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Son Jarocho

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ENTERTAINMENT
August 17, 2012 | By Reed Johnson
In 1958, San Fernando Valley native Ritchie Valens climbed the U.S. pop charts with a butt-kicking little tune called "La Bamba. " According to the song's Spanish-language lyrics, dancing to it properly required "a little grace" and a little bit of something else. Few teenagers bopping to "La Bamba" probably realized they were jumping around to a rock-a-fied version of son jarocho , a structurally elegant but high-spirited fusion of Afro-Caribbean beats and often wise-cracking wordplay on timely political topics.
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ENTERTAINMENT
February 10, 2013 | By Reed Johnson
Quetzal, the L.A. band that weaves together funk, rock and regional Mexican folk-music varietals such as son jarocho , has won the Grammy for Latin rock, urban or alternative album. Quetzal won for its release "Imaginaries" (Smithsonian Folkways Recordings), a characteristically ambitious foray into cumbia, neo-'80s-style R&B, Cuban charanga and Brazilian pandeiro , charged with the band's collectivist political passion. It is the band's first Grammy. GRAMMYS 2013:   Full coverage  | Live blog | Show highlights | Winners and nominees  |  Ballot  |  Nomination snubs & surprises  |  Timeline | Red Carpet |   Video: Red Carpet | Red carpet fashion Quetzal was one of a number of L.A. bands to emerge from the cultural trial-by-fire of L.A.'s 1992 riots, along with such other Chicano fusionists as Ozomatli, Lysa Flores and Aztlan Underground.
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ENTERTAINMENT
February 9, 2013 | By Reed Johnson, Los Angeles Times
Last week, a group of Latino and Mexican artists up for three Grammy Awards gathered in a narrow Boyle Heights storefront - mostly in the flesh, some via Skype, a few present in spirit. They'd assembled to honor a strain of regional folk music nicknamed "the Mexican blues" that generations of L.A. musicians have stamped onto their DNA but that until this year the Grammys had largely ignored. The music, son jarocho (pronounced ha-RO-cho), is a hothouse hybrid of baroque Spanish instruments, ferocious Afro-Caribbean beats, Native American poetics and wise-cracking wordplay that Iberian conquistadors and black slaves imported to the tropical Mexican state of Veracruz.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 9, 2013 | By Reed Johnson, Los Angeles Times
Last week, a group of Latino and Mexican artists up for three Grammy Awards gathered in a narrow Boyle Heights storefront - mostly in the flesh, some via Skype, a few present in spirit. They'd assembled to honor a strain of regional folk music nicknamed "the Mexican blues" that generations of L.A. musicians have stamped onto their DNA but that until this year the Grammys had largely ignored. The music, son jarocho (pronounced ha-RO-cho), is a hothouse hybrid of baroque Spanish instruments, ferocious Afro-Caribbean beats, Native American poetics and wise-cracking wordplay that Iberian conquistadors and black slaves imported to the tropical Mexican state of Veracruz.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 8, 2007 | Jennifer Delson, Times Staff Writer
Unless you're from Veracruz, Mexico, or a historian of Mexican music, the songs emanating from the Mexican Cultural Center in Santa Ana might be something of a mystery. Although Latin American in flavor, the melodies and rhythms aren't typical folkloric music, mariachi or trios romanticos. The dozen or so musicians are playing son jarocho, a 400-year-old Mexican genre that blends indigenous, Spanish and African styles into foot-stomping, hand-clapping songs often with ad-libbed lyrics.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 28, 2006 | Agustin Gurza, Times Staff Writer
IT'S close to midnight when British-born dance director Richard O'Neal finally confides his fears about the risky career gamble that brought him to this ancient mountain town in southern Mexico. Almost five years ago, O'Neal gave up his job as the globe-trotting assistant director of "Riverdance," the popular stage show based on Irish folk dance.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 15, 2007 | Agustin Gurza, Times Staff Writer
Forget everything you thought you knew about "La Bamba." Most Americans are familiar with the Mexican folk standard as popularized here by Ritchie Valens in his '50s rock rendition. It has since been covered by everybody from Los Lobos to "Weird Al" Yankovic, in a parody titled "Lasagna."
