A Missouri native, David Wax’s love affair with Mexican music took root during the summers he spent South of the Border working with the American Friends Service Committee during college. After graduating from Harvard, he returned to rural Mexico in a year-long fellowship where he began mixing the folk of his Midwest upbringing with traditional Mexican music. Along with fiddler Suz Slezak, Wax has toured as David Wax Museum with The Avett Brothers and the Old 97’s and was the breakout act at The Newport Folk Fest last year.
One of the Son jarocho songs off the band’s upcoming album Everything is Saved (due out Feb. 8), was banned by the Catholic Church centuries ago for suggestive lyrics that were lost until they were rediscovered in an archive 25 years ago.
“Fortunately, the Catholic Church wrote down the words as part of prohibiting the song and proving how licentious it was,” Wax says. “It has now become part of the son jarocho canon.”
“Chuchumbe” is a Senegalese word meaning “bellybutton-to-bellybutton”—the Son jarocho style of Veracruz, Mexico, incorporates the music of African slaves who worked the sugar plantations.
“I love to imagine how this song has traveled from Senegal to Mexico to the Catholic Church’s inquisition archive to the son jarocho canon and now to some Mexo-Americana band in Boston,” says Wax.
You can stream the track above or download it exclusively here.