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Latin America: Mexico: Veracruz

Veracruz Dance and Music

Performances in
World Arts West Programs
Son Jarocho
Performers
Cascada de Flores
Instruments Used
Cajón
Jarana

Jarocho is a term that refers to the people and culture of southern Veracruz, along Mexico's eastern coast.  Son jarocho describes one unqiue style of music and dance from that region, noted for its emphasis on improvisation and variations in rhythm. Noted son jarocho artist and scholar Timothy Harding writes that many of the dance styles in Veracruz have their origins in the 17th and 18th centuries, with the influence of dances like the Fandago that migrated from Spain. Spanish influences can also be noted in the music’s structure, verse forms, and stringed instruments. Also, because African slaves were used in plantation agriculture until the early 19th century, the region bears the influence of the music developed by both slaves and free blacks. Dr. Harding notes that much of the music of the region has African singing characteristics, such as call and response, slurring notes in intervals in the scale, and an "irreverent attitude" developed among a people who were on the margins of Indian and Spanish society. For more information, visit www.conjuntojardin.com.

Cascada de Flores will perform Son Jarocho in People Like Me 2006, based on the story of the region and the combinations of cultures that came together to give rise to this dance and music style. With percussive footwork reminiscent of the Spanish roots, call and response song styles from the African heritage, and animal imagery hailing from the Indigenous peoples of the region, the intersection of cultural expression in this piece brings the beauty of Veracruz to life.

 



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