Son jarocho

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Son jarocho ("Veracruz Sound") is a regional folk musical style of Mexican Son from Veracruz, a Mexican state along the Gulf of Mexico. It evolved over the last two and a half centuries along the coastal portions of southern Tamaulipas state and Veracruz state, hence the term jarocho , a colloquial term for people or things from the port city of Veracruz.



Son jarocho group Marimbol-Son-Jarocho.JPG
Son jarocho group

It represents a fusion of Spanish (Andalusian and Canary Islander) and African musical elements, reflecting the population which evolved in the region from Spanish colonial times. Lyrics include humorous verses and subjects such as love, nature, sailors, and cattle breeding that still reflect life in colonial and 19th century Mexico. Verses are often shared with the wider Mexican and Hispanic Caribbean repertoire and some have even been borrowed from famous works by writers of the Spanish "Siglo de Oro". It is usually performed by an ensemble of musicians and instruments which collectively are termed a "conjunto jarocho". [1] Son jarocho is often played only on jaranas and sung in a style in which several singers exchange improvised verses called décimas , often with humorous or risqué content.


The instruments most commonly associated with son jarocho are the jarana jarocha, a small guitar-like instrument used to provide a harmonic base, with some double strings arranged in a variety of configurations; the requinto jarocho, another small guitar-like instrument plucked with a long pick traditionally made from cow-horn, usually tuned to a higher pitch and with a four or five thick nylon strings; the diatonic arpa jarocha; the leona, a type of acoustic bass guitar, and sometimes a minor complement of percussion instruments such as the pandero (especially in the style of Tlacotalpan), the quijada (an instrument made of a donkey or horse jawbone) or the güiro. [2] Some groups add the marimbol, a plucked key box bass, and the cajón, (although the Peruvian version, not the Mexican cajón de tapeo).

Sones and groups

Son Jarocho group Zarahuato performing at the Museo de Arte Popular. Zarahuato09.JPG
Son Jarocho group Zarahuato performing at the Museo de Arte Popular.
Representation of traditional dance Son Jarocho en el Centro Cultural Universitario Tlatelolco.JPG
Representation of traditional dance

The most widely known son jarocho is "La Bamba", which has been popularized through the version by Ritchie Valens and the American movie of the same name. Other famous sones jarochos are "El Coco" and "La Iguana" and "El Cascabel", all of which have a call and response form, and "El Chuchumbé", "La Bruja".

Fermin Herrera (a Jarocho harpist) has taught many people, such as John Robles and Antonio Moraza, how to play. Because of him, many groups in the US play or even know about son jarocho. More recently, instruments and rhythms from son jarocho have been used by rock groups such as Café Tacuba, Quetzal, 22 Pesos, Ozomatli, and Zack de la Rocha. East L.A. rockers Los Lobos have also recorded in the Jarocho genre, as has Mexican-American artist Lila Downs. More recently son jarocho music has experienced a resurgence in the United States. US-based bands now playing (as of 2012) or using elements of the genre include Radio Jarocho, David Wax Museum, Son del Centro, Las Cafeteras, Son del Viento, Los Cenzontles and Jarana Beat. [3]

Related genres include son huasteco, huapango, son jaliscience, and son chiapaneco.

Well-known artists playing the genre include Conjunto Hueyapan, Mono Blanco, Siquisirí, Tlen Huicani, Chuchumbé, Chucumite, Son de Madera, and Los Cojolites, the first Son Jarocho group to be nominated for a Grammy Award.

Related Research Articles

The term conjunto refers to several types of small musical ensembles present in different Latin American musical traditions, mainly in Mexico and Cuba. While Mexican conjuntos play styles such as norteño and tejano, Cuban conjuntos specialize in the son, as well as its derivations such as salsa.

Music of Mexico Music and musical traditions of Mexico

The music of Mexico is very diverse and features a wide range of musical genres and performance styles. It has been influenced by a variety of cultures, most notably the culture of the indigenous people of Mexico and Europe. Music was an expression of Mexican nationalism, beginning in the nineteenth century.


The marímbula is a plucked box musical instrument of the Caribbean. In Cuba it is common in the changüí genre, as well as old styles of son. In Mexico, where it is known as marimbol is played in son jarocho; in the Dominican Republic, where it is known as marimba, it is played in merengue típico, and in Jamaica it is known as rumba box and played in mento.

The term requinto is used in both Spanish and Portuguese to mean a smaller, higher-pitched version of another instrument. Thus, there are requinto guitars, drums, and several wind instruments.

<i lang="es" title="Spanish-language text">Huapango</i> Family of Mexican music styles

Huapango is a family of Mexican music styles. The word likely derives from the Nahuatl word cuauhpanco that literally means 'on top of the wood', alluding to a wooden platform on which dancers perform zapateado dance steps. It is interpreted in different forms, the most common being the classic huapango interpreted by a trio of musicians ; the huapango norteño interpreted by a group ; and the huapango de mariachi, which can be performed by a large group of musicians.

Bajo sexto Mexican string instrument

Bajo sexto is a Mexican string instrument from the guitar family with 12 strings in six double courses. A closely related instrument is the bajo quinto which has 10 strings in five double courses.

