The road ends, but the journey continues...

The Buena Vista Social Club, More Cowbell and Cinco de Mayo

I was digging through the More Cowbell Cult Playlist I compiled about 2 years ago looking for the song by The Buena Vista Social Club that featured cowbell. I thought maybe since it’s close to Cinco de Mayo, I’d feature it in a blog post and revive the call to contribute to the expansion of this fun playlist.
I know, I know, Cinco de Mayo isn’t a Cuban holiday…heck, it isn’t an American holiday either, so?
I confess to liking any festival that encompasses dancing, food, family, music, art and community involvement regardless of ethnic origin.

viva la raza

my former fiance was deeply involved in the early days of La Raza

I was first introduced to Cinco de Mayo in the early 1970’s, long before it mainstreamed into American culture.  At the time, I was engaged to a young man who was Chicano*.  We were both students at the University of Colorado, Boulder – then and now a hotbed of education, social activism and well yes, partying…Along with the normal Vietnam protests, we spent a lot of time not buying or eating grapes from Safeway…. !Viva La Raza!

CU student protests in the 1970's, a common occurrence photo by Juan Espinoza

CU student protests in the 1970’s, a common occurrence photo by Juan Espinoza

But I digress.

Here then is De Camino a la Vereda complete with cowbell.
It’s my way of saying: !Viva Cinco de Mayo!

Oh, and, if you have any more songs with cowbell in ‘em, please make mention of them in the comments below.  The latest list can be found here.
*preferred term of choice for this ‘demographic’ at the time as opposed to the larger scale group labeled as ‘Hispanic’.  A nostalgic little tidbit: We enjoyed comparing notes on familia (his) and famiglia (mine) regarding approaches to life and conversing in Spanglish (him) and Italian-ese (me) just to get a rise from anyone who could hear us!


  1. Dei

    Thank you for sharing this. I love this song, and most of the music of the Buena Vista Social Club. The music takes me back to my early days, living in Staten Island. I hope this comment posts. I’ve been trying to comment, but I keep getting an “error” notice. Lol! Love & Peace.

    • laura bruno lilly

      It came through safe and sound and landed here in the comment section just as it should!
      Hope you’re having a great Mom’s Day…keep smiling, lady.

  2. Donna

    I was at my first Cinco de Mayo in Costa Rica. It was wild. While in Seattle, riots broke out with looting and fighting. Rather sad because each year they have the same problems according to the news there.

  3. Anna Scott Graham

    Ah cowbell…. 🙂
    I haven’t seen the term Chicano for quite a while; around here Hispanic is the norm, but in New Mexico a friend hears Latino more often; not sure if it’s regional or…. An intriguing query!
    Have a festive Cinco de Mayo!

    • laura bruno lilly

      Well, to clarify, Chicano was the term of choice back then and represented the birth of the ‘movimiento’…now it seems to be bandied about when more distinction is made between others within the Hispanic community and also when referring to those times….But I agree, Latino is the preferred term in the Southwest now. Interesting factoid to note: when I was in High School, the term Latino/Latina was used to describe the broader group of spanish, italian, and meso/south american ethnic groups….even then Chicano meant more those with deep roots in the history of the Southwest….so I guess I’ve always had an affinity for all of this.

  4. Janis

    Thanks for sharing that song! We saw the Buena Vista Social Club perform in Cuba when we were there just over a year ago. I don’t remember any cow bells specifically, but their music was wonderful. I was in high school in the early 70s, but I too remember boycotting grapes (and I was so happy when it was ok to eat them again).

    • laura bruno lilly

      And so now the grapes in markets are imported from outside the USA and exposed to all the pesticides that have been banned from use by farmers here in the USA…the grape connection just morphs into other areas of concern…
      Keep on dancin’ to the music, Janis!

  5. Andy

    How about the Stones-Honky Tonk Women?

    • laura bruno lilly

      Of course!
      FYI-your comment ended up in my spam file…weird! Lucky you, I retrieved it.

  6. L. Marie

    Me gusta!
    My church celebrated Cinco de Mayo this past Sunday with a lunch of tacos, burritos, etc. Soooo good!
    Unfortunately, I don’t know any songs with a cowbell in them.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Anch’io! (in keeping with the spanglish/italian-ese tradition!)
      BTW-I did a quick edit on your ooops 😉

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