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Vykki Mende Gray — Profile
Vykki teaches dances at the Peña Adobe Fandango in Vacaville.
Photo by Jerry Bowen
Los Californios® |
Sheet Music |
Music of Early California |
Melquíades Rodríguez |
Kenny Hall |
Mariachi Sherman |
Los Californios® — Historic Secular Music of Mexican-Era California
Photo by Ellen Wallace
Vykki is the artistic director of Los californios®,
a project of San Diego Friends of Old-Time Music (a California non-profit
corporation). This musical ensemble interprets the secular songs and dance
music of nineteenth century (and occasionally eighteenth century) Spanish and
Mexican California. Vykki researches, transcribes, and arranges pieces from
original material for this group’s repertoire. These efforts have resulted
in renewed interest in the genre, on both sides of the border.
Sheet Music Transcriptions of Traditional Music
Vykki has a knack, developed over many years, for
being able to listen to folk music and capture it on paper. She has utilized this
talent in a number of projects, capturing music that has previously been available
only to the lucky few.
Music of Early California — Songs and Dance Tunes
Original transcriptions and arrangements of songs and dance tunes from the 18th
and 19th century Spanish-speaking Californians, many from them from the Edison
wax cylinders recordings made by Charles Fletcher Lummis starting in 1903. Most of
these pieces have not been readily available to a general audience for over a hundred years. Available in
individual volumes, or as the complete collection with overall index. Click on picture, left,
Casa de estudillo — San Diego: Cover painting for completed book.
Painting by L. H. Coyner, pre-1908. Used by permission of owner.
Chapters by informant source
Vykki has begun the process of organizing the transcriptions above by source, creating individual books
that will also be chapters in the completed book. This material is not in addition to the pieces above, but does present
that information in a more organized form. It does not yet include all of the material in the supplements, but some day it
Click on cover images below for more details on each.
Songs from Rancho Camulos
(Coordinating CD also available.)
Item Number: BK-201 CAL $10.00
Songs from the California Traditions
of the Villa Family
Item Number: BK-202 CAL $10.00
Songs from Francisco Amate
Item Number: BK-203 CAL $10.00
Music of the García Family
of Los Angeles
Item Number: BK-204 CAL $10.00
Dance Tunes from
Mexican and Spanish California
Item Number: BK-205 CAL $10.00
Paintings used by permission of owners.
El ciego Melquíades — Sheet Music Transcriptions
The Fiddle Tunes of Melquíades Rodríguez:
This Texas-Mexican fiddler recorded in San Antonio, Texas from 1935 until about 1950. His popular and lively
style fiddle-based dance music was about to succumb to the post World War II trend for louder and flashier sounds.
As the fiddle was replaced by the accordion in Tex-Mex music, these fiddle tunes faded from the popular
scene. Click on cover illustration to the right for more details.
a tejano fiddler of yesterday
Kenny Hall’s Music Book
Old-Time Music for Fiddle and Mandolin
Once again available is one of Vykki’s previous projects in documenting traditional music in California:
the classic Kenny Hall’s Music Book, published by Mel Bay Publications — a collection of California
old-time music and reminiscences from Kenny Hall, acclaimed fiddler, mandolin player,
and California living treasure.
For folk musicians who don’t read music, Kenny’s stories are as compelling as his music.
And a journey through this book takes the reader not only into the often forgotten world of old-time
music in California, but also into Kenny’s experiences growing up and coming of age in the
institutional blind community from the late 1920s through the 1950s — when music was considered
vocational training for blind children. Click on cover illustration to the left for more details.
For more information about Kenny Hall, go to:
Vykki was instrumental in creating the music
program at Sherman Heights Community Center in San Diego. She teaches Mariachi violin
classes for students ranging in age from five years old to adult. Starting January 2009, these classes
have been hosted at Our Lady’s School, 24th and Market Streets, in the neighborhood of Sherman Heights.
ATTENTION: Classes temporarily suspended while Vykki is recovering from a torn tendon in her bow arm.
And Vykki is an artist, too!! Follow this link
to find some examples.
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© Vykki Mende Gray, 2017
All rights reserved.
Web design: Ellen Wallace and Vykki Mende Gray
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