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Interview with Francisco Rangel

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Francisco "Frank" or "Kiko" Rangel was born in 1936 on the West Side of St. Paul, was a member of Guadalupe Parish, attended Lafayette Elementary and Roosevelt Junior High, and graduated from Mechanic Arts High School. He became a musician in 1953 and played for most fiesta celebrations. He works in the microfilm laboratory of the Minnesota Historical Society and leads an orchestra that plays all types of music. SUBJECTS DISCUSSED: Family life on the lower West Side in the 1940s a

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0:53:28

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TRANSCRIPT OF AN ORAL HISTORY vHTH FRANK RANGEL AUGUST 4, INTERVIEvlER :

INTFjRVIS'I~

1975
1·~OOSBRUGGER

GRANT A.

This interview was conducted as part of a series on the Mexican American in Minnesota. Frank Rangel is an accomplished professional musician. Frank, better known as

"Kiko" Rangel has become well known in the Twin Cities IfJetropoli tan area as a band leader. Expert in Mexican rhythms and melodies, Kiko has expanded from Latin Music Specialties to Blues, Swine, veritably all popular forms of music and can deliver something to suit everyone's taste in music. In addition to his profession as a musician, Frank has a successful career working for the Minnesota Historical Society for the past eighteen years. highly productive person from one of st.
P~ul's

He is a

finest families.

This is a transcript of a tape-recording interview edited to aid in clarity and eaee of comprehension for the reader. The original tape recording is available in

the Audio-Visual Library of the Minnesota Historical Society.

INTERVIEW WITH FRANK RANGEL AUGUST 4, 1975 INTERVIEWER: GRANT A. MOOSBRUGGER

Moosbrugger:

This is Grant A. Moosbrugger interviewing Mr. Frank Rangel, at the Minnesota Historical Society, on August 4, 1975, for the Mexican American History Project, which is under the auspices of the Minnesota Historical Society. Do, I have permission to record your whole history, Frank?

Rangel: Moosbrugger:

Yes, you do. Can you start out by briefly summarizing who you are, when you were born, and where? interests? Can you tell us a little bit about some of your particular

Rangel:

My name is Francisco Rangel.

The nickname for Francisco is Cisco, C-i-s-c-o. I got stuck with the nickname of "Kiko", My real name of course is I was born on the There

There is also Paco, Pancho, and Kiko.

so almost everybody I talk to calls me Kiko. "Francisco", in Spanish.

In English it would be "Frank".

West Side, in an apartment on the corner of Fairfield and State Street. were two apartments upstairs. hall.

On the bottom right, on the corner, was a pool

Next to that there was a little beer joint called the "Carioca Bar". We lived directly above the

Then there was a shoe store owned by Ben Mintz. shoe store. Moosbrugger: Rangel: How would
~en

have spelled that? He still has a shop on Concord, if I'm not mistaken. In the other apartment there was a family by I was born January 21, 1936.

That would be M-i-n-t-z.

We lived directly above him. the name of King.

They were a colored family.

-2Ranfel: I was born right in the apartment. people to have a
midwife~de1iver

At that time it was typical for Mexican My mother and dad used

their baby at home.

to tell me that that year, January of 1936, was one of the coldest on record. I think it was something like 30 below, for a stretch of a week or so. We

lived in that apartment until 1952, when we had a fire and lost everything. Moosbrugger: Rangel: You were about 167 Yes, 16. In 1952 we had the fire. The fire started down in the basement of

the bar, a 3-2 bar. 3-2 bar.

Of course, they sold liquor there, so it really wasn't a It spread from Coming out of I

The furnace was overloaded with wood or something. I'll never forget that.

there and ruined the whole apartment.

that fire, some of the kids from next door were coming out barefooted. grabbed one little girl and took her down. while the firemen were fighting the fire.

We went to the next door neighbor's We lost everything. I had just

bought a new instrument and I thought that was gone, but luckily I found it. Everything was O.K. with the instrument, except for a spot of water that was frozen on it. I also had a Tenor Saxophone and an Alto Saxophone.
',)

They were

all full of soot. Moosbrugger: Rangel:

All our clothes, everything, was ruined.

You had an experience being burned out7 Yes. We didn't have insurance to replace any of our belongings. My dad, like

a lot of people, wasn't carrying insurance. insurance, and we were renting.

