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Vykki Mende Gray — Profile

Vykki teaches dances at Peña Adobe Fandango

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 | Artist

Los Californios® — Historic Secular Music of Mexican-Era California

Vykki with fiddle

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

Music of Early California 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

Comprehensive Supplements — Volumes 1 through 10

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, for details.

Casa de estudillo

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 will.

Click on cover images below for more details on each.

Songs from Rancho Camulos

Songs from Rancho Camulos
(Coordinating CD also available.)

Item Number: BK-201 CAL      $10.00

  Songs from the California Traditions of the Villa Family

Songs from the California Traditions
of the Villa Family

Item Number: BK-202 CAL      $10.00

  Songs from Francisco Amate

Songs from Francisco Amate

Item Number: BK-203 CAL      $10.00

Music of the García Family of Los Angeles

Music of the García Family
of Los Angeles

Item Number: BK-204 CAL      $10.00

  Dance Tunes from Mexican and Spanish California

Dance Tunes from
Mexican and Spanish California

Item Number: BK-205 CAL      $10.00

Paintings used by permission of owners.

Book cover illustration

El ciego Melquíades — Sheet Music Transcriptions

The Fiddle Tunes of Melquíades Rodríguez:
a tejano fiddler of yesterday

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.

Kenny Hall's Music Book

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:

Beware of Dog

Mariachi Sherman
ATTENTION: Classes temporarily suspended while Vykki is recovering from a torn tendon in her bow arm.

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.


And Vykki is an artist, too!! Follow this link to find some examples.


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a California non-profit corporation.

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© Vykki Mende Gray, 2017
All rights reserved.

Web design: Ellen Wallace and Vykki Mende Gray
All rights reserved.


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