Mary Lou Fulton — “The Ballad of Suaqui”
Americana Highways brings you this video premiere of Mary Lou Fulton’s song “The Ballad of Suaqui.” The song is from her album We’ll Tell Stories, due out Oct 15 on Infinidad Records.
The album was produced, engineered and mixed by Rob Seals at Sound Boutique Studios in Los Angeles, and mastered by Latin Grammy winner Reuben Cohen of Lurssen Mastering in Los Angeles.
“The Ballad of Suaqui” is Mary Lou Fulton on vocals, Andy Abad (Jennifer Lopez, Bonnie Raitt) on guitar, tres and requinto; Joey Heredia (Herb Alpert, Sheila E) on percussion; Juan Jose Almaguer (Linda Ronstadt) on violin and guitarron ; Pablo Medina (Los Pinguos) on accordion; and Rob Seals on nylon string guitar and bass.
The video was filmed by Geoff Montgomery on the banks of the Colorado River in Yuma, Arizona, and features 60-year-old home movies and historic photographs. Special thanks to Joe Rubalcaba for his creative vision.
The video is lovely with faded footage of a bygone era juxtaposed with Fulton singing the song to the camera. “The Ballad of Suaqui” is a ballad that’s a combination of informative, historical, mournful and bittersweet. Give it a listen.
There’s a lovely lake in northern Mexico that’s a popular destination for bass fishing. Every so often, the lake waters recede to reveal the tower of a church where babies once were baptized, weddings were celebrated and the dead were mourned. That church was the center of life in Suaqui, now long gone but still cherished by its survivors.
I never had the chance to visit Suaqui, but the old pueblo has always remained alive for me through the stories of my family. There are many joyful memories of a close-knit community that gathered for dances in the plaza and shared the bounty of the land. But the pain of my family’s loss hasn’t faded, even 60 years later. My aunt still cries as she thinks of our ancestors left behind in a cemetery now at the bottom of a lake. My relatives would give anything to return to their old way of life, but they can never go home again.
I wrote “The Ballad of Suaqui” so that the story of this special place and its people won’t be forgotten. I hope this corrido will contribute to conversations about the decisions we make in the name of progress. Which communities are saved and which are sacrificed, and why? — Mary Lou Fulton
The video was filmed in Fulton’s hometown of Yuma, Arizona, the first place in the U.S. that her mother and Mexican family lived after immigrating.
I always knew I wanted to go back home to film this video. Just as my mom grew up alongside the Yaqui River in Mexico, I grew up alongside the Colorado in Arizona. I feel a deep connection to rivers — they have shaped my family and personal history in such profound ways.
The sunsets and sunrises in Yuma are so beautiful, especially near the river. It was worth enduring the dust and the heat to capture this backdrop that felt exactly right. — Mary Lou Fulton
We’ll Tell Stories can be pre-ordered here https://maryloufulton.com/buy-music