Norwegian Warms to Mariachi

Special guest vocalist for local performances of Nati Cano's Fiesta Navidad is Lynni Treekrem . . . from Norway!

Before you investigate the history of mariachi music, let us explain:

After Treekrem had a hit song about going to Mexico on her first solo recording (for Columbia in 1991), the singer decided she ought to meet some real Mexican musicians. She'd heard a cassette of Nati Cano's Mariachi Los Camperos, and two years ago she flew to Los Angeles to hear them live.

"I fell in love with this music," Treekrem recalled upon her arrival here this week. "We recorded two songs together for my second album. But when I got home to Norway, I realized nothing I could do was going to compare with those two songs. I knew I had to do a whole album with mariachis.

"It was a weird idea, to make Norwegian music with mariachis. My production company was scared. What is that going to sound like? I came back to Los Angeles; we finished the album and mixed it in Denmark. . . . It's one of those things that happens once in a lifetime. You take a chance. It could have been a fiasco."

Treekrem's second compact disc sold 50,000 copies in Norway--population about 4 million--and was followed by a tour of Norway with Los Camperos de Nati Cano. The CD consists mostly of original songs with mariachi accompaniment but also includes a couple of bona fide mariachi songs with lyrics sung in Norwegian.

The recording, "Tusenfryd" (1994), is named for a flower that, according to Treekrem, "makes you feel happy. It was exactly the feeling I had when I finished the album."

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