People didn't know enough about

My dad could have bought a house someplace, He was happy in the apartment. Now to go

but he just didn't really want to.

back to when I was born, I was baptized, of course, at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church. We were living on the West Side. The West Side was just like one

big family.

Everybody knew everyone and anything that happened everybody

-3Rangel: would know right away. know right away. did this. If somebody died in the community, everybody would Everybody The majority

At that time, the wakes were held in the homes.

Funeral homes weren't really for the Mexican people.

would hold the wakes in their homes.

All the families would come and they

would bring food, coffee, things to drink, and all kinds of things for the family whose relative had died. what was going on. Everybody would come. Everybody would know I think Osseo,

I can remember going to the farm to work.

Minnesota was one of the first ones I went to. and worked.

We went out there, and stayed

We would weed the corn, potatoes, melons, and all kinds of other Then when harvest time came, we would pick corn, of course, I would come home on weekends. I

things right on the farm. potatoes, or string beans.

remember the time when I bought a bike. and came back and bought a bike.

I went to the farm, saved some money,

I will never forget that bike, because I It was a Schwinn bike, and at I bought it and I put

had everything on that bike you can think of.

that time it was $70 dollars, which was quite a bit. windguards and reflectors on it. Moosbrugger: Rangel: A knuckle guard? A knuckle guard.

I had a little place for your knuckles.

And little lights within the spokes, red and greeen lights.

I had one big headlight and two other little lights. Moosbrugger: Rangel: Moosbrugger: Rangel: The works? Yes, the works! What year would that have been? That would have been in 1951-52. young. Moosbrugger: Was it a summer job? I was taken to the farm when I was very

-4Rangel: Yes, in the summer they would go out and work in the beet fields. families, in those days, would go out to the farm quite a bit. Mexican

They would

receive contracts for so many acres, I don't know how many acres it would be for, but in that contract there were so many acres you had to harvest in so many months. Moosbrugger: Rangel: You had to care for it while it was growing, plus harvest it? No, I think just harvest it. go to the farm. I think that was the main reason people would

This would take place the last part of August and September.

My dad also worked at the Cudahay Packing House; he worked at the Cudahay Packing House for 25 years or more. two boys. In our family there were six girls and

Actually there were seven girls and three boys, but two passed I wasn't born yet.

away who I didn't get to know. Moosbrugger: Rangel: They died at an early age? Yes, at an early age. born here.

Some of the girls were born in Mexico, and some were My dad got
the~e.
J

My parents came to St. Paul in early 1927, I think.

a job at Cudahay Packing House. That was in Newport.

There were a lot of Mexican people

My dad worked in the Hide Cellar at Cudahay's.

I

remember the West Side as a beautiful place where everybody knew everybody. There were fiestas and weddings. good time. bar. Everybody would get together and have a

In all communities there is some violence, as far as going to the

But the West Side wasn't really a place that you couldn't walk around You could be out there late at night and nothing would happen to

at night. you. Moosbrugger: Rangel:

There was very little violence, except for those that were looking for trouble? Yes, in the bars especially. That's where it would start.

-5Moosbrugger: Rangel: But as for innocent by-stander being done in? No. The only thing that would happen sometimes was when someone else would They would come down just

come in from another area, like the East Side. looking for trouble.

I don't know, there were some people that would come

from the East Side with a ... Moosbrugger: Rangel: Moosbrugger: A rivalry? A rivalry, or something. I don't know.

When you say the people came down from the East Side, would they be typically Mexican American Kids?

Rangel: Moosbrugger: Rangel:

No, there would be some, but more would be American. Anglo kids. What schools did you go to in St. Paul? From there I

The first school I went to was Lafayette; grades one to six.

went to Roosevelt; seventh through nineth, from Roosevelt I went to Mechanic Arts; tenth through twe1veth. Moosbrugger: I graduated from Mechanic Arts. Was starting

Would working in the fields ever interfere with your school? late a big headache for you?

Rangel:

Yes.

There was some late start in school, not much.

But after graduating I In fact, when

didn't go to college or anything like that.

I just got a job.

I graduated I got a job at the Court House working for the Internal Revenue on a temporary basis. A friend of mine was working here at the Historical

Society and he was going to leave so there was going to be an opening at the Society. This goes back to about 1957, I think. So I started in this office

and I have been here ever since. here.

