You know that feeling when something seems so familiar to you even though it really isn’t? That’s what Las Jilguerillas have always represented to me. A couple of years ago, probably about 10 or so, I first came across their music. How or when I don’t really recall now, though if I had to guess I’d say Univision and they’re telenovelas probably had something to do with it.
As soon as I heard their voice I was eight or 10 years old again, sitting with my head on my mother’s lap, her esulgando-ing me, running her hands through my hair, gently caressing my face every now and again, and singing those songs in that tender voice of hers that until that very moment I had all but forgotten about. An overwhelming sentiment of melancholy came over me. First at my chest, then in my throat and finally at the corner of my eyes in the form of water. I had to have that CD. There was no question about it.
For days afterwards that was the only music playing in my car. Finally, when I had gotten over getting choked up after almost every song, I finally played the music for my mother. She was kind of amazed. She was confused about how I had even discovered them, even more so about how I remembered that she used to sing me their songs.
Las Jilguerillas, Imelda and Amparo, were farm workers in Michoacan before turning into musicians. The sisters’ repertoire of recorded music and performances spans over five decades. Today, only Amparo continues singing. Imelda, her older sister, passed away in 2004.