What is Your Favorite Immigrant Song?

This semester I am teaching a course in American immigration history. One of the things I like to do at the start of every class is play an immigrant song. I play everything from Seeger to Guthrie to Diamond to Springsteen to Zeppelin to Genesis. I play Irish immigrant songs and a lot of American folk music.

I am trying to build my immigrant song library. Which songs would you suggest I play for my class this semester?

BTW: We are starting things off tomorrow afternoon with Springsteen, “Land of Hopes and Dreams.”

11 thoughts on “What is Your Favorite Immigrant Song?

  1. OK how about satire. Cheech and Chong's “Born in East L.A.” Anyhow I have a link to Les Blank, and Chris Strachwitzhere 1976 documentary “Chulas Fronteras” which documents the culture of Conjunto music in S. Texas. About 2:50 into this video you will See Flaco Jimenez play his classic song “La Nueva Zenaida” This cancion is both humorous and describes the real struggles and follies of an illegal immigrant as well as serves as a moral tale or warning “watch those gringos, they'll get you.”
    What's also relevant about this clip is that these are not Mexican musical influences, but are in the tradition of Czech and German polkas that were shared with the Mexicans and Tejanos as Catholic Germans and Czechs settled in Mexico while other Czechs and German of more commercial or ideal interest settled South and Central Texas and employed the Mexican as ranch hand, farmhand, and carter.
    “Los inmigrantes Alemanes, Austriacos, Húngaros , Checoslovakos, y Polacos en Texas y el norte de México, eran todos partes del Imperio Mexicano, pero la nación fue dividida en 1848.
    En ambos lados del río bravo, la influencia musical de la Polka se refleja en la música norteña que abarca muchos géneros, incluyendo el Tejano”-(Youtube comment)


Comments are closed.