The Enchancting Sounds of Veracruz

Probably the best place "off the beaten track” to visit is Puerto de Veracruz. This charming colonial town has some of the best coffeehouses and musical traditions that you will find in Mexico.

The traditional musical style of Veracruz is known as Son Jarocho. It is a blend of Spanish, African, and indigenous musical elements. Bands consist of two string instruments similar to small guitars, a hand-held percussion instrument, and a singer. Lyrics for songs are usually humorous or bawdy, although they will occasionally touch on love or ranch life from the 19th century.

When you do get the chance to listen to son Jarocho, you may be surprised to find that it sounds somewhat familiar. The style was popularised to the masses by Ritchie Valens. If Ritchie’s name doesn’t ring a bell, perhaps the song La Bamba does? La Bamba is a classic example of Son Jarocho.

As mentioned before, this music is best heard in local cafés and coffeehouses where locals come to relax, hang out, and chat. The best known establishments are Gran Café del Porta and the Café de la Parroquia. Customers here will clink the sides of their glasses (not cups!) with their spoons for refills. The musical sound of clinking can be heard from early morning to late evening and is a fun custom that visitors are more than welcome to take part in.