“Viva Tirado” Brings Together Decades of Black and Brown Love

From a Gerald Wilson original, to a Kid Frost sample, this song spans cultures and generations.

By Jamilah King Dec 14, 2010

Recently journalist and scholar Oliver Wang brought us the story of "Viva Tirado," a song that’s linked several lives over nearly six decades in Los Angeles’s black and brown communities. As Wang explains:

"Viva Tirado" is at the center of a rather remarkable, multi-generational conversation between L.A.’s Black and Brown communities. After all, here’s a song, originally written by a Black composer in honor of a Mexican bullfighter, covered by a Chicano band steeped in Black R&B and jazz, then sampled by the first major Chicano rap artist. It seems no matter where the song goes, it’s always a bridge between cultures; this becomes even more true once "Viva Tirado" goes international and falls into the hands of everyone from Augustus Pablo to Nico Gomez to Los Mozambiques.

Now the song’s gone global, and is an often overlooked testament to Of course, there’s a lot more to the story (along with a handy mix), which Wang outlines in a recent paper in the Journal for Popular Music Studies. But it’s a nice departure from the often sensationalized tales of violence we usually hear about L.A.’s black and brown communities. 

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