East L.A.’s Las Cafeteras blend their Angeleno urban edge and political activism with the traditions of son jarocho music—a genre from Veracruz, Mexico, known for its improvisational lyrics, Afro-Mexican rhythms, and the foot-stomping beat of the zapateado. A remix of traditional sounds, Las Cafeteras adds Afro-Carribean marimbol, spoken word, English and Spanglish to jarocho instruments like the jarana and requinto. A post-performance discussion explores the roots of their community activism and the inter-generational spark their contemporary fusion has spurred.
Betto Arcos, a native of Veracruz, Mexico, is a freelance reporter for BBC-PRI's The World and NPR. He has been a regular contributor to NPR’s Weekend All Things Considered reviewing Latin and world music, since 2009. Betto is also host of KPFK’s Global Village on KPFK 90.7, a daily program he created as music director in 1997.
César Castro, a native of Veracruz, Mexico, began studying Son Jarocho in 1990 while also beginning his work with Chicanos in Los Angeles through a bi-national exchange called Fandango Sin Fronteras. The organization aims to cultivate relationships through music and focuses on building community and awareness through social gatherings, el fandango and participatory performance. In 2005, César moved to Los Angeles to teach Son Jarocho in the local community, where he also helped form Quetzal, one of LA’s cornerstone Chicano bands. Since then, has César has received grants from the Alliance of California Traditional Arts, ARC Grant, and the Master Musician Fellowship from the Durfee Foundation.
Photo Credit: Danny Roman
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