Cambalache | Una Historia de Fandango

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Una Historia de Fandango

by Cambalache

Son Jarocho is the style of music from Veracruz, México that we play in Los Angeles, CA. With our verses and sounds we take you from history to present. This is a CAMBALACHE, word that means EXCHANGE. We hope you enjoy this journey with us...
Genre: Latin: Sonero
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. El Siquisirí
4:29 $0.99
2. El Balajú
2:02 $0.99
3. El Buscapié
3:01 $0.99
4. La Morena
4:34 $0.99
5. El Gavilancito
4:01 $0.99
6. La Iguana
3:02 $0.99
7. La Guanábana
6:55 $0.99
8. El Colás
3:04 $0.99
9. El Canelo
4:02 $0.99
10. My Journey Has Just Begun
3:42 $0.99
11. La Gallina
5:41 $0.99
12. El Palomo y la Paloma
2:18 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Cambalache and the Chicano-Jarocho Exchange
(by Rubén Hernández-León, Director of the UCLA Center for Mexican Studies )
Those of us who grew up on the streets of Mexico’s towns and cities remember the word “cambalache” as part of our everyday language. We traded or did “cambalaches” with our friends and family: a top for a yoyo, one marble for another. Even though we didn’t think about it much at the time, every “cambalache,” every trade, was a learning moment. With each exchange and interaction we learned a little bit more about one another.
Conjunto Cambalache is the direct result of the exchanges Chicanos, Latinos, Veracruzanos and Mexican musicians and cultural activists have sustained around son jarocho and the fandango over the last two decades. In 2002, a group of Chicano musicians and artists traveled to the city of Xalapa to meet members of Mono Blanco and Son de Madera, pioneers of the jaranero movement in Veracruz. This encounter represents a key moment in the history of Chicano-Jarocho exchanges as these meetings and conversations resulted in a common agenda to conduct son jarocho workshops and promote fandangos in California and, at the same time, support the activities of cultural centers and son jarocho groups in Veracruz.
More than ten years of engagement and organizing efforts have consolidated a music connection tightly linking Veracruz and California. Musicians and practitioners of son jarocho use this connection as a kind of bridge to travel back and forth promoting the genre and expanding its thematic and sonic horizons. None of this would be possible without an infrastructure of cultural centers, activists and organizers, families and groups in Mexico and the United States, responsible for facilitating the mobility of performers, instruments and musical ideas. Together they are the scaffolding that sustains this bridge.
Cambalache brings together different generations of the Jarocho-Chicano exchange. César Castro learned to play son jarocho as a teenager and still remembers how the cords of the jarana enthralled him: it was "love at first sound." Cesar’s definitive son jarocho training took place under the guidance of Gilberto Gutierrez and Mono Blanco. With Mono Blanco, César learned the son fandanguero and laudería (the craft of instrument making). As a member of the band for over 10 years, he toured ranches, towns and cities in Mexico and other parts of the world, conducting workshops, sharing the stage and participating in countless fandangos. César immigrated to Los Angeles in the mid-2000s for love (what else!) and the excitement of a new life. In Southern California, César is doing what he did in Mexico and more: he coordinates music workshops, teaches son jarocho at schools and universities, he collaborates with Chicano groups like Quetzal, he is an instrument maker and director of Cambalache. César offers the son jarocho community in Los Angeles its very own maestro jaranero.
Xochi Flores comes from a family of Chicano activists and community organizers. Being part of this community-oriented tradition in many ways explains her enthusiasm for son jarocho, but more so for the fandango. Like Xochi, many Mexican and Chicano activists in Los Angeles and beyond have been attracted to the powerful orbit of son jarocho because of the participatory and communal spirit of the fandango. Xochi vividly remembers the first fandango she and her family attended in Tlacotalpan, Veracruz; the smells, sounds and images of women preparing food for that night and of her daughters, Luna and Tona, playing and dancing on the wooden stage, la tarima. What Xochi describes feeling that night is the emotion of being in communion with others, a sentiment son jarocho, fandangos, workshops and practice sessions engender among those who come into contact with this music.
Juan Perez was born, grew up and learned music in East Los Angeles, ground zero of Chicano culture. Like César, Juan turned to music during middle school. His relationship with son jarocho began a decade ago when he participated in Son de Madera’s recording of Las Orquestas del Día, a landmark album in the exchange between Chicano and Jarocho musicians. Juan and César met then and went to La Candelaria, the patron saint festivity of Tlacotalpan, where they played together in the fandango. Watching and listening to Juan play the bass is a unique experience; he evidently is a musician of the highest caliber, able to communicate his personal story and feelings as well as those of others through his instrument.
Manuel de Jesus "Chuy" Sandoval represents, as he himself says, a new generation of jaraneros in California. It is a younger generation that is reaping the fruits of a previous generations’ labor, migrations, many comings and goings and the infrastructure created by the founders of the Chicano-Jarocho dialogue. Unlike other Chicanos, Chuy did not have to travel to Veracruz to experience son jarocho and fandangos. The music and the musicians came to him. Besides being a member of Cambalache, Chuy teaches jarocho workshops in different Chicano cultural centers in Los Angeles and is a guitar instructor for children and youth at various schools in the city.
Cambalache is both an exchange and the fusion of several generations of Chicanos and Jarochos. Its members are dedicated to making good music and building roads and bridges for travelers and future exchanges to grow and multiply.
Una Historia de Fandango, Cambalache’s first album, is a musical project with multiple goals. A central goal is to recognize and acknowledge the tradition of the son and fandango jarochos. Relating to a living tradition, such as son jarocho, is not easy. It starts by developing a deep knowledge and appreciation for the roots of the genre, for the contributions of previous generations, for the styles that the elders still practice, and for all the daily work that must take place so that the nocturnal fandango is a success. This album is an invitation to delve into this tradition, and to open yourself to the fandango and participate in the cambalache, that the son el Buscapiés implores.
Una Historia de Fandango also intends to walk us through the migrations and journeys traveled by son jarocho. The initial journey of this music genre begins in the Atlantic and the Caribbean, the great breeding ground of son jarocho, where trade routes moved not only goods but also people, ideas, culture, music and feelings. As Cambalache’s Balajú tells us, “through the centuries and through travel, things got all mixed” (“con los siglos y los viajes, la cosa quedó revuelta”). We too are products and heirs of these migrations, but in some journeys, we are also the protagonists. The Colás in Una Historia de Fandango describes the migration of son jarocho and the fandango from Veracruz to the Californias and declares that "right there at the border there is a fandango crew" (“allá en la mera línea hay flota fandanguera”).
Finally, Una Historia de Fandango explores other stories; not only those that chronicle histories spanning centuries and continents, but also the personal stories, intimate, small yet monumental for those who live them. The stories of mothers who see their daughters leave home, of young people trying to take off with their own wings, of migrants who take leave, stories of separation and even of the mundane temptations of everyday life. Cambalache’s versions of el Gavilancito, la Gallina, el Canelo, el Palomo y la Paloma and la Iguana all share a common heartbeat. It is not the heroism and stoicism of its protagonists; it is the human condition of these characters as complex beings, happy and sad, full of doubts and strong convictions, erratic but determined to stay on course, nostalgic for past love and hopeful for love to come.
Una Historia de Fandango is an exchange of epic and fleeting, everyday stories, like that of son jarocho, a music genre that has lasted centuries, and of fandangos that only last one night. Let’s get into the Cambalache!



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