It's going on 18-19 years since I have been

I started in the Library and from the Library I came into the Micro-Film.

In 1964, I came to Micro-Film.

-6Moosbrugger: It was interesting to note that you had a black family living near you, the King family? Rangel: Moosbrugger: Yes. What are your recollections, were black people accepted in the community, and were other nationalities? Rangel: Moosbrugger: Rangel: Well, there were other nationalities. The other nationality groups, did they get along pretty well? Yes. First of all, as many people have told you, this was all a Jewish The Mexican people came at the very end, as far as Then of course they started tearing down the So a lot

community at one time.

Jewish people staying there. flats.

But up to that date, there were still some Jewish people.

of Mexican people got to go to school with the Jewish people.

The Mexican

people would buy from the Jewish people's stores, and the Jewish people would buy and sell Mexican food, and things like that. I know my mother used to

take care of the home, do the grocery shopping, scrub the floors, and clean the house for the Jewish families. A lot of people used to do that. The

black family next to us was the King family. to call him C. J. or something like that.

There was another one, we used

Then along Filmore, it's called There were only four black

"Nagisaki" now, there were one or two families. families on the whole West Side. Moosbrugger: Rangel: Did they get along alright? Yes, they all knew each other.

There were no problems.

There wasn't any

sign of ••• I don't want to say segregation but ••• Moosbrugger: Rangel: Discrimination? Discrimination, yes. None at all. people didn't even think of that in those

-7Rangel: Moosbrugger: Rangel: days. They just talked it over like •.•

Human beings? Everybody knew everybody and they were really nice people and there just weren't any problems, ever. existed. I didn't even know segregation or discrimination

Most of the Jewish people, I can remember, carne back to the West A lot of them moved to Highland. Now of

Side, after they had moved out.

course they are allover Edina and Wayzata. the West Side, I think it was five. Side on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

But they had five city lots on

And they would still corne to the West Saturday was the big day for them. I

can remember when I was small, too, that the Jewish families would called me into their homes. They say, "Can you change this bulb for me?" In their I'd

religion they aren't supposed to touch any type of electricity or bulbs. take it out, or do whatever they wanted and they would give me a dime or a nickel. Moosbrugger: Rangel: Electric bulbs? Yes, electric bulbs. I met a lot of Jewish people.

Like I said, the Jewish

people were no problem, neither were the Blacks or the Indian people. Moosbrugger: Rangel: You people all managed to get along, right? Yes, there were never any feuds, as far as a bunch of Mex·icans getting over towards the Jewish people. I can remember that we used to get a basketball We had to play them. We

team together and this all-Jewish team would corne.

would win sometimes, but the majority of times they would win. corne with their nice uniforms all the time. we had to wear.

They would

We would just corne with whatever

And of course within the game we would get a little rough

now and then, but after the game we wouldn't have it out someplace, or anything

-8-

Rangel:

like that.

It was just within the games trying to get the ball from one

of them, or giving him the elbow or junping up for the ball. Noosbrugger: Rangel: They didn't feel any resentment? No. Now that we are talking about that, I didn't realize at the time but It was just all one big We didn't There

there was never any thought of this resentment. happy family down there on the West Side.

We had Jewish stores.

have any Mexican stores, at least I can't remember any Mexican stores.

was one guy, we use to call him "El Colorado", he was Jewish, but he learned to speak Spanish really well. Moosbrugger: Rangel: "EI Colorado?" "EI Colorado". They use to call him that, because he had a very red complexion. He handles He still has a store.

He still has a store on Oakdale and Sidney, "Manuel's Market". Mexican goods.

I don't know where the Jewish stores got the Mexican goods, but Then Coronado opened the restaurant and they sold a little The only thing started by Mexican people seemed to Not very many, of course "Coronado" was the

a few stores did.

bit of Mexican goods too.

be restaurants in those days. first, I think.

