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How Music Can Build Community: Fandango Fronterizo

Every year since 2008, musicians, dancers, and spectators assemble on either side of the border between San Diego and Tijuana for an annual music event known as the Fandango Fronterizo. This heavily patrolled enforcement zone named Friendship Park, welcomes many Americans and Mexicans for a day of musical celebration even though there’s an 18-foot metal fence separating them.


Fandango Fronterizo shares the music of son jarocho, a traditional form of music from the south of Veracruz which incorporates Spanish, African, and Indigenous influences. It is a lively event with communal participation of people playing instruments such as the jarana, requinto, padero tambourine, quijada, and tarima.

The original idea for Fandango Fronterizo was for the purpose of joining all of the son jarocho musicians in one place where they didn’t have to worry about having documentation to cross into America and friends in America didn’t have to be fearful of the narco-violence then taking place in Tijuana. Today, musicians and friends from both sides continue to share joy, smiles and music as they join in solidarity with their fandango community across the border and prove that even physical barriers cannot break the unifying power of music.


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