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.

The Leaders

By 1914, American record companies were discovering the fruits of Mexican immigration. Realizing they did not have to send expensive equipment into Mexico, companies were soon recording a whole host of regional singers and musicians right here in the United States.

The Labels

When the major label recording industry came to a halt due to World War II, small and independent record labels began to fill the void.

The Songs

The songs that the first stars of Mexican music in California sang were diverse in style and substance, and included boleros, rancheras, and above all corridos.

The Music

As a deeply multicultural city, Los Angeles brought Mexican artists and audiences into contact with other subcultures.

Keepers of the Flame

With so much musical history crammed into such a short amount of time, it is perhaps no wonder that California has nurtured so many world-class musical talents since the 1960s.


For more than a century, music, dance, car culture, and clothing styles have brought the state’s Mexican Americans, African Americans, whites, and Asian Americans together and inspired new forms of expression.


Find out more about the music in our collection and the partners that share our appreciation for music.


We are grateful to all who helped us share this rich musical history of California at the Arhoolie Foundation Frontera Collection.