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10 Years Of Sharing Son Jarocho Music On The US-Mexico Border

A group of people gathered at the U.S.-Mexico border fence at Friendship Park for Fandango Fronterizo. May 2013.
Fandango Fronterizo
A group of people gathered at the U.S.-Mexico border fence at Friendship Park for Fandango Fronterizo. May 2013.
10 Years Of Sharing Son Jarocho Music On The US-Mexico Border
10 Years Of Sharing Son Jarocho Music On The US-Mexico Border GUEST: Adrian Florido, co-organizer, Fandango Fronterizo

[ MUSIC ] Musical -- music will soar as musicians and dancers mark the 10th anniversary of the border fandango. The event celebrates Son Jarocho music. Joining me is Adrian Florido, the reporter and organizer of the fandango. Welcome back. It is good to be back. Remind us about the significance of Son Jarocho music . It originates in the southern Mexico state on the golf course. It is centuries old traditional music that incorporates elements -- indigenous elements and Spanish elements. It has been played traditionally in world context as a way for families and communities to celebrate weddings and harvests and birthdays and funerals. It is a very important traditional form of music and that part of the country. How did the the first Fandango Fronterizo start? It started in 2008. A friend of mine who worked as a librarian in San Diego had friends who are part of this community on both sides of the border. A lot of them could not cross the border in order to play together. One day, he was at a beach cleanup along the border fence. He saw people buying things through the fence as you used to be able to do before the fence was heavily fortified. It occurred to him, this is a perfect place to have a fandango. It is a gathering where people stand around a wooded platform. This is used for a stomping dance. [ MUSIC ] The musicians gather around it and play and face each other. It is a response. [ MUSIC ] Someone would call a person there is poetry. It occurred to him that you could put one on either side of the border fence and musicians on other side and you could do the response across the fence. That is how it started. It was a practical solution to a real problem which is that he had friends that could not get together to play. There is a family coming from the place where the Son Jarocho originated We invite a family or individuals that practice this music in a more traditional context to come and play this with us in this order context. This year, the family is a family of musicians. Actually, I brought a recording of some of my community -- music. [ MUSIC ] You can hear the call and response. Absolutely. This is the patriarch in a family. He was being responded to by [ Name indiscernable ]. You can hear the stomping dance in the background. You can hear the strumming and the plucking of the instruments that are played. Let me bring this to where the realities of where it is going to be. The location is a heavily patrolled and secured aerie the border. Anyone who is down to friendship Park is familiar with this tall and thick metal fence with a very tiny halls. What does it take to put on an event in this location ? We start organizing the event six months before it actually happened. We have it -- we have it every Memorial Day weekend. Requires a lot of organizing through Skype.. I currently live in Washington DC. We have to have a relationship with the border patrol because you have to get approval and permits to hold this because we invite musicians and many have never been to the USN we have to apply for visas. It is a simple event. Your people gathering on both side of the border fence because is heavily patrolled, it actually is incredibly complicated. It takes time and money and energy. This is the 10th anniversary of the fandango. The political atmosphere is more tense than ever. How is that impacting the spirit of the event ? It is interesting. I think as an organizing committee, we focus on the music and that music transcends everything. That is where our message stops and people bring to the event whatever it means for them. Some people have been separated by families and it is emotional because this represents the abilities of some things to cross the net of the things. For others, it is political statement that they are making by showing up. There is an interesting dynamic. It changes because the politics is present. I think it is a fascinating thing to watch. I am glad you are here to talk about this. I have been speaking with Adrian Florido. You will perform there and thank you for coming in. Thank you, Marine. It was good to see you.

Music will soar across the U.S.-Mexico border fence this weekend as musicians and dancers mark the 10th anniversary of the musical gathering known as Fandango Fronterizo.

The event, which takes place on both sides of the border at Friendship Park and Playas de Tijuana, celebrates son jarocho music while at the same time making a statement about the power of culture to transcend boundaries.

Son jarocho is traditional folk music originating from Veracruz, Mexico. The event started as a way to unite musicians from San Diego and Tijuana.


Adrian Florido, a reporter with NPR's Code Switch team and one of the event organizers, discusses the history of son jarocho music and the evolution of the Fandango Fronterizo.

Fandango Fronterizo 2017