Carlos W

Carlos W

A fine man was Carlos

Carlos back W

Carlos Deana Worlwich?

This fine fellow with his mutton chop whiskers is Carlos. Carlos was photographed sometime in the 1860s, but I don’t know where as there is no photographer’s mark on the card. What can we glean from this image? Carlos was losing his hair and tried to do a fancy comb about on top that reminds me personally a bit of a baby’s curl. He compensated for his lack of upper hair with fine facial hair. His suit has wide lapels and you can see the satin or silk watermarks in them. He has a fancy silk neckcloth with some sort of fastener on it.

Can you read the handwriting? It looks like Carlos Deana Worlwich to me. Could the name Worlwich on a second line indicate that was where he lived? There’s a town in England with that name. Was the name Carlos a popular one in England?? So many questions!

What does this all have to do with the polka, you ask? I’m going out on a limb to suggest that Carlos was from Spain or Mexico & Latin America, where polka music was – and still is – very popular. Here in Southern California, we hear Norteño, Tejano, and Cojunto all the time, and probably don’t think a thing about it! During the 19th century, Europeans were emigrating to the Americas, and many settled in Mexico, Peru, Columbia, Brazil, etc. Of course the immigrants influenced local culture, and their music was combined, resulting in the polka style music with the Spanish lyrics. The accordion, tuba and piano are crucial instruments in an ensemble. Just as Mexican and Latin culture influenced European foods, these styles of music from “South of the Border” have an exciting spice and vitality to them!

Here’s a sampling of one of my favorite bands, Los Lobos, California boys who found fame when they provided music for the film La Bamba! which was about the fated singer Ritchie Valens. This recording is from 1987 when they were first starting out, but they are still around and still making great music!

To learn more about polka, just step off to Sepia Saturday for a whirl around the dance floor!

And a one, and a two….

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10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Little Nell
    Mar 07, 2015 @ 08:05:53

    That’s a rather nice suit Carlos is wearing too – very dashing.

    Reply

  2. La Nightingail
    Mar 07, 2015 @ 11:11:35

    How funny! I never thought about that until I watched & listened to the video, but you’re right! Mexican/Spanish etc. music definitely has a polka beat! I’ll think of that now every time I hear it – which will be often enough as that sort of music is always in the background at our favorite Mexican restaurant.

    Reply

  3. kristin
    Mar 07, 2015 @ 13:14:53

    It’s all those accordians.

    Reply

  4. alanburnett1
    Mar 07, 2015 @ 14:51:36

    Not sure about the English connection – Carlos would have been a fairly unusual name at the time. As for the town, I suppose it might be Woolwich, but I suspect that he would have been more likely to use London rather that W owlish which was – an is – a district of the city.

    Reply

  5. Mike Brubaker
    Mar 07, 2015 @ 19:41:56

    Carlos does have a dapper air about him. I’ve never seen a silk cravat fixed with a ring like that. His first name is clear but the second I read as Senna which is a surname I recognize. The last word is challenging. Name or place? I agree with Alan that Woolwich seems a stretch. I’ve seen the letter G written like that W so perhaps there is another spelling to consider. I have a similar puzzle cdv photo of a man that is clearly dated to 1858 but his name is not. So far my efforts have failed to crack the code.

    Reply

    • Mrs Marvel
      Mar 09, 2015 @ 09:39:16

      Concerning the cravat fastener, I sort of wonder if this is a Ranchero style. Mexican men – including Alto California in the 19th century – wore plenty of silver on their suits, conchos on the flared legs of their pants and lots of adornment. I actually think I’m going to ask an acquaintance at the local adobe for her opinion. :-)

      Reply

  6. Karen S.
    Mar 08, 2015 @ 11:41:39

    He certainly was a perfect Dapper Dan of his day. You always have something interesting to share new and interesting (to me) things in your posts.

    Reply

  7. IntenseGuy
    Mar 13, 2015 @ 13:47:34

    I thought the town name might be Harwich… the English seaport.

    Reply

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