Michoacán, a land of beautiful, sunny weather, was immediately settled by the newcomers, which explains how the dances called "Sones" are "mestizos,"
(mixed in origin: Spanish/Indigenous). The P'urhepecha people, who
inhabit the northern region, are cradled in the mountains surrounding
(meaning "song") is the poetic expression of the P'urhepecha people,
celebrating their lives and appreciating the beauty that surrounds them
and sustains them. They are interpreted by the pirericha (singers), singing solo or in duet, in harmonies of thirds or sixths, and are generally accompanied by guitars playing abajeños (Fast tempo in 6/8 time). Here is an example of a pirekua translated into English, called "Nana Chuchita," which praises this giver of life, Maria Chuchita:
The instruments used for these abajeños are the Violin, the guitar or vihuela (a smaller, higher-pitched guitar) and bass, all of which demonstrate Spanish influence. It could be said that the huaraches,
which are the sandals that the dancers wear, are musical instruments as
well, since the footwork is an absolutely essential part of this music.
However, though the musical instruments are influenced by the Spanish,
the sandals, the dance, the mask, the humor and vitality are ancient,
and purely P'urhepecha.
May your awakening be peaceful.
Today, your Purembe People come to sing.
Your People greet you with tender affection,
Flower, beautiful dawn of Michoacán.
You are, María Chuchita, our comfort,
Let time never separate you from us.
Flores (translated as Waterfall
of flowers) presented a humble
"sprinkle" of dance and song
from the beautiful P'urhepecha area in the
state of Michoacán, for the San Jose performances of People Like Me 2000. Their medley consisted of a song (pirekua)
and two dances: La Danza de Los Viejitos (Dance of the old men),
was also danced with masks, and Los
Sembradores (those who sow seeds).
"La Danza de
los Viejitos" is an ancient tradition of the P'urepecha.
It is "the dance
of the little old men" that was done even before the
Spanish arrived to
México. There are hundreds of regional variations
of this dance! It is
usually performed by the youth, who imitate older
people with very humorous
movements and masks, dancing heavy, fairly
difficult footwork while bending
over, using a cane. Of course, as
dancers, they are not making fun of older
people, but honoring them.
In México, elders are the center of the
community; people go
to them when they have difficulties, and appreciate
them for their
wisdom and experience. This dance is a way for the youth to
In People Like Me 2000, Ensambles Ballet Folklórico de San Francisco
performed dances from
the warm and tropical region of Michoacán called
Apatzingan, where the folk songs and
dances ideally celebrate their
happiness, and a deep connection to
life and nature.
The dances and songs they presented are "Sonajas" (rattle dances),
Jarabes or Jarabillos, and Diana, which are all known as Sones antiguos
Michoacán, (Old traditional songs of Michoacán). The
scenes that we see in
these sones antiguos are based on the celebration
of the harvest, joy and
thanksgiving for the work that has been completed.
This explains the
dancers' motives for their movements expressing gladness
These dances and music could be witnessed during the celebration
"Virgin de Acahuato," the patron saint, celebrated on February
2, or during
the feria de Apatzingán. Sones antiguos de Michoacán
have sounds and
footwork called zapateo influenced by the jota and
sarabanda from Spain.
The zapateo is done by stamping the feet in time
with the music. The
jarabes also contain descansos (rests) in the music
and dance, at which
time the music slows down and the zapateo is replaced
by walking gracefully
in time with the music. For stage and choreographic
purposes, the walking
is done by more elaborate movements of the body,
including faldeo (skirt
movements), with barefoot girls in swirling
skirts keeping time to the