Norteño Anthems for Wine Country's Harvest Workers

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Los Tigres Del Norte.

San Jose’s own Los Tigres del Norte have put the immigrant experience into song for over 45 years now. On Sept. 23, they play at the Green Music Center in Sonoma County, where the wine industry is in full-on harvest mode - fueled, as always, by immigrant labor. When I talked to singer Jorge Hernández recently, he told me about driving through wine country one day and stopping to talk to the vineyard workers — resulting in the song “De Paisano a Paisano,” where workers in fields, farms, vineyards, and restaurants break their backs while their bosses live in luxurious mansions.

But… will they play "De Paisano a Paisano" in Sonoma County? That’s anyone’s guess, because they usually play songs by request only. People in the audience write song titles on scraps of paper and pass them up through the crowd to the stage, and when a song’s over, the band picks up one of the crumpled pieces of paper and plays whatever song’s written on it. This goes on for three hours, sometimes four — and that’s a Los Tigres concert. With the large back door of the Green Music Center open to the expansive lawn, expect a family-friendly party. Details here.