By Adam Lovinus
By Lilledeshan Bose
By Gabriel San Roman
By Rachel Mattice
By Stephanie Zacharek
By Daniel Kohn
By Nate Jackson
By Mike Seeley
"Yo le cantó a la Bamba/Yo le cantó a la Bamba porqué se que es el himno/Porque se que es el himno de Veracruz y arriba y arriba!" (I sing to the Bamba/I sing to the Bamba because I know it's the hymn/Because I know it's the hymn of Veracruz and faster and faster!)
An onrush of jaranas and quijanas and singing and tapping became like a living thing that absorbed the dimly lit parking lot. The crowd tapped their feet, drummed their fingers on any flat surface. Some joined the dancers on the tarima and stomped; others grabbed jaranas and clumsily jammed.
It was "La Bamba" as it should be: unique yet the same, and still relevant. Son del Centro slowed only enough to allow each member to improvise a new lyric. Each did so effortlessly, mixing jokes and puns while keeping a frenetic, hypnotic pace.
Near the end came the climax—not the "bamba, bamba" muttered by too many musicians, but the following decima:
"Le cantamos a la Bamba para que vea que somos de la gente/Que somos de la gente presevando cultura/Presevando cultura pa' que no se los muera/Pa' que no se los muera le hechamos ganas aquí en SanTana" (We sing "La Bamba" so it can be seen we're of the people/That we're of the people preserving culture/Preserving culture so it won't die/So it won't die, we try hard here in SanTana).
The crowd roared; Son del Centro played faster and faster. And all the while, de la Rocha smiled like the happiest man on Earth, a man at peace.
To hear tracks from Son del Centro's Mi Jarana es mi Fusil, click here.