearer teaches hundreds of students intro to music every year…and every year, he tries to show students there’s more to listen to.

Lila Downs is a favorite. She is rooted in Latin America and the border region. She came to NMSU’s former cultural series, but isn’t well known even in the Southwest. Just across the border, though, her concerts routinely sell out.

Perla Batalla is another talented Latina musician who hasn’t quite made it into the mainstream.

So, what is about mainstream music that makes it…mainstream?

Shearer says a strong beat for one. And he talks auto-tune.

“Black eyed peas…phenomenally talented musicians…lady gaga does that all the time...can she sing? Can she not sing? You know, it’s hard to tell sometimes.”

There is one popular musician in our region – Juan Gabriel. He lives in Juarez even though he’s known around the world, especially the Spanish-speaking world.

Shearer says he knows Gabriel’s audience and knows how to connect with them…live on the stage.

He also says that’s one thing artists need to do, no matter how well they can put an album together in the studio.

“I think the truly gifted artist will always be that. That ability to…play a piano…sing a song and tell a story will always be a singular gift.”