I remember there was another restaurant across the street Directly across from us was a

from our house, I forget what they called it.

beer j oint called the "Tapped Keg", and down a half a block was a bakery called "Kessel" I am sure it was "Kessel's Bakery", and across the street was a store

called "Skonicks", first it was "Garmans".
Moosbruggerl~

Garmans? Garmans, right on Kentucky and State. Clemons? Clemons, he was quite a guy, a real nice guy. I remember we always used to buy Then there was "Clemons ll •

Rangel: Moosbrugger: Rangel:

-9-

Rangel: Moosbrugger:

the "kosher" meat from him. In those &ears that wetre talking about, I know that there were certain civic leaders who played a role in keeping alive the traditions. I know that your

father was one of the leaders who was very active in keeping alive the traditions and making sure that the young people were participating in developing their talents. Could you tell us a little about some of the things your father

worked towards and how he got you involved and how you got involved and stayed involved? Rangel: Well, the musical part of my life. The family was always musical. My mother My dad

would teach songs and dances to the girls. was appointed Mexican Consul for St. Paul. papers, and help them get settled. heart. He didn't get paid for it.

My dad would write plays.

He helped the Immigrants get their

He did it all from the goodness of his He helped everybody. In fact, on the West

Side, there isn't anyone, maybe, that didn't have something to do with him. Because a lot of the people didn't know how to read or write, they would come over to my dad and he would write letters for them, and get answers for them from different parts of Mexico or Texas. They would want help all the time • .' I can remember the people coming to the house every day, and every night I would see somebody come in. somebody would come over. He would come home from work and sure enough He would sit down and talk to them, but they would Then I could see him

always go in one room and always talk to him in there. always typing letters and papers.

My dad was also secretary of the "Anahuac" Anyway, the family

Club, which is a big club and of which we have records. was always musical, as I said.

In fact, as the years went by there was one Because

play my dad put on, it was always referred to as the "Rangel Family".

at the time, I guess, we were really the only ones able to perform song and dance. Three of the girls played the piano, one of them played accordion and

-9Rangel: Moosbrugger: the "Kosher" meat from him. In those wears that wetre talking about, I know that there were certain civic leaders who played a role in keeping alive the traditions. I know that your

father was one of the leaders who was very active in keeping alive the traditions and making sure that the young people were participating in developing their talents. Could you tell us a little about some of the things your father

worked towards and how he got you involved and how you got involved and stayed involved? Rangel: Well, the musical part of my life. The family was always musical. My mother My dad

would teach songs and dances to the girls. was appointed Mexican Consul for St. Paul. papers, and help them get settled. heart. He didn't get paid for it.

My dad would write plays.

He helped the Immigrants get their

He did it all from the goodness of his He helped everybody. In fact, on the West

Side, there isn't anyone, maybe, that didn't have something to do with him. Because a lot of the people didn't know how to read or write, they would come over to my dad and he would write letters for them, and get answers for them from different parts of Mexico or Texas.
Th~y

would want help all the time.

I can remember the people coming to the house every day, and every night I would see somebody come in. somebody would come over. He would come home from work and sure enough He would sit down and talk to them, but they would Then I could see him

always go in one room and always talk to him in there. always typing letters and papers.

My dad was also secretary of the "Anahuac" Anyway, the family

Club, which is a big club and of which we have records. was always musical, as I said.

In fact, as the years went by there was one Because

play my dad put on, it was always referred to as the "Rangel Family".

at the time, I guess, we were really the only ones able to perform song and dance. Three of the girls played the piano, one of them played accordion and

-10Rangel: all of them sang and danced. alsol In fact, I can remember that I used to dance

When I was young I used to dance the Waltz, Tango, and Mexican Hat Dance, I can remember my sister teaching me things to paay on the How I got started going

all folk dances. piano.

We had a couple of pianos in the apartment.

beyond just singing and dancing, and playing the piano, was to get started playing an instrument. My sister Eugenia was the one who started me. I

remember one night she was already playing with some group there on the West Side, I think it was with Nick Castillo, Joe Medina, Henry Velasquez, Paul Castillo, Gregory Molina, and John Hernandez, John Hernandez was the drummer. They had a group called the "Rumbaleros". Moosbrugger: Rangel: Rumbaleros? Rumbaleros. It was under the direction of, I think, Nick. Nick had the group.

Of course, Eugenia, would always get together with them at the house, always singing. We used to have a phonograph. And we made a combination, within this In those days it was a We use to record records At that time

phonograph.

We had a little recorder right in it.

round mike on a stand, and we could record on it. and everything on it.

