I first came here last June. Planning to get myself acquainted with Mexico I decided to visit one of my friends in Tepoztlán. Se llama Yolanda and her connection actually goes back to my years in Bali when I was introduced to her by another one of my friends. Knowing Yolanda as an anthropologist who was looking into children and how children learn their culture through rituals, I stuck close to her.
Eventually, I got the opportunity to visit her here in Mexico. Go towards Cuernavaca in the south and turn east. Tepoztlán is a small pueblo about an hour drive from Mexico City but it also has some ex-patriots living here. The central market is accustomed to tourists. One of the main attractions is climbing the mountain to the Piramide. This is the view you can see from the pyramid but of course I would recommend you actually experience the view from there. You can see Tepoztlán cradled in between the mountains here while Cuernavaca is in the distance to the right of the picture.
Visiting Tepoztlán was a blast but the main thing that I got out of this trip was Yolanda's recommendation to check out a son jarocho class. She claimed only the old people practiced this music but as I know today, Son Jarocho is a very popular living tradition from the state of Veracruz.* From this class, the teacher recommended I look into the classes back in the San Francisco Bay Area.
|Gamelan Barudak and a wayang kulit performance, June 2016|
Thus, I found the group Son de la Bahia, named from the San Francisco Bay Area and its community. and began my foray in Son Jarocho. This gave me a chance to keep on working at playing Son Jarocho as well as making a couple connections with the Vega Family / Los Vega and Patricio Hidalgo who I later got to learn more from here in Mexico.
One other large musical connection I made was with Gamelan Barudak / Indraswara. Yolanda gave me the name of their teacher, Fitra Ismu, and from there we got to see a performance of him, his gamelan, and a shadow puppet show (wayang kulit).
|Saint Patrick's Day Parade 2017|
Ever since then, I've had a blast playing music and going to fandangos, gigs, and more with these artists.
* - There are also different types of Son from other parts of Mexico. Geographically, Son Jarocho extends from the city of Puerta Veracruz all the way to the south past Los Tuxtlas.