Jacobo: Musical Parents

Jacobo. Faces of the Festival 2019. Steven Meckler photo

I’m of Mexican descent, but I play music from all over Latin America. I started with the guitar, but from there, I started playing charango, the South American 10-string Andean instrument. I also play the flute, the quena (a traditional Andean flute), and the panpipes. I was introduced to that music with those instruments when I was 14 years old. It was music for social change, protest music, and that was intriguing to me. I had a band for 30 years called Bwiya-Toli; we played Chilean music. Now I play with Tradiciones — we’re three Peruvians, a Colombian, two Mexicans, and two people from Tucson. I owe it all to my father and mother. My mom was always singing. She would be washing clothes, hanging clothes on the line, and she’d be singing all the time and that was just beautiful to me. On the weekends my dad would put his records on, like Carlos Gardel’s Argentine tango and classical music and Bolero artists from all over. As kids, my brothers and I would say, ‘Oh, here he goes, playing his music.’ And then, guess what? It stuck.


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