The Grand Tour

For my final post, Iʼll leave you with this audio flipbook that sums up my year. In previous posts, I tried to explore the diversity of Mexican music by zooming in on individual sounds and people. I wanted to compare a variety of styles (Mariachi, Son Jarocho, Danzón, Villancicos, La Chilena, Son Huasteco, and Tropical were just a few that I got hooked on), while also considering how this music has been affected by emerging issues in Mexico, like emigration, urbanization, and the cultural gap between generations.

This audio flipbook takes a wider view. I hope it lives up to its name—Itʼs a “grand tour” of the School of Mexican Music, classroom by classroom, genre by genre. For the musician in me, traveling from one “room” of Mexican music to another over the course of this year was an awe-inspiring lesson in new sounds. But more importantly, it gave me a taste of the complexity of Mexican history. And every day, Iʼm happy to report, that history is still being sung and played out by young people who want to live in a 21st century Mexico that doesnʼt forget where it came from.

Sincere thanks to IIE, the State Department, COMEXUS, and mtvU for their continued support during this year. I also want to thank the School of Mexican Music in Mexico City, and the Centro de Documentación del Son Jarocho in Jáltipan, Veracruz for opening their doors to my research (and elementary music skills).

I also want to individually thank my mentors and music teachers, without whose patience and knowledge this project would not have been possible—Jorge Luís Aquino Gómez, José Luís Ceron Mireles, and Pedro Gutiérrez in Mexico City; Ramón Gutiérrez of Son de Madera in Xalapa; Benito Cortés Padua of Los Cojolites at Rancho Luna (….Negra!); my fellow Fulbright grantee Phillip Quercia; Thomas Stanford and the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia; and Randall Kohl of the Universidad Veracruzana. A todos Uds., ¡Mil gracias!

Last but not least, if you like what youʼve heard on my blog, I urge you to check out some of these young Mexican musicians who have, at one point or another, knocked my socks off:

Los Cojolites – Jálitpan, Veracruz
Los Pájaros del Alba – Cosoleacaque, Veracruz
Sonex – Xalapa, Veracruz
Pasatono – Mexico City and Oaxaca
Las Perlitas Tapatias – Guadalajara, Jalisco

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Wednesday, July 8th, 2009 Slideshow, Thoughts

6 Comments to The Grand Tour

  1. Thank you! This was amazing thanks for sharing your experience… Inspirational.

  2. Adam Tristan on July 15th, 2009
  3. I have been loving Son Jarocho music since I first heard it a few years ago. Coincidentally, I will be travelling at the end of August in Veracruz along with my brother who lives in Mexico.

    Can anyone recommend how I can find son jarocho music to listen to live while there?

  4. Jonathan Rochkind on July 20th, 2009
  5. thanks to both of you for reading! Jonathan, if you’re going to the port city of Veracruz, check out the young and talented Son de Barro ( You can also head to the Plaza de Armas any weekend night and there will be (touristy) folkloric dancing and often Son Jarocho groups, followed by the not-to-miss Danzon orchestras.

    I’d also highly recommend the Xalapa-based groups Son de Madera (modern son that leans towards traditional) and Sonex (more jazz-rock fusion). In the south of Veracruz, look up Los Cojolites and Los Pájaros del Alba. All of these groups tour frequently and are pretty good about posting their gigs on myspace. Another option is to just show up to Xalapa (a college town with a huge son jarocho scene) and look for posters advertising fandangos, or consult the Centro Cultural Los Lagos for event listings (tel: (228) 812 12 99). On Fridays and Saturdays, there is usually live son jarocho at the bar La Tavola.


  6. Katie Day Good on July 22nd, 2009
  7. Wow! I am thinking about studying at the Casa and this is the best information about it on the internet. Great work Katie!

  8. Antonio Ramirez on August 11th, 2009
  9. It’s a wonderful thing that you have so much interest in the different kinds of music that lives in the many countries that is México. I was a pupil of Thomas Stanford at the Escuela Nacional de Antropología e Historia and have great memories with him recording music in the Sierra Tlapaneca in Guerrero. It would be a better achievement if all these materials and work could be shared with all people, it’s a shame we don’t give it the recognition the deserves.

  10. Ricardo López González on October 11th, 2009
  11. Hi,
    It looks like the website for the School of Mexican Music is maybe defunct? Do you know who I could contact to have some questions answered?

  12. Cadence on December 16th, 2009

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