Lone Piñon is an acoustic conjunto from Northern New Mexico whose music celebrates the integrity of their region's cultural roots. Multi-instrumentalists Noah Martinez and Jordan Wax use the fiddle, bajo quinto, accordion, quinta huapanguera, mandolin, guitars, and bilingual vocals to play a rich spectrum of the traditional music that is at home in New Mexico.
The Norte has long been a crossroads of cultures, and centuries of intersecting histories, trade routes, migrations, and cultural movements have endowed the region with an expansive and rich musical heritage. After centuries of continuity, today the sounds of the old strands of New Mexican traditional music have become very scarce in their home territory: a casualty, in part, of the cultural disruption of New Mexico’s rapid and at times forced integration into the American economic and cultural environment. But testaments and bridges to this older world have remained in recordings and, most importantly, in the living memory of elders. The musicians of Lone Piñon were lucky enough to be initiated early in their musical path into the traditions of elder musicians, who instilled in them a respect for continuity and an example of the radicalism, creativity, and cross-cultural solidarity that has always been necessary for musical traditions to adapt and thrive in each generation. In 2014, they started Lone Piñon as a way to explore and strengthen the oldest sounds of traditional New Mexico string music, sounds that had all but disappeared from daily life. Through relationship with elders, study of field recordings, connections to parallel traditional music and dance revitalization movements in the US and Mexico, and hundreds of performances, they have brought the language of New Mexico traditional music and related regional traditions back onto the modern stage, back onto dance floors, and back into the ears of a young generation.
Early on in the process their involvement in New Mexican styles opened up connections to a network of related styles that cross state and national borders. The duo’s active repertoire reflects the complexity of this musical landscape and includes early conjunto accordion/bajo quinto duets, Tohono O'odham fiddle tunes from Arizona, contemporary New Mexican rancheras and canciones norteñas, Tohono O'odham fiddle tunes from Arizona, orquesta tejana, New Mexican and Mexican swing, huapangos huastecos from the Mexican Huasteca region, and several styles of music from Michoacán: son calentano and son planeco from the southern lowlands and son abajeño and pirekuas from the P'urepecha highlands.
Noah Martinez (bajo sexto, quinta huapanguera, vihuela, tololoche, guitarrón) grew up in Los Ranchos de Albuquerque immersed in the music of his community: Onda Chicana, New Mexican rancheras, punk rock, norteño, honky-tonk, Western swing, and the jaranero movement. For 5 years he was the regular bassist for The Knightcappers of Albuquerque's North Valley, where he learned to play ranchera and onda chicana under the guidance of seasoned musicians. He is a descendant of several generations of activists who have worked to protect the agricultural and cultural traditions of Native New Mexicans and he raises sheep and goats on his family's land in the North Valley of Albuquerque.
Jordan Wax (violin, accordions, vocals) grew up in Missouri and was traditionally trained by master Ozark fiddler Fred Stoneking and Central Missouri dance fiddler John White. He worked as bandleader and accordionist for a Jewish dance band for years before his work with Missouri and New Mexican fiddle styles inspired him to travel to Mexico for a 6-month immersion in Mexican huapango fiddling, where he learned from Rolando "El Quecho" Hernandez of Trio Chicontepec, Casimiro Granillo of Trio Chicamole, and a variety of local fiddlers in the Huasteca region of San Luis Potosí. His studies of traditional New Mexico dance music have been guided and inspired in the past years by Tomas Maes (mandolinist of Santa Fe, NM) and Antonia Apodaca (accordionist and guitarist of Rociada, NM). This winter he traveled to Morelia, Michoacan for a few weeks of intensive study with master son calentano violinist Serafin Ibarra Cortez and P'urepecha elder and composer Tata Pedro Dimas.
Since 2016 Martinez and Wax have been collaborating with Leticia Gonzales (violin, mandolin, percussion, dance instruction) of Santa Fe, NM. Leticia will be contributing to special projects and performances in 2019.
In the past years Lone Piñon has played extensively throughout the Southwest and the US and recorded three studio albums: "Trio Nuevomexicano” (2016), "Días Felices," and "Dále Vuelo,” to be released on March 1, 2019.
In August 2018 they were invited by the Library of Congress and the American Folklife Center to Washington DC, where they recorded a concert and an oral history of their work with New Mexican and Mexican musical traditions.