Sones de México Ensemble Chicago

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Sones de México Ensemble Chicago is a Chicago, United States, folk music group that specializes in the Mexican musical tradition known as son.[1]

Sones de México Ensemble Chicago formed in 1994 to keep the Mexican son tradition alive in its many regional forms, including the regional styles of huapango, gustos, chilenas, and son jarocho, among others. As performers and recording artists, the ensemble has developed and popularized many original arrangements of Mexican traditional tunes touring mostly in the Midwest, East Coast and Southern U.S. Some of its original work has experimented cross-culturally with symphonic, Irish, folk, country, jazz, and rock music, though never abandoning its roots in Mexican son.[2]

Also a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization, the ensemble is committed to teaching. The ensemble members reach out to young and old with many of their educational programs nationwide.[3]

Sones de México's album Esta Tierra Es Tuya (This Land Is Your Land) was nominated both for a Latin Grammy for Best Folk Album of 2007 and for a Grammy for Best Mexican/Mexican-American Album. The title song is the group's translation of the Woody Guthrie song, with some slight modifications for the Mexican immigrant context. That album also included arrangements of J.S. Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 and of Led Zeppelin's instrumental Four Sticks, with most of the remaining nine pieces being traditional, all played "on over 50 all-acoustic instruments from México".[1][4][5][6][7]

In 2010 Sones de México marked the 100th anniversary of the Mexican Revolution with its ¡Viva la Revolución! album.[8] In 2012, their album 13 B’ak’tun celebrated "the beginning of a new era according to the Mayan calendar".[9] Starting in 2014, with the help of a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the group created the musical/educational program A Musical Geography of Mexico.[10][11] In 2016, Sones de México developed and performed their soundtrack to Sergei Eisenstein’s unfinished silent film ¡Que Viva Mexico!.[12]

When Esta Tierra Es Tuya was being recorded, Sones de México consisted of Victor Pichardo (music director), Juan Díes (CEO and producer), Zacbé Pichardo (son of Victor Pichardo), Lorena Iñiguez, Javier Saume, and Juan Rivera. In 2014, Victor Pichardo left to return to his native Mexico. By February 2017, the group consisted of Díes, Iñiguez, Zacbé Pichardo, Gonzalo Cordova, Eric Hines, and Rudy Piñon.[1][13]

Discography - Albums[edit]

All self-released by Sones de México Ensemble Chicago, on CD and download:

  • ¡Que Florezca! (Let it Bloom) (1996)
  • Fandango on 18th Street (2002)
  • Esta Tierra Es Tuya (This Land is Your Land) (2007)
  • Fiesta Mexicana (a children’s album) (2010)
  • ¡Viva la Revolución! (2010)
  • 13 B’ak’tun (2012-2013)


  1. ^ a b c "Sones de México Ensemble - Education - Records". Retrieved February 14, 2017. 
  2. ^ "Sones de México: Un ensemble muy de Chicago" (in Spanish). Univision. August 6, 2012. Retrieved February 14, 2017. 
  3. ^ Ernest Barteldes (June 22, 2010). "Fiesta for All: Sones de Mexico Ensemble teaches the traditions". Newcity. Retrieved February 14, 2017. 
  4. ^ Renée Montaigne (November 8, 2007). "Mexican Folk in the Heart of Chicago". National Public Radio: Morning Edition. Retrieved February 14, 2017. 
  5. ^ Juan Díes (2007), Esta Tierra Es Tuya: Production Notes [enclosure with album CD] 
  6. ^ Aaron Cohen (September 18, 2014). "Sones De Mexico's polite sonic insurrection". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved February 14, 2017. 
  7. ^ "A chat with Sones de México's Juan Diés [sic]". Connect Savannah. September 23, 2008. Retrieved February 14, 2017. 
  8. ^ Teresa Puente (Chicanísima Chicago) (November 16, 2010). "Sones de Mexico celebrates the Mexican Revolution at the House of Blues". ChicagoNow. Retrieved February 14, 2017. 
  9. ^ Kelly Milionis (November 9, 2012). "Happy Ending: Sones de México Ensemble Celebrates Sonic Renewal and the Real Meaning of the Mayan Calendar with 13 B'ak'tun". Chicago Music Magazine. Retrieved February 14, 2017. 
  10. ^ Daniel Fiddler (October 7, 2014). "Brought Back by the Sounds of Mexico". The Independent, of Northeastern Illinois University. Retrieved February 14, 2017. 
  11. ^ "Sones De Mexico Ensemble Awarded A $30,000 NEA Grant". Music Industry News Network. December 8, 2015. Retrieved February 14, 2017. 
  12. ^ "Sones De México Ensemble Celebrates Mexico, Anniversary of Navy Pier". Lawndale [Chicago] News. March 31, 2016. Retrieved February 14, 2017. 
  13. ^ Howard Dukes (April 4, 2008). "Sones de Mexico keep traditions alive". South Bend Tribune. Retrieved February 14, 2017.