Posted By P & L Blog

San Patricio cd

San Patricio, a new CD from Ry Cooder and the Chieftains, tells the story of the San Patricios, a group of Irish soldiers who deserted the US army in 1846 during the Mexican-American war. The majority of the soldiers were recent immigrants who left Ireland during the potato famine and were not yet American citizens.

There are several theories as to why they decided to fight with the Mexicans.  Some historians speculate that  as immigrants they had been treated badly by their superiors inn the American army, while others believe that they felt more of an affinity with their fellow Catholics.  After the US won the war, the Irish soldiers who were caught were treated as traitors and many were executed.

The San Patricios are considered heroes in Mexico.  In 2004 the Mexican government presented a statue commemorating their bravery to the Irish government. It can be found in Clifden, Galway, the birthplace of John Riley, the battalion's leader, and my maternal grandmother, Margaret Connolly.

San Patricio combines traditional Irish and Mexican folk music, and includes performances by Linda Ronstadt, Lila Downs, Chavela Vargas, and narration by Liam Neeson. It has been called "stunning, and not to be missed." You can listen to selections from the CD here.

Erin go bragh!

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