Jarana Beat Weaves Footwork With Mexican Rhythms

Music from Mexico is often associated with mariachi bands playing songs in wide-rimmed hats and colorful costumes. But Mexico's music is more diverse. Jarana Beat is a Brooklyn-based band that weaves traditional Mexican rhythms with fancy footwork. Dancer Claudia Valentina and musical director Sinuhe-Padilla Isunza speak with host Michel Martin.

Copyright © 2011 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, we go behind closed doors for a look at common police interrogation techniques. There's a new documentary called "Scenes of a Crime" that asks whether these techniques, even though legal, can actually lead to false confessions. That conversation in a few minutes.

But first, we're going to take a little music break. We want to bring you an interesting mix of Mexican rhythms.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

JARANA BEAT: (Singing in Spanish Language).

MARTIN: That is Jarana Beat, a 14 member band that is known for interweaving traditional Mexican rhythms with the percussive footwork of dancers to create an authentic yet contemporary sound.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

BEAT: (Singing in Spanish Language).

MARTIN: We're going to hear now from musical director, Sinuhe-Padilla Isunza and one of their dancers, Claudia Valentina, as they tell us more about their music.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SINUHE-PADILLA ISUNZA: Jarana Beat is a project, and we play a lot of different music from Mexico, like Native American music, Afro Mexican music, gypsy Mexican music.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "Y NADA MAS")

BEAT: (Singing in Spanish Language).

ISUNZA: You are listening "Y Nada Mas." "Y Nada Mas" means, and nothing more.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "Y NADA MAS")

BEAT: (Singing in Spanish Language).

CLAUDIA VALENTINA: Hi. I am Claudia Valentina Montez and I am one of the dancers in Jarana Beat. We use a lot of percussive footwork in our songs. That footwork is usually done on a wooden platform and we use shoes that are similar to flamenco shoes.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "Y NADA MAS")

VALENTINA: Our footwork weaves itself into the music and we usually play around with the rhythms, so it becomes one cohesive sound and, in our performances, we usually have six dancers that are not only performing along with the musicians with their feet, but they're also playing jaranas and singing background vocals.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "Y NADA MAS")

BEAT: (Singing in Spanish Language).

MARTIN: You've been listening to the music of Jarana Beat.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "Y NADA MAS")

BEAT: (Singing in Spanish Language).

Copyright © 2011 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.