Songs on the piano, and a lot of guitars.

there were a lot of musicians who came from Mexico. through relatives. playing guitars too. be singing
~or

They would be passing by

They would play guitars and some of the local guys were They would always get together. The girls would always

the fiestas.

When people from outside the West Side wanted We would always go out to

entertainment they would always call the girls.

perform, in different communities, different section, different parts of the city. Anyway, getting back to my sister, she asked me if I wOuld like to learn I didn't really know. So, I

an instrument, and what I would like to learn.

can remember one Saturday, my sister and Augie Garcia, who was playing "Congas" at that time, and Ricahrd Hernandez was playing "Timbales", and Watson was playing "Maracas ll , his name is John Ramirez, but everybody calls him "Watson".

-11Moosbrugger: Rangel: John Ramirez' nickname is Watson? Yes, Watson, that's what they call him. maracas. They were rehearsing. Well, he came over and he was playing

So this guy called "Lalo" brought a sax over. I looked but I didn't

I remember him walking in and taking out the sax. really ••• Moosbrugger: Rangel: Know what to say? I didn't know what it was.

All of a sudden he started playing it.

I was in

the other room listening to the group practice, and I started hearing the saxaphone. Right there I liked the sound and the way it looked. So the

following week my sister said, "Have you thought of anything that you want to start playing?" I said, "I'd like to start the sax". She said O.K. The I

following Saturday morning we went down to a store called Kestings Music. can remember walking in the stbre.

In a window display they had pictures of I looked at

saxaphone players holding the saxaphone way up above the stars. it said, "Gee, look at that."

I was kind of nervous when I went into the Sure enough they did have With the rental

store, wondering if they would have a saxaphone. "a horn in there.

It was a silver horn, a tenor saxaphone.

of this horn you received six free lessons. taking lessons. Moosbrugger: Rangel:

The following week I started

The instructor's name was "Paul Zelinka".

What year would this have been? I started playing about 1953, I think. I was 16 years old when I started. My sister was a I

took the six free lessons and continued to take some more.

very big help to me at home because she would teach me tunes on the piano, and she would write them out for me. She would actually teach them to me. Just

tell me what note or how the phrase would go. trained. I trained my ear.

By doing that, I actually got

What I mean is to playa tune without looking at

-12Rangel: the music. Just hearing a tune and playing it instantly. I didn't even know this was happening. I like to do that

automatically.

So I continued for

about a year with Zelinka. name of Johnny Kavo~~.

From there I switched to another teacher by the

Normally, in taking an instrument of reeds, it's the Then you switch to a tenor sax or the alto. I worked tenor, then I switched to clarinet with

clarinet that's played first. But I did it the other way. Johnny Kavoirk. Moosbrugger: Rangel: How is Kavorik spelled? Kavorik would be K-a-v-o-r-i-k. different than the other guy. interested in the clarinet.

He taught me to play the sax a little bit He corrected me a little bit. Then I became

Johnny Kavorik played sax, clarinet, and flute, I must have stayed with Johnny all of

so I started taking clarinet lessons. another year.

Within that year I remember one time this friend of mine, that He showed it to me and said, So I grabbed

was also playing sax, came over with a flute. "Look what I've got, a flute."

He said, "Do you want to try it?"

it and I was just trying to get a tune out of it. the flute.

I then became interested in

So when I went to my lesson that Saturday with Johnny and I told He said, "Sure, I can teach you how to play flute if
It was called an Armstrong flute.

him about the flute. you like."

So I bought this flute.

I

started taking flute lessons.

So the total lessons that I had with sax, Those are

clarinet, and flute, might run into two or two and a half years. all the lessons I

. had.

I didn't go to any music school, college programs, I just took lessons from Zelinka and Whenever I would hear

or anything like that with music. Kavotik.

All of a sudden, I just started playing.

that a band was coming to town, from out of town, I would go to listen to them.

My sister kept teaching me songs.

One day she called this one guy She invited him

who had a band, Joe Medina.

He was in need of an alto sax.

-13Rangel: to our house. She had already been playing with another group, but then

Joe Medina started getting another group and he came over to listen to me. If I can remember, I played a couple of songs for him, he was just listening. I didn't really get nervous, I just played. He liked the way I played, so There were three saxaphones, This goes back before

before I knew it I was rehearsing with his bana.

two trumpets, one drum, one guitar, bass, and one piano. I went to Johnny Kavorik. I was doing this.

