Catalina Maria Johnson

International radio broadcaster, bilingual cultural journalist, music curator

By Catalina Maria Johnson

In the mid-1990s, Toronto visual artist and musician Alec Dempster returned to his homeland, Mexico, and discovered son jarocho, a folk music genre that was born in the 17th century the Veracruz region of Mexico in the cultural collision of Indigenous, African and European peoples.

In addition to exploring the musical culture through the music group Café con Pan, Dempster has published Lotería Jarocha, a book that collects a series of linoleum prints each depicting a traditional song in the genre.

Dempster is visiting Chicago along with Café con Pan to share the music at a concert well as to launch the book on Tuesday, Sept. 24, at 7pm  at the Metzli Cultural Center on 2005 S. Blue Island Ave. in Pilsen, as Café con Pan has strong ties with the Chicago son jarocho community.

We had a chance to visit with Dempster and learn about both the art and the music of this ancient music which has been transplanted and has developed strong roots in all the major cities of the U.S.A., including Chicago.