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  • Interview with Ludovico Blanco Enriquez / Una Entrevista con Ludovico Blanco Enriquez
  • Charles H. Rowell, Marcus Jones, and Florentino Flores Castro
  • Interview with Ludovico Blanco Enriquez
  • Charles H. Rowell, Marcus Jones, and Florentino Flores Castro

This interview was recorded in February 20, 2007, in Mata Clara, Veracruz, Mexico.

ROWELL: You are a musician. Which instrument do you play, and how long have you played it?

ENRIQUEZ: I have been playing the harp for twenty-seven years. I play with a band, called a "jarocho" band.

ROWELL: What is the origin of "jarocho" as a musical form?

ENRIQUEZ: Jarocha is the music of Veracruz. We have been playing it for more than 100 years because of a tradition that takes place on December 24. We go around the entire town playing psalms dedicated to the baby Jesus, during what we call Christmas advent.

JONES: And where do you do this?

ENRIQUEZ: Here in town. We go from house to house as long as we can, from December 24 through December 25.

ROWELL: And do you play this music at other times of the year?

ENRIQUEZ: Yes. Some of our predecessors compiled the town traditions. We celebrate the town festival on October 4.

JONES: But do you only play on October 4 and in December, or also during other times of the year?

ENRIQUEZ: No, our jarocho band is available for any occasion: fifteenth-birthday celebrations and weddings.

ROWELL: Is this music played only in Mata Clara or also in other cities? [End Page 117]

ENRIQUEZ: The tradition of playing on the 24th is specific to here.

ROWELL: Do you know the origin of this music?

ENRIQUEZ: There used to be some musicians from here, but they've passed away. This musical tradition has appealed to me since I was a boy. It stayed with me and, when I got older, I learned to play the harp with the intention of keeping alive the ancestors' tradition. But the tradition has been around for a bit over 100 years. It's the tradition of what we have here in town. It's not customary in other places-only here.

JONES: But the harp isn't a traditional Mexican instrument.

ENRIQUEZ: It's authentic, from Veracruz. Jarocho music is Veracruz's music. For instance, in Oaxaca, the traditional music is band music. In Jalisco and that entire region, it's "mariachi" music. There's also "norteño" music. But Veracruz's music is "jarocho"; Veracruz's music is the festive sound of the harp. That's what's needed to make a jarocho band. What makes a band authentic jarocho and what makes us authentic are the songs that are made by singing verses about a person's physical features.

JONES: And do you sing?

ENRIQUEZ: Yes. There are three of us who make up the band called "Ecos del Papaloapa," and we all sing.

JONES: Can you sing a little bit from a particular song?


Praising Godis the most important.Praising Godis the most important.

After we praise HimWe can sing.After we praise HimWe can sing.

Oranges and limesLimes and lemons.Oranges and limesLimes and lemons.

More beautiful is the Virgin MaryThan all of the flowers. [End Page 118] More beautiful is the Virgin MaryThan all of the flowers.

Those are the psalms that we sing almost the entire night. That's what the local traditional song sounds like. Besides those of us in the band, a lot of people follow us and we all sing. There are six to ten of us who go from house to house. We all sing the psalms, which are dedicated to the birth of Christ.

ROWELL: This is traditional music. Do young people listen to jarocho and learn to perform it?

ENRIQUEZ: Yes, they already know the songs and the psalms because they've heard us singing. The majority of people know the psalms, how we should sing, how to arrive at a house, how to leave, etc.

JONES: And is there a school where this is taught?

ENRIQUEZ: No, but there's the Cultural Arts Center in Cordoba. There you can learn how to...


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