This was only a matter of two or three months, when

I started playing and I knew what I was doing, but not

really to the fullness of knowing all the different types of beats, and rests within the music that was written. He was using actual charts, not printed. The part that he had

So what I did was to depend on him by listening to him. and my part were the same, but only in harmony. through it.

So I would follow him to get I was 16 years old when

Before I knew it, I joined the Union.

I joined the Union.

This was after three or four months that I had been playing. I can remember my first job. It was

Three of us joined the Union together.

with Joe Medina in a group he called "The Joe Medina Band". nervous because that was my first dance.

I was kind of He brought

It was a Mexican Dance.

out the charts and then he brought out another folder and he said, "These are some new tunes I just wrote, so we'll do them tonight." I had never seen them

before, so I really got nervous because he brought some new things right in front of me. Well, I got through the night. And I was O.K. I kept studying.

All of a sudden he broke up the group. was the leader, got a group together.

Then my sister and I, well, my sister We called it "Las Siete Notas."

Moosbrugger: Rangel:

What sister was this? Eugenia. She lives in California now, but up to the time she left she was Then all of a sudden Joe Medina came back with a

still playing the piano.

big band, a big 12 piece band, and asked me if I wanted to play with his band. So, then I played some jobs with him. We still had our group, my

-14Rangel: sister's group. over the group. weddings. Moosbrugger: Rangel: So this would have been in the late 50's? Yes, '55, '56, '57, '58, and a little bit of 1959 maybe. Then what I did was Then she got married and she left for California, so I took We were playing all Mexican dances mostly, and Mexican

I actually got out of playing for the Mexican dances because I started to venture into new types of music, new to me. music. By this I mean I went into American

I remember one Saturday the drummer brought over this colored fellow. He played the piano until we started rehearing at

He played a lot of blues. the house.

I was listening to him and I kind of fell into it and actually I didn't know what I was doing, but I felt it and it

started to improvise. sounded alright.

I would kind of go by the phrasing that he did and I just All of a sudden, I started playing some jobs with him,

learned how to do that. some American music. with Symphony Sid". Moosbrugger: Rangel: Which one?

At that time popular tunes were, "Blue Moon", and "Jumping

"Jump.trugr: with Symphony Sid".

That was a blues line that was popular.

Another It

one that was pretty popular at that time was "Moodies Mood for Love".

actually was a version taken from "n:; 'm in the Mood for Love", but a whole new version. Moosbrugger: Rangel: A whole new rendition? Yes, a rendition or improvise on it. popular like, "Red Top". the group though. Moosbrugger: "Las Siete Notas?" There were a lot of others that were I still had

So I learned how to play some tunes.

-15Rangel: "Las Siete Nota.s". Thon we broke up the group and I got a big gr,oup together. four saxaphones; two trumpets; piano, bass, drums, All three of them

A big 12-15 piece group: guitars.

I started to build a library around my sisters.

were singing in a group, then Eugenia left, so I had two; I had Mary and Geneve. I bought a complete library of their music. I brought music just for them. group like that. Moosbrugger: Rangel: Moosbrugger: Rangel: What name did you go by then? Under "Kiko Rangel", that's when I changed it. That would have been the early 1960's? Early '60's yes. first year. Moosbrugger: Rangel: You were doing some radio work by then? No, we were doing mostly just IIfiestas". and some dances. We would be called to some weddings It goes int~ the early '60's, from, oh, 1959 I think was the We would play in a big group, and

It was very nice, really nice, having a big

At that time it was very hard to book the 15 or 12 piece

group because it was a lot of money in those days to pay for all the musicians. I let that go and then I got into the smaller group. album. In 1959, I recorded one I still have We catered

One side was Greek and the other side was Latin-American. We also recorded other Latin-American tunes.

the album at home.

more to Latin music than Mexican music on the album. stretching out to different types of music. music. I played blues at the time.

Then I just continued on

I ended up, of course, with Mexican We started I used

We used to playa lot of Jazz.

doing a light Jazz thing.

I also got involved in playing "Greek" music.

to travel allover Minnesota, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, and North Dakota; mostly Iowa, there are a lot of Greek people in Iowa, doing Greek weddings. Greek

-16Rangel: weddings were very hard, very different. of groups. played with. Then I started playing with all kinds Groups that I had never So, actually

Different groups; some colored groups.

