Richly layered Afro Mexican Music Making Weekend Memorable

My confession? Years ago I didn’t like much Mexican music much. Yeah I just lumped it all into one big “thing”. Fortunately for me –that is no longer true.  Now I enjoy it immensely. While  Chicago is  especially fortunate to have several genres this weekend to choose to go see from Mariachi to alternative rock at the 8th annual Mole de Mayo festival- the artists playing Son Jarocho this weekend are outstanding. Happily it’s one of my favorite genres. Son Jarocho is sometimes called the Mexican blues. It originated in Veracruz. a seaport which in prior centuries had  African slave markets.   Son Jarocho music and dance owes it’s African roots from that infamous activity.   Often we don’t realize the influence of the African diaspora  spread throughout Mexico & South America.  We tend to focus on it’s influence in our jazz & blues & the Caribbean music and culture.  Chicago is lucky tho: several institutions in Chicago from Hothouse to Old Town School of Folk Music to the National Museum of Mexican Art present Son Jarocho.  In fact, Hothouse is in the midst of a project called Chicago -Guantanamo Blues Exchange which includes musicians who play Son Jarocho as well as other African influenced music in a cultural exchange in Cuba.  See more at our link in the Chicago Defender article by Stan West.

Jaime Rodriguez Garcia of Pachanka Music Culture  programmed the music for Mole de Mayo sponsored by the 18th Street Development Corporation. He’s a major proponent of this genre in Chicago as well as being a kick ass rock/cumbia bass guitarist with Dos Santos Anti Beat. He is also one of the musicians who took part in the Hothouse project in Cuba.  Under his music programming the entertainment promises to be as vibrant and rich as the Festival’s culinary namesake Mole the smokey, complex dish the festival is named after. And the festival’s programming spills over to other places as well–like Old Town School of Folk Music and Thalia Hall.

On Friday Old Town School of Folk Music presents Son de Madera direct from Veracruz,  Mexico with a performance. OTSFM  also offering  workshops on Sat May 27.

If you haven’t seen them before this is a great opportunity to see the real thing–traditional Son Jarocho direct from Veracruz for it’s Friday global dance party.  Tickets $20  On Saturday Son de Madera will also perform at the Mole de Mayo Festival at 8 pm. See the Schedule below.

The next exciting group is the 2013 Latin grammy winners from East LA “Quetzal”.   They will be at Mole de Mayo on Saturday May 27 at 6 pm.

This outstanding  Chicano group established for 20+ years is well known for their social activism as well as their music. They also play Son Jarocho mixed with other kinds of alternative latin.

On Sunday night the popular Chicago Sones de Mexico closes the Mole de Mayo festival.  They are also 20 year veterans  offering Son Jarocho as well as many other genres.

FYI: all these bands have also played at the Smithsonian.

Another musical highlight of the weekend include Celso Pina the popular Mexican accordionist known for his cumbia as well as mixing ska, rock, reggae & more with Nortena and other mexican styled music.  Cumbia originally an Afro Colombian music genre found great popularity in Mexico. Celso Pina famous for his fusion with other styles of music.

He closes the Saturday night  at the Mole Festival and on Sunday night Pachanka &  8 Track Presents him at the Official Mole de Mayo After Party at Thalia Hall with IFE--a very HOT Puerto Rican group which mixes traditional Yorban chant & rhythms with electronic effects very seductively.  Dos Santos Anti Beat is also on the program with their high energy psychedelic cumbia.  Highly recommended show.  Tickets

Check out the hot  ÌFÉ, –who also played the Chicago World Music Festival 2016.

Also on my list of recommends includes Victor Garcia Latin Quartet at 6:30 on Sunday at Mole de Mayo.  More on Victor soon.  He’s one of the best of Chicago trumpet players with both Mexican traditional music and jazz.  He just recently performed and was praised by jazz critic Howard Reich as part of the Chicago Jazz Orchestra performance in celebration of Dizzy Gillespie. I remember seeing him in the remarkable entrance he made with Sones de Mexico in their 20th anniversary Millennium Park show.   He’ll also be at Sabor tonight (Friday) and Jazz Showcase on Tuesday May 30 in a free WDCB sponsored show.

Speaking of Jazz Showcase:  Chico Freeman Plus + Tet visits us from Switzerland this weekend. Chico is originally from Chicago–and is the legendary Von Freeman’s son.  The entire weekend of shows will be great — Of special interest is Sunday when his Uncle George Freeman will join him also on guitar.  George just celebrated his 90th birthday  and will be headlining at this year’s Chicago Jazz Festival.

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Saturday & Sunday 4pm – 6pm
LA LUNA west stage MC Jaime de Leon
Friday, May 26* LA LUNA Stage (west) *
5pm – Luis Zamora & Karen Bloom
6pm – Tierra Roja
8pm – Mariachi Perla De Mexico Oficial* EL SOL Stage (east) *
5pm – Súbele
7pm – You Are Here
9pm – Yanga* LUCHA LIBRE STAGE *
5pm – Charlie Glitch
8:30pm – Cedeño Brfrecords***
Saturday, May 27* LA LUNA Stage (west) *
12pm – Baruch & DJ Juliocesar
1:30pm – Brinco del Chinelo
3pm – Chicago Mariachi Project
4:30 – Beats y Batería
6pm – Quetzal
8pm – Son de Madera
9pm – PyroBeat Ensemble Fire Dance* EL SOL Stage (east) *
12pm – Guapachosos
1:30pm – The Luna Blues Machine
3pm – ¡Aparato!
6:30pm – Dos Santos Antibeat Orquesta
8:30pm – Celso Piña y Su Ronda Bogotá*
12pm – The People’s Stage Karaoke with Pablo Serrano
4pm – Sonido Viernes 13 Rocknroll
5pm – DJ Mosko Cruz
7pm – Mr. Bobby
8:30pm – The Ponderers*** DOMINGO, MAYO 28 ***
Sunday, May 28*
LA LUNA Stage (west) *
12pm – Nahui Ollin Huehuecoyotl
1:30pm – Las Tequileras
3pm – Ramiro R Duarte
4:30pm – Rubén P. ALvarez y Raices Profundas
6pm – Bocafloja Quilombo-Oficial
7pm – Brinco del Chinelo
8:30pm – Sones de Mexico Ensemble*
EL SOL Stage (east) *
12pm – TBA
2pm – Leticia Servin
3:30pm – Claudia La Gitana
5pm – Money Chicha
6:30pm – Victor Garcia Latin Quartet
8:30pm – Los Vicios de Papá*
12pm – Pablo Serrano Peoples Stage Karaoke
4pm – Baruch
5pm – DJ Juliocesar
6pm – TBA
7pm – Bumbac Joe
8:30pm – Charly García de (((SONORAMA)))/ Future Rootz
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