Ingrid Esparza

The first time I met my brother Steve's new girlfriend in his backyard several years back, I listened to her subtle, mercurial accent for a while - trying to pin down just what was going on. Her explanation of her accent doubled as an abridged life story - 2 parts Southern, 1 part Cali, with a subtle wash of Spanish in the background. 100% Ingrid. Getting to know Ingrid has been a frequently enlightening encounter with a very different set of references and experiences, both musical and otherwise. Our friendship has reinforced my belief that the most important commonalities are not the ones that can be named (country of birth, language spoken, or even religion), but the more intangible attitude people have towards dealing with the world. An incredibly thoughtful woman, with a deeply entrenched silliness, she is studying to become a (great, I'm sure) teacher. Oh, she's also now an official part of our unofficial family, having married the force of nature I call my brother Steve in 2012. I performed the ceremony. 

"An Autobiography of Sorts"

Leo Dan – Cómo Te Extraño Mi Amor My parents are perhaps the best example of the phrase “opposites attract.” My dad is from northern Mexico, my mom from the South. My dad is an introvert, my mom an extrovert. My dad an early bird, my mom a night owl. They are twelve years apart in age, so their taste in music also differs quite a bit. But, if you’ve ever met them, you can see how they just…fit. When I was a little girl, my dad would often listen to Leo Dan. Whenever I hear this song, I think of him.

Mecano – Ay Que Pesado Unlike my dad’s music selection from the '60s, my mom always listened to what was popular at the time. I remember hearing this song often as a little girl. This was during the early '80s in Mexico City, where I spent most of my childhood.

Flans – No Controles I would bet that 99% of Mexicans my age could sing the lyrics to this song and about 75% of them could do the choreography.


Maná – Rayando el sol I moved to the U.S (East Palo Alto, CA) in the fall of 1989. I didn’t speak a word of English, I didn’t understand the culture, I missed my friends, the food, and everything I knew. Maná helped me get through it all.

Ace of Base – The Sign Although English music is very popular in Mexico (along with Leo Dan, my dad introduced me to The Beatles), when I moved to the U.S. I didn’t want to listen to any music in English. I think music in Spanish was my way to still feel connected to my country. "The Sign," ironically, was the first song in English that I intentionally listened to. I remember buying the tape and rewinding to this song over and over again.

Kid Frost – La Raza This song represents my struggles in trying to define who I was. I was pretty much the only Mexican in my school (besides my brother). Everyone else was Chicano. Steve suggested that I explain the term “Chicano” because he didn’t know what it meant until he met me. In simple terms, a Chicano is a person born in the U.S. to Mexican parents. Someone who mostly speaks English, but associates with the Mexican culture. Most Chicanos (at least the ones at my school) have never been to Mexico and they have never heard of Campeche (the place where I was born). It was an adjustment meeting someone who said they were Mexican, but hardly had anything in common with me.

Los Prisioneros – Por Qué No Se Van By the time I got to high school, I pretty much had accepted that I was “different” and I was OK with it. I started to befriend anyone and everyone that wanted to be friends with me. Karina, a girl who had just moved to the U.S. from Peru, and was going through the same struggles that I had a few years earlier, introduced me to Los Prisioneros.

Puff Daddy & Faith Evans (Featuring 112) – I'll Be Missing You I moved from California the summer before my senior year in high school. I remember sitting on the plane listening to a CD my friends had burnt for me. This song came on as the plane took off.

Caifanes – Afuera I spent half of my senior year of high school in Rogers, AR and the other half in Austin, TX, but the whole year I listened to a lot of Rock en Español (Spanish rock). This has always been one of my favorite songs.

Shakira – Estoy Aquí - Stereo Instead of going to my high school graduation I made the drive from Austin, TX to Dalton, GA with my brother and my mom. It was around this time that I first heard of a Colombian singer/songwriter/acoustic guitar player named Shakira.

Merle Haggard – Momma Tried It was in Dalton that I learned the influence that “old” country music has had on so many other genres. I love how country songs are ballads.

Fernando Delgadillo – Tienes Que Mirar (en vivo) I met one of my best friends, Marisol, my first semester at Harding University in Searcy, AR. She introduced me to Trova and artists like Silvio Rodriguez, Alejandro Filio, and Fernando Delgadillo. This is one of my favorite songs - mostly because of the lyrics. You can google a translation or ask me. I’d be happy to share.

Son Volt – Tear Stained Eye Right after college I moved back to Dalton, GA. During this time I listened to a lot of Indie folk-type music.

Alabama – Dixieland Delight - Single Edit This song reminds me of the time I spent in Chatsworth, GA. I only lived there for about two years, but I got to meet some wonderful people. People work hard, love life, and don’t mind sitting around in someone’s front porch having a good time. I’m definitely not a country girl, but there’s something about the stillness there.

Sonia Leigh – Virginia (feat. Amy Ray) When I first moved to Savannah, GA, I spent a lot of time with my friend Bekah. She introduced me to Sonia Leigh. Bekah and I spent many nights sitting in her backyard talking for hours on end. She is a beautiful soul and was there for me during tough times. She is also the person that introduced me to the love of my life. I owe her.

Maná – Bendita Tu Luz Remember I told you Maná got me through some tough times? It has also been with me through some happy ones. Steve and I danced to this song at our reception party.

Fernando Delgadillo – De la Canción de Protesta (en vivo)Eddie Vedder – Society These two songs represent my sentiments regarding the political climate both here and in Mexico.