About Rumbo a California

Psychedelic rock. The Bakersfield Sound. West Coast Jazz. California’s music is America’s music, and the Golden State has produced some of our country’s most iconic sounds. But California’s music is also Mexican music.

Just as the state has been an incubator for rock, country, and jazz, California has also been a major center of Mexican music and the wider Spanish-language recording industry since the early 1900s. Rumbo a California tells the story of the people, the labels, and the songs that made Mexican and Mexican American music such a vital part of California culture in the twentieth century.

In this exhibit, we’ll meet radio announcers, label operators, and nightclub owners.

We’ll hear






We’ll travel from sun-beatenfarm camps in the Central Valley, where corridos drift nightly fromtransistor radios to the bright lights of Lalo’s Nightclub in East LA, where the boleros and rumbas are mixed with big band swing.

Through it all, we’ll see how the music has moved across the generations to reflect both the enduring traditions and restless creativity of the Golden State’s Mexican American community.