Weaver of Tunes

Nicolas Escajeda was a weaver and singer.

Nicolás Escajeda was a shy, humble Mexican known throughout Santa Fe as a noble gentleman, singer and weaver. Nicolás was born in Acensión, in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. Finding it hard to pursue a musical career in the village of his birth, he headed for la frontera. His first stop was Columbus, N.M., where Pancho Villa and his renegades gave this town its place in history. Villa raided this sleepy little pueblo in 1916 and quickly proceeded to set up a command post he used for next four years.

The arrival of Don Nicolás in 1922

Los Villeros Alegre were one of Santa Fe’s the leading musical groups.

Don Nicolás found his way to Santa Fe in 1922, where he married Maida Griego from one of Santa Fe’s old Spanish families. That their paths should cross is no surprise since Maida’s father, Pablo, performed regularly with Los Villeros Alegre, the leading musical ensemble of its era. The couple had two children, Nicolás Jr. and Margaret. In addition to singing as a soloist in the St. Francis Cathedral Choir the singer participated in regional music competitions. To the delight of customers and tourists alike, Nicolás sang the old tunes of Mexico at his loom

Caballeros: Romance of Santa Fe

Escajeda was featured in the book Caballeros: The Romance of Santa Fe and the Southwest by Ruth Laughlin Barker, who reported the following anecdote: “In Santa Fe I was watching the young weaver from Old Mexico who sang a folk melody. As he bent over his weaving frame, he turned to me and asked: ‘Did you hear me sing last night? I won the prize in the audition. Now I go to Las Cruces to the state contest—maybe I will win again—then I go to Chicago!’ Nicolás turned back to the loom and began to hum the song again, one of those enraptured love songs that he had heard since childhood.”

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