In the 14 years since the band Jarana Beat has been founded, it has only produced two albums, “¡Echapalante!”, In 2011, and “Vibración por simpatia,” which was released earlier this month.
The reason is very simple, as explained by the founder of this band formed in the South Bronx, Sinuhé Padilla-Isunza: “Our motivation was not the band’s career, but the sound of our community.”
So much so, that this project took seven years to materialize, which were documented in a triple album. In them the passage by the band of 55 musicians and singers is recorded, most of them experts jaraneros and soneros of this popular rhythm from the Mexican state of Veracruz.
This album, in addition to being a musical jewel, has the clear intention of being anthropological material because in its lyrics, all original, it carries a message of inclusion, tolerance and understanding.
“Having a microphone is a privilege,” said the musician, who is also the group’s director. “I believe that artists have a responsibility to be the voice of a community […] Music is the faithful mirror of the community that makes it ”.
Although the musical basis of the album is the jaranero sound, it is very likely that those who listen to it will find a bit of their own culture in it, explained the artist. This is because, although this rhythm has its origin in Mexican Afro-indigenous music, the truth is that this is the result of the sounds that arrived during the colony from places like West Africa and the Andalusian region of Spain.
However, the fusion did not stop there, but traveled to all corners of Latin America where it took new forms. Now, with the arrival of musicians from all the countries of America to the south of The Bronx, jaranera music has a new nuance, which is what is reflected in “Vibration for sympathy.”
“That’s the theme of Jarana Beat, recognizing these musical roots,” said Padilla-Isunza. “Those sounds that are still alive and that arrived in the Spanish colony, that developed there, are now in the United States, in a neighborhood of a cosmopolitan city and they take sounds from where they are sown; now they are seeds in a new land and the fruits that come out continue to speak of our roots ”.
Among the rhythms included in the album, edited by Jarana Récords, are the son jarocho, the currulao, the danzón, the alegrías de Cádiz, the festejo, the landó, the bomba and Plena, the huapango, the chacarera, the cumbia, and the Yoruba. All of these sounds are also a sampler of what is performed at the Jarana Beat festivals every year in the South Bronx, an area whose demographics have transformed in recent decades. It is now populated by migrants from Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, after having been a region with a Puerto Rican majority.
“15 years ago, when we used to make the fandangos [fiestas jaraneras] at most we would gather around 50 people, ”said Padilla-Isunza, who is originally from Mexico City. “But in the last decade Mexican culture has been felt more, which is new but growing.”
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.