Pachuco boogie was Mexican American dance music that alternated between African American and Afro-Caribbean styles. In the late 1930s young Mexican Americans invented a counterculture that expressed social tensions through attitude, fashion, dance and eclectic musical tastes. Known as pachucos and pachucas, they favored zoot suits and big band swing. In the late 1940s Don Tosti and Lalo Guerrero created Mexican American jump blues, or pachuco boogie, which used swing, boogie woogie and rumba rhythms with lyrics in Spanish and Caló, the pachuco’s hipster language. Pachuco boogie exuberantly transformed the painful “in-between” experience of Mexican American fans; brought together Mexican, Anglo and African American audiences and laid the foundation for Mexican American music.
Image: A young Don Tosti with a stand up bass.