Son Jarocho

The Son Jarocho is one of the most dynamic variations of the Son Mexicano, the “folk music of Mexico.” It can be distinguished by its percussive rhythms, syncopation, vocal style and improvisation in its harmonic and rhythmic framework and verse. Jarocho musicians always say that they never perform two identical versions of the same son.

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The Son is one of the most identifying characteristics of Veracruz, a state known for its lively people full of music and dance. The history of the Son can be traced to colonial times, when the Spanish introduced indigenous people to string instruments, influenced by the these instruments the Mestizo and indigenous people created their own versions such as the “jarana jarocha,” “requinto” and the “arpa jarocha.”  These new tools mixed with the influence of African and Spanish musical styles, created the Son Jarocho.  The lyrics of the Son are also influenced by the African and Spanish music that was introduced, the rest came from everyday life, they include humorous verses and subjects such as love, nature, sailors, and cattle breeding. The words reflect life in colonial Mexico.

This new music was not alone; it was accompanied by a characteristic dance. The “zapateado” footwork that comes from this music is an important element since it is very loud and provides a rhythmic complement to the music. The dance becomes part of the essence of the music.

All of these elements, from the instruments to the dance, are what create the Son Jarocho, a unique and identifying factor of Veracruz.  It is an important part of our history that lives on today. On the streets of Veracruz you can hear Son Jarocho, usually played only on jaranas and sung by just one jaranero or several singers sometimes exchanging improvised verses called décimas, often with humorous or offensive content.

El Butaquito (the bench)

When the moon rises

And the sun sets,

A streetlight comes on, and people

Come out of nowhere.

…out of nowhere

A son jarocho is heard

Because tonight

There will be a fandango

On 18th Street.

Bring out your bench, darling,

But don’t sit down!

Sones are here,

So you can’t complain.IMG_7488

Bring out your bench

And dance!

There is no better fandango

Than the one

That takes place here.

All are welcome, ladies and gentlemen,

Make yourselves at home!

Go tell Don Carlos to bring

The whole gang!

…the whole gang!

Come all!

Tell them there’s fish, guitars

And even toritos.

Bring out your bench, sweetheart,

And come to the shelter!

Our friends from Mono Blanco

Are now coming through the door

El Butaquito

Cuando la luna sale—bien de mi vida—

y el sol se esconde,

se prende un farolito, y sale la gente,

no sé de dónde.

No sé de dónde, no se de dónde,

es un son jarocho.

Y es que esta misma noche,

se hará un fandango

aquí en la dieciocho.

Saca tu butaquito—bien de mi vida—

mas no te sientes,

IMG_7594que llegaron los Sones, pa’ que no digas

y no me cuentes.

Saca tu butaquito

para bailar,

que no hay mejor fandango

que el que se logra

en este lugar.

¡Sean todos bienvenidos—damas, señores—

que aquí es su casa!

Avísenle a Don Carlos, pa’ que se traiga a

toda la raza.

Toda la raza, toda la raza

vengan toditos.

Díganles que hay mojarras, unas guitarras,

y hasta toritos.

Saca tu butaquito—corazoncito—

vente al tapanco

que por la puerta llegan

nuestros amigos de Mono Blanco


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