I just fell in with them because I knew the music.

I started getting away a little bit from playing the Mexican music, the Mexican dances. Only for the reason that the more I worked, the more work I got. At

first it was like a hobby, but, all of a sudden the money part just took over and now I depend on it. That's what happens. Then I got into a "Calypso"

group, they also played folk music. by the name of Paul.

I recorded two albums with this gentleman Then I re-

We recorded two albums with sax and flute.

corded a couple of 45's. the Radisson South.

I did another recording with "Los Valentino's" from I just finished doing an This belly

They are appearing there now.

album of "Lebanese" music, which is really "Syrian" not Lebanese". dan'cer wanted a record for her studio. out now, I have a copy at home. of more "Lebanese" music. So, we did a recording.

The record is

Just last week, we were doing another recording

This tape was sent to New York and the guy liked it.

So, he's going to print a record and this record is going to go nationwide. Moosbrugger: Rangel: Moosbrugger: Rangel: This is a publisher? Yes, an international publisher. He is going to promote it internationally? Internationally. special price. Now you go to the stores and you see all these records at a You've never heard of the people, but, yet you buy the records. They are going to put the record into something like that

This is what I mean.

and it is going to go international. Moosbrugger: Promotion? Promotion. I have done recordings, but I have not yet done anything for our

Rangel:

-17Rangel: group. One of these days I am going to make a record. Not really an album,

I would just like to have a tape and a record made for myself and for the group. Just to remember. You know, as I get old to remember back to the days Just to have it.

when I use to play, or something like that. Moosbrugger: Rangel: A keepsake? Yes, a keepsake.

That is what I would like to have.

I still get calls to play

for Mexican weddings and other Mexican doings.

My work now with the Mexican The reason is that Nowdays

people is not as much as before, but I still get called.

the music I play, I can change if I want to, not always play one type.

girls are marrying American boys or the Mexican boys are marrying American girls. So they want music on both sides. They want Mexican music and American music. There are other groups, there are They

So this is where I come in and they call me.

good groups around here, Mexican groups, but they only play Mexican music. can't play anything else.

I'm just saying that there are both sides to the music.

There are a lot of good American groups, but they don't play Mexican music. Moosbrugger: Rangel: Yes, they don't know how to do both. So the music that I'm doing now is American music, Latin-American, and Mexican music. Moosbrugger: What are some of the different basic types, for instance the Basanova, the Cha Cha? Rangel O.K. I can break that down. Mexican music is: Ranchera, Bolero, (Bolero-Ranchera)

is what they call it, Wuapango (which is a rhythm like the Mexican Hat Dance) the first part of it, and the Valz, you know Waltz, and that is pretty much the

-18Rangel: Mexican music. Of course, there are other rhythms, but they're not for dancing. The Bolero, Cha Cha, Mambo, Samba, Basanova, Tango, The American

The Latin-American music is: Marenge, and Cumbia. music:

That pretty well covers the Latin music.

Fox Trot, Waltz, and Swing, they would call it.

You call the type of

music that you want, if I can do it, why I will do it, if I don't know it, I'll try to learn it. We play fbr a lot of the studio dance groups and there you

have to play all types of rhythms because they learn these through their teachers, and then they go out to dance. Friday, for Fred Astaire. parties. We have been playing parties right now, every

We have been playing all or most of the Arthur Murray The

So my music really stretches out to two different varieties.

bookings that I have now will run through October. four times a week. culture lesson. That is just right.

These fall two, three, and

Plus sometimes I study things in some

But the music part I kind of stretched more than usual, because

I think you can master any type of music, not really master it but have an idea, if you are musical you can do all this. to conquer, if you can conquer it. Moosbrugger: Rangel: Have some skills? Yes, skills with different music, not just stay within one type. As far as I think it is a challenge •. It is nice

styles go, I just keep the same style that I've had for the Mexican music. Right now what's very popular around here, is the Texas style music which has a slower beat, and gives more emphasis on the up-beat, just so you can feel it. I still stick to folk type. but the tunes are that type. need for it. The Mariachi type music, I don't have the sound, I haven't changed, because I don't really see any It's been going o.k., so I just

I don't want to change my style.

leave it as it is.

