El Son del Pueblo is a duet that performs the folk music of Veracruz, Mexico. The duet is comprised of John Robles, a native of Santa Paula, California, who sings and plays the Veracruz folk harp (arpa jarocha), jarana and requinto jarocho and Jorge Mijangos, who was born in San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico who sings and plays various sizes of jarana jarocha as well as percussion.
The \'Son Jarocho\' developed in the southern portion of the Mexican state of Veracruz. Southern Spanish influences on the music include the harmonic structure, verse forms and the use of stringed instruments, unknown in Mexico until the arrival of the Spaniards. African influences are evident in the syncopated rhythmic patterns of the son jarocho. African styles were brought to Latin America with slaves as well as from Spain itself (North Africans controlled Muslim Iberia before the Christian re-conquest created the Spanish nation), and many contemporary jarocho musicians are African-Mexicans. Evidence of African singing characteristics includes choral and individual call and response to a lead singer, slurring or bending of the notes and a sarcastic or irreverent attitude.
While Indian influence is more difficult to identify, one characteristic is the frequent choice of animals as lyrical themes. Prior to the Spanish arrival, animals symbolized deities and divine forces in indigenous religions. Son jarocho lyrics depict the iguana, the hawk, the woodpecker, etc., and give these animals human characteristics. The end result is a very ebullient, exciting music, typically with a bright 6/8 rhythm. The son jarocho is very popular in Ballet Folklorico performances, where the women dress in full white lace dresses with black embroidered aprons, typical of those used in Andalucia, Spain. The staccato dance style is reminiscent of the Flamenco style, and the son jarocho is just as lively as Flamenco music.
The mission of El Son del Pueblo is to diffuse the traditional music of Veracruz to the widest possible audience, and in so doing spread an awareness and appreciation of the culture of Mexico. El Son del Pueblo also wishes to educate the public about the variety of regional styles of Mexican music, of which the Mariachi tradition, while it may be the most universally recognized, is only a part.