Bringing The World Home To You

© 2023 WUNC North Carolina Public Radio
120 Friday Center Dr
Chapel Hill, NC 27517
919.445.9150 | 800.962.9862
91.5 Chapel Hill 88.9 Manteo 90.9 Rocky Mount 91.1 Welcome 91.9 Fayetteville 90.5 Buxton 94.1 Lumberton 99.9 Southern Pines
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

First Listen: The Chieftains Featuring Ry Cooder

Ry Cooder has a restless ear. Throughout his four-decade musical career, he's explored the music of Mexico, Africa, Hawaii and Cuba — even Tuvan throat singers — not to mention various strains of roots music in the U.S.

His latest recording project is a cultural mashup of Mexican and Irish music called San Patricio. The album is performed by the Irish music icons in The Chieftains, along with Cooder and a handful of celebrated Mexican musicians.

Like other Cooder projects, San Patricio tells a story: A group of downtrodden Irish-immigrant soldiers deserted the U.S. Army in 1846 to fight for the Mexican Army in the Mexican-American War (1846-48). As you'll hear, the result pays heartfelt tribute to the soldiers of San Patricio (Spanish for St. Patrick), in the form of the Mexican music they might have heard during breaks on the battlefield, as well as Irish songs from their homeland.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit

Felix Contreras is co-creator and host of Alt.Latino, NPR's pioneering radio show and podcast celebrating Latin music and culture since 2010.
More Stories