While in Mexico for a gig at the huge Sonorama Festival in the incredible Azteca Stadium, we were introduced to Humberto Alvarez, formally from the well known Mexican band Sangre Asteka, These days Humberto is an expert in pre-Hispanic music – from Aztec whistles and drums to playing a virtually Neolithic ‘stone xylophone’, which he feels was the first instrument humans likely invented (he spent years looking for naturally tuned fragments of rock!). He’s also a holistic shamanic healer working with sounds to harmonise and balance brain hemispheres, using native Mexican-indian trumpet, quartz and Tibetan bowls and voice toning. Humberto has released a number of CDs, one of them he’s even written with lyrics in the aztec language of Nahuatl! Incredible!
After recording a session with Humberto, César Juarez from the band Nostalgia Huasteca and his friend Héctor Vega Delo arrived to give us a taste of “Son Jaroco” – a traditional musical style from 18th century Veracruz, the state along the Gulf of Mexico. It represents a fusion of indigenous (primarily Huastecan), Spanish, and African musical elements. Son Jarocho is often played only on Jaranas, the small guitar-like instruments, and sung in a style in which several singers exchange improvised verses called décimas, usually with humorous or offensive content!
Massive thanks to both Martha Caravantes from Xnografikz and the Okupa bar.