Jarana jarocha Musical instrument from southern Veracruz, Mexico

The jarana jarocha is a guitar-shaped fretted stringed instrument from the southern region of the state of Veracruz, Mexico. Typically strung with 8 strings in 5 courses, usually arranged in two single outer strings with three double-courses in between. The strings are usually nylon, although they were gut in the past. The body is somewhat narrower than a guitar because of its direct lineage from the Spanish baroque guitar of the sixteenth century. Sometimes mistaken for a ukulele, the jarana jarocha comes in at least five sizes, the smallest being the chaquiste, somewhat smaller than a soprano ukulele; then the mosquito, about the size of a soprano ukulele; the 'primera', about the size of a concert ukulele; the 'segunda', in length between a tenor and a baritone ukulele; and the 'tercera', somewhat longer than the baritone ukulele. Some luthiers are building jaranas of a size they label "tercerola" or "jarana cuarta", but there is some discussion as to whether these represent a distinct size or are merely particularly large variations of the standard tercera.

Regional styles of Mexican music vary greatly vary from state to state. Norteño, banda, duranguense, Son mexicano and other Mexican country music genres are often known as regional Mexican music because each state produces different musical sounds and lyrics.

Plucked string instrument

Plucked string instruments are a subcategory of string instruments that are played by plucking the strings. Plucking is a way of pulling and releasing the string in such a way as to give it an impulse that causes the string to vibrate. Plucking can be done with either a finger or a plectrum.

Son huasteco Traditional Mexican musical style

Son huasteco is one of eight Mexican song styles and is a traditional Mexican musical style originating in the six state area of Northeastern Mexico called La Huasteca. It dates back to the end of the 19th century and is influenced by Spanish and indigenous cultures. Usually it is played by a Trio Huasteco composed of a guitarra quinta huapanguera a Jarana huasteca and a violin. Singers will often use the falsetto register. The son huasteco is particularly noteworthy for its flamboyant and virtuoso violin parts, although the style varies from state to state. Footwork often danced to son huasteco is the Zapateado. Improvisation plays a strong role in the style, with musicians creating their own lyrics and arrangements to a standard repertoire. Typical sones huastecos are "Cielito lindo", "La huazanga", "La sirena", "El querreque" and "La cigarra".

Jarocho Person, item, or music style from the Mexican city of Veracruz

A jarocho is a person, item or style of music from the city of Veracruz, Mexico.

Quetzal is a bilingual (Spanish-English) Chicano rock band from East Los Angeles, California.

The vals criollo, or Peruvian waltz, is an adaptation of the European waltz brought to the Americas during colonial times by Spain. In the Viceroyalty of Peru, the waltz was gradually adapted to the likings of the Criollo people. In the 20th century, the genre became symbolic of the nation's culture as it gained widespread popularity in the country.

The requinto jarocho or guitarra de son is plucked string instrument, played usually with a special pick. It is a four- or five-stringed instrument that has originated from Veracruz, Mexico.

The arpa jarocha is a large wooden harp that is normally played while standing, although early examples from the 16th through the first three or four decades of the 19th centuries were smaller and were played while seated. It has a wooden frame, a resonator, a flat soundboard, 32-36 nylon strings, and does not have pedals. This harp is tuned diatonically over five octaves. The top of its soundboard sometimes arches outward due to the tension of the strings. Unlike other Mexican harps, the arpa jarocha has its sound holes located on the back of the sound board instead of on the front.

Son de Madera is a son jarocho band based in Veracruz, Mexico. Its core members are Ramón Gutiérrez Hernández, Tereso Vega, and Rubí Oseguera Rueda. The band was founded in 1992.

Son de Montón is a Mexican band founded in 2004 in Guanajuato, which fuses Mexican traditional music, especially son music and other musical styles with a purpose of bringing traditional music to younger audiences. The members are Ignacio Piñón Pérez, who plays violin, a guitar called a jarana and quijada, Anatolij Tkatschinski Pérez who plays jarana and quijada, Eduardo Vallejo Torres who plays percussion, Antonio López Cardons who plays jarana and harmonica, Fernanda Aldonza López Cardona, Primo Lara Stephens, Luis Jesús Cibrian García, José Abraham Morales Salazar and sound technician Jacob Sinuee Segoviano Alonzo. Its members come from Veracruz, Sinaloa, Chihuahua and Guanajuato, but the band is based in Guanajuato.

Los Soneritos is a group dedicated to Mexican folk music and dance, founded in 2005 in Colima by Omar Alejandro Rojas Ramos. Rojas Ramos formed the group while working at a primary school, giving classes in music and dance. It was formed with the express intention of preserving and promoting folk music and dance to youths and children. The group mostly performs music and dance from its home state of Veracruz such as son, fandango and zapateado, but other similar music such as son from the west of Mexico and the “mitote folkorico” is also in the repertoire. Members of the group have done research about traditional music and dance as well as composed their own original pieces.

Son mexicano Style of Mexican folk music and dance

Son mexicano is a style of Mexican folk music and dance that encompasses various regional genres, all of which are called son. The term son literally means "sound" in Spanish, and is also applied to other unrelated genres, most notably son cubano.

Las Cafeteras is a Chicano band from East Los Angeles, California. Their music fuses spoken word and folk music, with traditional Son jarocho, Afro-Mexican music and zapateado dancing.


  1. The son jarocho: the history, style, and repertory of a changing Mexican musical tradition. DE Sheehy - 1979 - University of California, Los Angeles
  2. The Garland Handbook of Latin American Music, Volume 1 By Dale Alan Olsen, Daniel Edward Sheeh p. 191-92
  3. Arcos, Betto. "Sounds of Veracruz". Sounds of Veracruz.