Music mixes it up

Jacob Lane · Wednesday, April 16, 2014
It was a Mexican musical mash last Thursday, April 10, as Sones de México took the community on a massive musical tour in the West Liberty High School Auditorium.

"The music we play is not on the radio," group member Juan Dies told the audience, "It's from small communities throughout Mexico. Tonight we're going to give you a taste."

The grammy nominated group of five spent the last two days in West Liberty. It performed twice for the elementary school and taught music. It also performed at the middle and high schools.

Based out of Chicago, Sones de México was brought to West Liberty via the University of Iowa and the Hancher Auditorium.

"We have been blessed by Sones de México at the school," said Superintendent Steve Hanson before the performance.

The WL community was invited to watch the group play through music from various regions of Mexico on Thursday. A map was handed out before the performance to help everyone follow along.

It started in Mexico City, a city that predates its own country. The stage was littered with instruments of all shapes and sizes.

Instruments ranged from traditional leg shakers, conk shells and ocarinas, flutes that sounded like wind to the more current guitars, violins and the Mexican folk harp.

The group really let go with "La Marcha de Zacatecas," which Dies referred to as the second anthem of Mexico.

They touched on musical styles from the regions of Norte, Mariachi, Tepalcatepc and Veracruz. Mariachi is where where mariachi music originated, while Veracruz has an African influence.

After the first half of the performance was finished, the group played a 45 minute concert of its own music for the audience. It also sold CDs and conversed with its fans.

The event was well received by the community, especially the Latino population. Many of the auditorium's seats were filled for the concert.

Sones de México is Spanish for "sounds of Mexico." The group formed in 1994 to keep the tradition of Mexican "son" alive. In fact, it celebrated its 20th anniversary in West Liberty on Wednesday, April 9.

"Son" is a genre of Mexican folk music based on stringed instruments and dance. It varies from region to region in Mexico and is based off of Spanish Baroque music.

Thanks to a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the group travels all over Iowa and outside of the state to spread Mexican music.
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