TRAVEL
March 26, 2006 | Agustin Gurza, Times Staff Writer
IN this misty mountain town tucked in the Sierra Madre, far from Mexico's tired tourist track, a musical revolution is unfolding. In the clubs that dot Xalapa's winding streets and alleyways, young musicians are preserving -- and transforming -- a traditional folk genre called son jarocho. It's a soulful, foot-stomping style (think "La Bamba" but better) typically played on small guitars plucked in jazzy improvisations or strummed faster than the eye can see.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 16, 2003 | Reed Johnson, Times Staff Writer
Now that the river has been fouled by pollution and the local economy has flat-lined, this introspective pueblo of 12,000 has put its hopes for the future in three things: rampaging bulls, the Virgin Mary and a uniquely exhilarating brand of roots music that many people thought was headed for the boneyard barely a generation ago.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 27, 2012 | By Reed Johnson, Los Angeles Times
The new interpretation of "La Bamba" sung by the dynamic young L.A. band Las Cafeteras isn't your abuelito's version of the classic Mexican folk tune. Nor is it Ritchie Valens' 1958 hit rendition, or Los Lobos' smash 1987 remake. So what's different about Las Cafeteras' "La Bamba Rebelde" (The Rebel La Bamba), which appears on the group's just-issued CD "It's Time"? For starters, there are the punchy, quasi-hip-hop vocal cadences that overlay the traditional instrumental matrix of 10-string jarana and four-string requinto guitars known as son jarocho . Then there are the very L.A., very timely lyrical updates.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 27, 2012 | By Reed Johnson, Los Angeles Times
The new interpretation of "La Bamba" sung by the dynamic young L.A. band Las Cafeteras isn't your abuelito's version of the classic Mexican folk tune. Nor is it Ritchie Valens' 1958 hit rendition, or Los Lobos' smash 1987 remake. So what's different about Las Cafeteras' "La Bamba Rebelde" (The Rebel La Bamba), which appears on the group's just-issued CD "It's Time"? For starters, there are the punchy, quasi-hip-hop vocal cadences that overlay the traditional instrumental matrix of 10-string jarana and four-string requinto guitars known as son jarocho . Then there are the very L.A., very timely lyrical updates.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 17, 2012 | By Reed Johnson
In 1958, San Fernando Valley native Ritchie Valens climbed the U.S. pop charts with a butt-kicking little tune called "La Bamba. " According to the song's Spanish-language lyrics, dancing to it properly required "a little grace" and a little bit of something else. Few teenagers bopping to "La Bamba" probably realized they were jumping around to a rock-a-fied version of son jarocho , a structurally elegant but high-spirited fusion of Afro-Caribbean beats and often wise-cracking wordplay on timely political topics.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 16, 2011 | By Reed Johnson, Los Angeles Times
In a way, it all comes down to the ass' jawbone. Students of musical Americana will hear plenty of rustic sounds when David Wax Museum plays Wednesday night at the Wiltern, including shades of folk, blues, rock and bluegrass, along with the Mexican regional varietals of son jarocho , son huasteco and son calentano . Guitars, fiddles, accordions and the Mexican jarana , a baroque eight-string cousin of the guitar, all are part...
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 8, 2008 | Kristopher Fortin, Special to The Times
Cesar Augusto Castro Gonzalez found his calling when he went looking for a buddy to play some soccer during recess. Castro was attending middle school in the Mexican coastal city of Veracruz and was told he could find his friend, Omar, at a workshop that taught young people how to play traditional music known as el son jarocho. Castro found Omar and was immediately drawn to the sound of an eight-string rhythmic guitar, the jarana. "The happiness of the jarana really just got me," Castro said.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 8, 2007 | Jennifer Delson, Times Staff Writer
Unless you're from Veracruz, Mexico, or a historian of Mexican music, the songs emanating from the Mexican Cultural Center in Santa Ana might be something of a mystery. Although Latin American in flavor, the melodies and rhythms aren't typical folkloric music, mariachi or trios romanticos. The dozen or so musicians are playing son jarocho, a 400-year-old Mexican genre that blends indigenous, Spanish and African styles into foot-stomping, hand-clapping songs often with ad-libbed lyrics.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 15, 2007 | Agustin Gurza, Times Staff Writer
Forget everything you thought you knew about "La Bamba." Most Americans are familiar with the Mexican folk standard as popularized here by Ritchie Valens in his '50s rock rendition. It has since been covered by everybody from Los Lobos to "Weird Al" Yankovic, in a parody titled "Lasagna."
NEWS
May 15, 2003 | Reed Johnson, Times Staff Writer
When Ritchie Valens set America spinning to his hit record "La Bamba" in the late 1950s, few teeny-boppers probably knew they were dancing to son jarocho, a musical form whose pedigree goes back to the Renaissance. Harnessing 16th century Spanish lyric structures and Baroque-era instruments to jumpy Afro-Cuban slave rhythms, son jarocho is the signature roots music of Mexico's Veracruz state.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 10, 2013 | By Reed Johnson
Quetzal, the L.A. band that weaves together funk, rock and regional Mexican folk-music varietals such as son jarocho , has won the Grammy for Latin rock, urban or alternative album. Quetzal won for its release "Imaginaries" (Smithsonian Folkways Recordings), a characteristically ambitious foray into cumbia, neo-'80s-style R&B, Cuban charanga and Brazilian pandeiro , charged with the band's collectivist political passion. It is the band's first Grammy. GRAMMYS 2013:   Full coverage  | Live blog | Show highlights | Winners and nominees  |  Ballot  |  Nomination snubs & surprises  |  Timeline | Red Carpet |   Video: Red Carpet | Red carpet fashion Quetzal was one of a number of L.A. bands to emerge from the cultural trial-by-fire of L.A.'s 1992 riots, along with such other Chicano fusionists as Ozomatli, Lysa Flores and Aztlan Underground.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 28, 2006 | Agustin Gurza, Times Staff Writer
IT'S close to midnight when British-born dance director Richard O'Neal finally confides his fears about the risky career gamble that brought him to this ancient mountain town in southern Mexico. Almost five years ago, O'Neal gave up his job as the globe-trotting assistant director of "Riverdance," the popular stage show based on Irish folk dance.
TRAVEL
March 26, 2006 | Agustin Gurza, Times Staff Writer
IN this misty mountain town tucked in the Sierra Madre, far from Mexico's tired tourist track, a musical revolution is unfolding. In the clubs that dot Xalapa's winding streets and alleyways, young musicians are preserving -- and transforming -- a traditional folk genre called son jarocho. It's a soulful, foot-stomping style (think "La Bamba" but better) typically played on small guitars plucked in jazzy improvisations or strummed faster than the eye can see.
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