Mexican folk band based in Santa Ana proudly carries on traditions of social justice

SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) -- For nearly three decades, members of a Santa Ana-based Mexican folk music group, Son Del Centro, have been advocates for social justice.

Their music is rooted in the Gulf Coast region of Mexico. The genre was born when Spanish, Indigenous and African cultures came together more than 500 years ago.

"One of the first things you notice when you see someone playing son is the stringed instruments, which came on Spanish boats into Veracruz, into the port. African people stolen from their lands were brought in," said Angel Juarez, Son Del Centro member. "And many of them would stay. This was a huge impact on the area culturally. Son jarocho is very reflective of that."

Juarez said the music is about resistance.

"We use son jarocho to reclaim our identities. We sing about our struggles the same way that son jarocho was originally used," Juarez said.

Many of the songs that are played are hundreds of years old.

"So we take these songs that were passed on from generations ago and put our own lyrics, and obviously we put our own style," said Juarez.

Juarez is hopeful they can return to their performances with large groups of people.

"We'd play at Dia de los Muertos in downtown Santa Ana, There's that hope and glimmer that we can once again like have fandangos, which are larger gatherings where everyone brings their instruments, food and their voices," said Juarez. "Their voices to sing and share and collaborate."

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