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Ned Sublette Collection of New Mexico Country Western and Hispanic Folk Music

Identifier: MSS-831-BC

Scope and Content

The Ned Sublette collection consists of eight reel to reel tapes, which have been reformatted to eight CDs. He taped three reels of cowboy country western folk dance music in Portales, New Mexico in August 1977 at the home of William Vance. Assisting him in the recordings were Charlemaud Curtis, of the UNM Fine Arts Library and Luis Gallegos. Sublette joined in the songs at Portales and is playing his guitar in these recordings. Four other reels were recorded during a Hispanic church fiesta and the eighth one at a Catholic Mass at the Santa Rosa de Lima parish church – both in Santa Rosa, New Mexico. The country songs portray the music played and heard in Anglo American towns across New Mexico. The Santa Rosa fiesta and church service represent the rich musical traditions of Hispanic New Mexico.

This collection forms a part of the John Donald Robb Archive of Southwestern Music.


  • 1977

Language of Materials

English Spanish

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Copy Restrictions

Copyright retained by the performers and composers. Limited duplication of print and photographic material is allowed for research purposes. Duplication of recordings permitted only with written permission from artist, performer, interviewer and interviewee, tribal authority, or current holder of intellectual property rights. User is responsible for compliance with all copyright, privacy, and libel laws.

Biography / History

Ned Sublette is a well-known guitarist, singer, bandleader, performer, musicologist, composer, record producer, author and photographer. Born Pleas Edward Sublette in Lubbock, Texas, in 1951, he grew up in Louisiana, Texas and New Mexico, living most of his early childhood in Portales. Sublette learned Spanish classical guitar with Hector Garcia at the University of New Mexico and spent several summers studying with Emilio Pujol in Spain. He got his B.A. in Classical Music from UNM in 1972. He worked as a student assistant in the UNM Fine Arts Department. On a volunteer basis, he compiled for the library an index called "A Discography of Hispanic Music in the Fine Arts Library of the University of New Mexico," published in Sources, Volume 1, April 1973, by UNM. After leaving UNM, he studied music composition with Kenneth Gaburo at the University of California, San Diego. He also composed an unaccompanied vocal and choral quartet piece, in Xhosa, Catalan, and English, entitled "Embarussaments: For Four Speaking Voices," in 1974, published in La Jolla, CA by Lingua Press, ca. 1977. With funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, Ned Sublette organized and directed two Radio Performance Projects and a Radio Production Workshop at KUNM-FM in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He did musicology field work in New Mexico and recorded the songs in this collection for the Archive of Southwestern Music at the UNM Fine Arts Library in August 1977.

Sublette moved to New York in 1976. In the early 1980s he organized his own band, which blended country western music with the Afro-Caribbean rhythms. He went to Cuba in 1990 to study the local music scene and became a leading scholar of Cuban music. He was senior co-producer of the weekly public radio program Afropop Worldwide and led musical-study tours of Cuba in association with the program. He owns and operates the record label Qbadisc, which pioneered the marketing of post-revolutionary Cuban music in the United States and continues to release recordings by artists from Cuba, Puerto Rico, Nigeria and the former Zaire. He has done countless concerts and festival in the U.S. playing his songs and the work of others, and has performed in Europe. One of his albums, "Cowboy Rumba," reached number one on the World Music Charts of Europe in 1999. It combined the Texan country style of his roots with Latin music, as he collaborated with musicians from Cuba, Puerto Rica, the Dominican Republic, and the New York salsa community. He composed an opera, inspired by the life of Simone Weil, that has been performed in Australia. He is also a photographer and many of his photos, especially those from Cuba, have been shown in galleries and published widely. His book on Cuban music, Cuba and Its Music: From the First Drums to the Mambo, was published in 2004. He was a 2005 Guggenheim Fellow. In 2006, Willie Nelson released Sublette's song "Cowboys Are Frequently, Secretly Fond of Each Other," in the wake of the success of the film, Brokeback Mountain. Sublette’s book, The World That Made New Orleans: From Spanish Silver to Congo Square, was published in 2008, followed by The Year Before The Flood: A Story of New Orleans in 2009.


1 box (.2 cu. ft) (8 CDs)


The collection contains country western songs from Portales and music from a Spanish Catholic mass and fiesta in Santa Rosa, New Mexico.

Related Material

Alan Paine Radebaugh Collection of Country Western Music and Interviews, 1965-1996. Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico Juan S. Lucero and Lora L. Chavez Collection of New Mexico Hispanic Religious and Traditional Songs, 1950-2008. Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico Tim Greer Collection of Hispanic Catholic Church Music of New Mexico, 1982. Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico Richard B. Stark Collection of New Mexico Religious Songs, 1950. Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico John Donald Robb Field Recordings. Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico Enrique Lamadrid Collection on Juan B. Rael. 1930-1998. Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico Jenny Wells Vincent Recordings, 1947-2007. Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico James S. Griffith New Mexican Popular Music Collection, 1970-1975. Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico Frank V. Mares and Bruna Valencia Mares "No Hay Cosa Como La Madre" Recording, 1985. Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico Roberto Martinez Collection of New Mexican and Mexican Music, 1979-1994. Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico Florence Hawley Ellis and Donovan Senter Collection of Hispanic, Isleta, and Laguna Songs Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico Peter White Collection of New Mexico Fiddle Music

Separated Material

Original reels and master CDs stored in B3.

Processing Information

Reel to reel tapes converted to CD, December 2009.
Finding Aid of the Ned Sublette Collection of New Mexico Country Western and Hispanic Folk Music, 1977
Edited Full Draft
Nancy Brown Martinez and Andrew Saletta
© 2010
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English
Funding provided by the John Donald Robb Music Trust

Revision Statements

  • Monday, 20210524: Attribute normal is missing or blank.

Repository Details

Part of the UNM Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections Repository

University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections
University Libraries, MSC05 3020
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131