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  • Festival Soundbite: A Little "La Bamba"

    Russell Rodriguez and Ramón Gutiérrez (left) in The Studio. Photo by Ying Diao
    Russell Rodriguez and Ramón Gutiérrez (right) in The Studio. Photo by Ying Diao

    “La Bamba” by Ramón Gutiérrez and Russell Rodriguez

    Over the first three days of the Folklife Festival, Ramón Gutiérrez worked away in The Studio to build a requinto jarocho, a string instrument native to Veracruz, Mexico. On the fourth day, he finished the instrument and immediately launched into song.

    Joined by Alliance for California Traditional Arts program manager Russell Rodriguez, the two quickly attracted a crowd with their son jarocho style.  A couple of minutes into “La Bamba,” an audience member jumped onto the tarima (wooden platform) behind them, adding the rhythm of zapateado (percussive dance). Ramón and Russell turned in surprise to see their accompanist, and joyously continued.

    Catch Ramón building more instruments in the Sounds of California program until July 4. The Folklife Festival continues July 7 to 10.

    Elisa Hough is the editor for the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage.

    The 2016 Sounds of California Smithsonian Folklife Festival program was co-produced with the Alliance for California Traditional Arts, Radio Bilingüe, the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, and the Smithsonian Latino Center.

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