Borderline Latin: The White Stripes, Conquista

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Borderline Latin is an exploration of the influence of Latin music in styles, places and rhythms beyond its traditional borders, and of different types of cross-pollination between Latin music and other musical creatures. Each week, we will feature a song or musical style whose rhythm, themes, melodic inflections or influences have earned it the name of Borderline Latin.

The White Stripes came and went. They left behind six studio albums, and several singles and music videos. There’s also Jack White’s solo career, which he has finally decided to embark after going through a series of bands such as The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather. As fans of the band know, he has stated in a series of recent interviews that the Stripes are gone including one in April, where the New York Times calls him the “savviest rock star of our time,” among other things. He has also suggested Meg White is the one who had the final say in the matter.

As some kind of farewell gift, they just released a record comprising their first ever gig as a band, an August 14th, 1997 concert in Detroit. It’s an LP vinyl that was made available to Third Man Records’ Vault subscribers –though you can get it for a few hundred dollars on eBay. It even comes with a 7-inch recording of a previous gig at the same venue.

All of this sounds wonderful, but what’s so borderline Latin about The White Stripes? Well, only the fact that they went ahead and recorded a Spanish version of their 2008 cover of the song “Conquest,” releasing it, obviously, as “Conquista” under the name of Las Rayas Blancas. The single was available in vinyl, and it included an acoustic Mariachi version of the song. They abandoned this desire to conquest the Spanish-speaking world very soon –although arguably, it didn’t help that they stopped performing altogether, due to Meg White’s acute anxiety. I thought the very Spanish (as in, from Spain) “Conquista” version of Las Rayas Blancas was an interesting choice for this week, with la Independencia de México and all. Enjoy this video ironically.

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