May 10, 2012
This radio documentary, recorded in collaboration with American Public Radio, tells the tale of the San Patricios (St. Patrick's Battalion), a brigade of Irishmen and other European immigrants who travelled to fight with Mexico during the Mexican-American war, from 1846-1848. They perceived the cruelties and injustices of the American army and chose to fight for the other side.
Jon Riley led a troop of soldiers, some from the U.S. Army and many men of Irish and German decent. During the time of the war, these men found themselves less welcome in American ranks because they were immigrants and Catholics. They took the Mexican government's offer to cross the Rio Grande and join the side of America's opponent.
Peter F. Stevens, author of Rogue's March, sets the scene. Listen to the story and hear the unique connections between Irish and Mexican music conveying the passions of two disparate nations at a crucial point in their history, brought to us by legends of music, Ry Cooder and The Chieftains.
HEAR NPR'S INTERVIEW WITH RY COODER