Gregorio Rodríguez Orozco
I was born in Celaya, in the State of Guanajuato in Mexico. After studying classical guitar in Guadalajara, in the State of Jalisco, I have lived and worked in France for 13 years. My journey has made me especially curious about the diversity of traditional music in the world. Recently, during a trip for personal research and music in the South of the Mexico, I spent time in the village of Santiago Tuxtla, in the State of Veracruz. Here, a very strong oral musical tradition vibrates, called the “son jarocho”.
Gregorio Rodríguez Orozco with villagers
This musical tradition is alive throughout the State of Veracruz, but the style differs according to the villages. In Santiago Tuxtla, I was surprised to discover an incredible expertise in lute-making. All the instrument makers are musicians. Each instrument (jaranas, requintos, etc.) is unique, crafted by hand. Each village in the region has its own sound, and the “son jarocho” of Santiago Tuxtla is an important testament to the village’s history and its inhabitants.
During the “fandangos”, the entire village expresses itself through music.
In recent years, the concern to transmit and safeguard the musical culture of the “son jarocho” is very strong. A few village elders go to the village square each day to transmit music to the younger population. But, others have already abandoned the effort, resigned to the effects of globalization and the loss of traditions.
Santiago Tuxtla village square
To learn the “son jarocho” means learning to play, sing and dance. Throughout the region, several groups of young musicians have formed and are continuing the tradition; others are modernizing it. Several festivals of the “son jarocho” have been established these past years.
However, Santiago Tuxtla is one of the very poor villages of the region, and does not have the same aura as other villages that have experienced a tourist craze for their “son jarocho” festivals. It seems essential to find a way to highlight the lives and work of this village as well. And finally, the social and cultural influence of a musical tradition like the "son jarocho" in Santiago Tuxtla should be supported and valued across the borders of the state and country. Unquestionably in my case, music has allowed me to learn and grow, to open my mind, to travel across borders, to go toward others, and to the unknown.
Gregorio Rodríguez Orozco, our Key Player for Mexico, is a musician and teacher. He studied classical guitar in Mexico at the University of Guadalajara and in France at the National School of Music, Dance and Theatre in Villeurbanne. For the last 15 years, he has divided his time between artistic projects, often multidisciplinary, where he has performed, arranged and/or composed music. Amongst others, he has worked with the early Mexican music group Volta, with the choreographer Maryann Perrone, and lately, with the traditional Mexican music group Andariego. He also teaches music in and around Lyon, France.
Here is one example of the project titled 'This is my Neighborhood'.
It's a starting point for working with Gregorio Rodríguez Orozco to develop the materials and media that will help us understand and present the cultural evolution, current state, and future plans for this village.