We get a lot of programs and the family is still very active. We

My sisters sing at the dances, and they sing and I play the flute at church.

still get calls for a lot of programs, and we put on showS for Mexican music and Mexican dances. So, we are still pretty active, involved in things.

-19Moosbrugger: Rangel: We didn't cover your family life. Are you married? Do you have any children? My wife had been married Three are

Yes, I am married and I have four children of my own.

before and had four children, so we have a total of eight children. now married. In all, we have four boys and four girls. That would be July 3, 1962.

I was 26 years old

when I got married.

I also have my wife involved

now, she sings with the group. the group.

I have my sister Geneve, who also sings with

My sister, Mary, used to sing with us, but now she's involved quite The family also goes into quite a variety of

a bit in teaching folk dancing. music.

Toward Christmas my dad and mother would teach the songs to the kids We would put on a

and possibly we would teach it to the other children. "Posada" at Christmas time. write a play, or perform. passion play. young.

There was always something to do, put on a dance, We all did a passion play one time, a full complete I remember doing-it when I was

It was really, really beautiful.

I had the lead part in one of them, and there was music involved always. After all those years going back, we still I hope we can keep it up,

To this day there is still music.

get calls to play and we are still involved in that. because it is really beautiful. Moosbrugger: Rangel:

It adds a lot to your life, a lot of richness doesn't it? Yes, very much so. The way that the Mexican community or the Mexican people

can go out and perform to the American people to show them that we have talent. To show them that we are not just the Mexican people, we are doing something, keeping our culture and performing and doing a good job, having a good home, and trying to bring up the name of the Mexican people, wherever they are. trying to make a good impression on everybody. Moosbrugger: Rangel: Show where you are ••
~

Just

Show that the Mexican people are not just here, they are here and involved.

-20Moosbrugger: Do you do anything, you and your wife, to keep this heritage alive for your own children? Rangel: The customs?

The majority of the children of my sisters' and my brother are still kept within the family. involved. I used to have mine involved, not much now, but I will get them My nephews and nieces have kept within the family the dances up. It is smaller

My sister Juanita is another one that also has a dance group. and younger, but still she is in charge of it. now the nieces' children will be taught.

It's kept up through the nieces,

Some generations to come will still

have the Rangel name, and the family will continue the same heritage and tradition. Moosbrugger: Rangel: Carrying on the tradition? Yes, the dances, and song. My niece, Becky Moran, is in Mexico right now. She

is actually taking lessons from "Amelia", of the Ballet Folklorico, which is really nice. back. I hope, I am sure, that Becky will continue here, when she gets I'm sure that she'll get together with

She will have a lot of new ideas.

my sister Mary. Moosbrugger: Rangel:

Between both of them, I'm sure they'll work it out.

Continue on with the program. I'm pretty proud of that. Mary did a beautiful job with those kids. All my

nephews and nieces were in dancing, plus a lot of other friends. interested can learn the dances. We have a lot of kids.

Whoever is

When they perform

they do a beautiful job, a very professional job, they are amateurs, but they to a professional job. They really study, they really get the stuff down. I

was really very impressed. Moosbrugger: Is there anything you would like to leave for the future, any advice for your children or their children's children?

-21Rangel: Well, I would like to see the traditional dancing continue on, still let the American people know that we are keeping our customs and traditions, that there's still song and dance left
aroun~,

that we're not all just going to be

business like, or keep to ourselves. Moosbrugger: Rangel: Not all work and no play?

Spread out the word that we're not just •.•

Yes, let us also enjoy life, with song and dance like the others; like the Germans, Swedish, and Polish, they all left traditions with their generations. Especially the music. will continue on. They kept within their generation, and I'm sure that it

I would like to see the younger people get invoved in music.

Most of the stretcher instruments though, like p1ano players, trumpets, violins, things like that. Moosbrugger: Rangel: There is a need for more musicians? There are a lot of kids taking up instruments and that I'm glad to see. that it will continue on. I hope

They will always have some type of Mexican group Professional or amateur,

down here that we can rely on to show what we have. but there will be one.

A lot of those other stories I can go back to, but I

think this will give you a general idea of our background. Moosbrugger: Rangel: Well, thank you very much for the interview, Kiko. You're welcome.