The Son Jarocho and Fandango Amidst Struggle and Social Movements: Migratory Transformation and Reinterpretation of the Son Jarocho in La Nueva España, México, and the United States

This dissertation is a study on the son jarocho and its fandango as a migratory and transformative musical culture between nations and social circumstances. The son jarocho embodies tradition in many cultural practices of society, such as its presence at social rites and at fandangos. However, there exist hidden histories, transcripts of resistance not accounted for in M�xico’s official history, of the son jarocho as music of struggle and protest. From censorship, punishment, and imprisonment of son jarocho musicians and dancers during the Holy Inquisition of eighteenth and nineteenth century New Spain (M�xico), to solidarity exchanges in Zapatista rebel camps in the 1990s, the son jarocho functions as a musical demand for social justice and lyrically picaresque resistance. The son jarocho’s resistance roots is embedded in this music as it migrates into the United States.

I trace the historical trajectory of the son jarocho in California as a way to understand how it was shaped before its present use as music of struggle and protest. The son jarocho began to emerge in the United States during the post-World War II period of 1940s California. Migrant musicians from M�xico, Chicanos, and White Americans introduced the son jarocho into universities, the film industry, processional recordings, concert venues, restaurants, and theme parks. Ensembles formed by Andr�s Huesca, Los Tigres de la Sierra, and Conjunto Papaloapan were amongst the earliest son jarocho groups to develop in California between the 1940s and 1960s. By the 1970s, the son jarocho exists within the Chicano Movement as a reinterpreted foundational music of Los Lobos del Este de Los Angeles. Participants of the Chicano Movement and the United Farm Workers embraced the music of Los Lobos del Este de Los Angeles as a cultural expression to musically support efforts of social justice.

Reclaiming the historical roots of the son jarocho as music of resistance and protest, the jaranera and jaranero movement is a prominent presence in social justice movements in the United States. From my observation, since the early 2000s, this music became a common soundtrack for marches, fasts, and protests for immigration reform, worker’s rights demonstrations, the Occupy Wall Street Movement, and anti-militarization protests such as the School of the Americas Watch vigil held annually at Fort Benning, Georgia. By looking into the resistance roots of the son jarocho during M�xico’s colonial period, gathering oral histories from pioneering musicians in California, and participant-observation in social movements in Los Angeles and Washington, DC, the objective of my research traces how the son jarocho and its fandango migrates and transforms within social and cultural movements.