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Carnaval San Francisco 2006
GRUPO JARANERO MAYAB
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Listen to a Sample of the Yucatecan Jarana
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Listen to a Sample of the Yucatecan Jarana
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Listen to Traditional Music of Yucatan
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GRUPO JARANERO MAYAB

The Grupo Jaranero Mayab (Mayab Jarana Dance Troupe) is a
community art project that aims to preserve one of the traditions most
loved by men, women, and children across Yucatán: the Yucatecan
Jarana.

The Grupo Jaranero Mayab is a project of Asociacion Mayab that
began in the Spring of 2005 and has continued to meet every Sunday
night since, to enjoy the traditional music and dance of our towns.
Under the protection of our Jarana class, the Maya families of San
Francisco come together to pass on the traditions of our elders to our
young people.

If we could mention one thing that characterizes the indigenous
traditions of the Yucatán Peninsula, it would have to be the Jarana
music and dance.  A fiesta of brightly-colored flowers embroidered on
white ternos and huipiles; immaculate and elegant white suits;
distinguished leather sandals; and refined Panama hats: the Jarana is
the dance of the people of Yucatán.

The music and dance of the Jarana has a long history that dates back
at least two centuries, when we have the first reports of a Yucatecan
party known as the Jarana.  That the Jarana is strongly influenced by
indigenous Maya culture is indisputable, but it is not difficult to see
and hear the influence of many other groups that have come to
Yucatán since the first Europeans disembarked on these lands.  As a
result, the Jarana has Spanish, African, Arab, Cuban, and Chinese
influences that blend into this colorful tradition, making it a perfect mix
of world cultures and traditions.

The traditional dress of the Yucatecan Jarana is the terno.  The
Yucatecan terno is an elegant two-piece huipil made of white cotton,
with a long yoke, and edges of the blouse and skirt embroidered with
colored flowers.  The white, medium-heeled shoes are a key piece for
the women dancing the Yucatecan Jarana.  The terno, along with long
rosaries hanging from the neck, shiny earrings and necklaces,
colorful ribbons and flowers elegantly arranged in the Yucatecan
mestizas’ black hair, and their pride in wearing this beautiful traditional
dress, make the perfect combination of feminine beauty and
indigenous tradition that characterizes the mestizas that dance Jarana
in Yucatán.  The simple, elegant dress of the male Jarana dancer is
comprised by the white guayabera or Philippino shirt, white pants, a
red handkerchief hung from the belt, a Panama hat, and a pair of
white sandals, known as caclis.  The costume is a faithful reflection of
the humble, working-class conditions of indigenous people in
Yucatán.  It is also an example of the simplicity and modesty of the
mestizo, or mazehual, of the mystical lands of the Maya.

Yucatecan Jarana music is always played by an orchestra comprised
of two clarinets, two trumpets, a gϋiro, double bass, and drums.  It is a
rhythm inherited from Europe, mixed with the Mayan influences from
Yucatán, and sprinkled with influences from many other regions such
as Africa, the Middle East, and the Caribbean.

Under the patient instruction of Y
ari Cocom, the Grupo Jaranera
Mayab has grown and become more unified with each new
performance and community celebration.  Members of the community,
children, and adolescents have been integrated into the group.

For some, the Jarana represents a return to their roots, the nostalgia
of nights at the vaqueria in the main squares of Yucatán, while for
others, it represents the first step towards a heritage left behind by
their parents upon coming to this country.  Children and adults come
together to share and preserve their traditions and cultural identity
through the Grupo Jaranero Mayab.