Center For Arts & Equity

Caña Dulce y Caña Brava

During the summer of 2007, the Encuentro de Jaraneras in Tuxtepec, Oaxaca (an area that culturally pertains to the Sotavento), brought together Adriana Cao Romero and Raquel Palacios Vega to form a duet. Motivated by their passion for the music, their lifelong friendship, and their desire to create a new sound – one defined by their sensibility and their manner of viewing the world – they aimed to create a musical space in which they felt unrestrained. Their idea was to allow the nuances of their instruments to be heard and to sing poetic versada from the feminine perspective. They wanted to demonstrate that there exist other ways of playing son jarocho. They assumed that this new proposition to gather women soneras would bring together others with similar ambitions, but to their surprise, there were no other all-female groups in the festival.

There, amongst the plains and the southern paths, the aroma of molasses permeated their sense of smell, and the wind that combed the flowers of the cañales (fields of sugar cane) caressed their faces. Inspired by Patricio Hidalgo and Chuchumbé´s son “La Caña”, they found a name that very much represented their project, one that plays with the concept of dualities, while alluding metaphorically to the complements in life, the history of the sotavento in Veracruz and the jarocha culture. Sugar cane – glory and martyrdom for rural farmers – is cultivated and harvested with such difficulty, yet also sweetens and intoxicates one’s life. The name “Caña Dulce y Caña Brava” seemed befitting as it served as an anchor to their land of origin, filling them with memories of their childhood and even a bit of nostalgia. After all, only a few years earlier, they had migrated to Mexico City with the conviction of finding professional opportunities.

With the passing of time, the consistent search to expand, diversify and enrich the sound of the group has carried Adriana and Raquel to share the project with different musicians, in particular with women.

Caña Dulce y Caña Brava has had the fortune of sharing their musical offerings in several mexican states and in various countries worldwide, representing the culture of the sotavento of Veracruz in Turkey, South Africa, Canada, South Korea, Jamaica, Guyana, the United States, Venezuela, Denmark, Portugal, France, etc.. This has permitted them to meet and exchange with a great diversity of artists, allowing them to discover several similarities in the determination of other women worldwide to claim and defend activities within their own cultures and traditions.

The group has collaborated in concerts and recordings with several artists who are considered representatives of Mexican music, enriching their interpretations of the sones from Veracruz and helping to expose this musical genre to new, diverse audiences. Such artists include Lila Downs, María Inés Ochoa, and La Marisoul y La Santa Cecilia, amongst others.

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