Fandango Fronterizo 2016

I want to acknowledge my daughter,Carmen,  for having introduced me to this beautiful event and reawakened my passion for the music I grew up watching my grandmother sing and dance to.

Photos from my experience at this year’s fandango:

This is a son I have written in Spanish.  See explanation of the son and translation into English below.

Aqui yo vine a cantar

Bajo esta cerca traídora

Con lagrimas que perforán

Mi alma undida en el mar

La migra no borrara

El amor de mi querida

Intenso como la vida

Sones, cultura, y amor

Las huellas de mi corazón

Raíces empedernidas


Veo tu cara en fragmentos

Se me a olvidado tu olor

Mis recuerdos llevan dolor

Es sofocante el lamento

sin tocarte un momento

Esta reja nos separa

Quisiera yo tener alas

Para volar hacia ti

Interrumpir tu sufrir

Pa’que en mis brazos soñaras


Mis ojos sufren angustia

por no poderte tocar

Como espinas de un rosal

Que florese rosas mustias

Mi amor no te renuncia

Te toco esta jarana

Con estos versos mi Jiliana

Pa’que te acuerdes de mi

Tu pretendiente colibrí

Cuando tu amor por mi reclama

Son Jarocho is a style of music from Veracruz, Mexico with its origins rooted in Indigenous, African, and Spanish influences.  Son is a kind of song, Jarocho is the name given to people and things from the Mexican state of Veracruz. The verses of a Son Jarocho usually follow one of a few metric and rhyming forms. A typical form, called décimas, is a ten line stanza of verses that follow a predictable metric and rhyming pattern. Between or directly before beginning a son, participants in a fandango may verbally recite a décima. Using the décima or similar structure, whether spoken or sung, the speaker may improvise verses. Improvising means making up your own words, melody or rhythm that still fits the piece you are performing. In Son Jarocho, the improvisor (called the pregonero if the lead singer) often refers to something or someone in the community. They may comment on a beautiful woman on the tarima, or poke fun at some other member of the community.

The jarana is a central instrumental component in Son Jarocho. It is a small, guitar-like instrument with 9-10 strings, most of them double. It provides rhythmic and harmonic body to the son.

Fandango, the traditional context of Son Jarocho, as a community celebration, where a great many members of the community gather around a tarima (raised wooden platform used as dance floor with percussive resonance) and participate singing, playing and dancing. As the whole community knows the songs and dances, they take turns singing, dancing and reciting verses, often into the wee hours of the morning.

Translation of verses in English:

I came here to sing

Under this fence of betrayal

With tears piercing

My soul drowning at sea

Border Patrol cannot erase

The love of my dear

Intense as life

Sones , culture, and love

Footprints of my heart

entrenched roots


I see your face in fragments

I have forgot your scent

My memories carry pain

I am suffocating in regret

Without touching you for a moment

This fence separates us

I wish I had wings To fly to you

Interrupting your suffering

So that you will dream in my arms


My eyes suffer anguish

Without being able to touch you

Like thorns of a rosebush

That blooms wilted roses

My love will not resign

I play this jarana

With these verses my Juliana

So that you’ll remember me

Your hummingbird suitor

When your love demands for me








Fandango Fronterizo 2014

Fandango Poster

It is often said, “we did not cross the border; the border crossed us.”  No matter how many borders are created, while they may keep us physically in or out, borders will never be high enough or wide enough to stop the migration of music, culture, and love.  This was a beautiful celebration of unity and solidarity, and for that moment, folks from both sides of the border were able to share in a dream –  that human beings, one day, shall be able to roam the earth freely, without the threat of injustice, violence, and hate.  Ironically, this fence, created to separate and alienate has served to strengthen the bonds of friendship and empower a vision of sacred community.  Jaraneros from all over the United States came to this celebration to break down the walls of “other.”  At the root of the music, dance, and verses is the promise of unity.

“Fandango is the ultimate expression of the Son Jarocho, music from the Southern part of the state of Veracruz. It is a traditional festival in which one lives to enjoy the atmosphere created by music,verse and dance. Everyone gathers around a wooden platform bordered by musicians that heat the air to the rhythm of Sones, dancers on their heels tapping to the beat and singers calling out enthusiastic and passionate verses; the stage is the epicenter of the celebration. Everyone can participate in the fandango, however, it has a “protocol” which is mainly about respect between dancers, versadores and musicians. For example, in communities with experienced or older musicians, they lead the fandango. Settling behind them are the less experienced musicians. Likewise, to allow respectful listening to what is being expressed by the versador, the person singing the verses, the musicians and dancers who are on the platform decrease the intensity of the strumming of instruments and the tap.   The dancers who are waiting to climb onto the platform, should do it at the end of the verse so as not to interrupt and versadores should let the dancers elaborate a bit and not sing one verse after another without pause.  Within the repertoire  are “sones de a monton” that are danced only by women, “Sones de pareja” danced by couples and some others in which two couples dance or a few women and one man.  The Sones can last as long as people continue to celebrate in  high spirits and there are folks to play the jarana and dance.  Fandangos generally last  until one drops.”  (

Click on pictures to view as slide show.