Known affectionately as la Negra Graciana, harp player and vocalist Graciana Silva is one of the leading purveyors of son jarocho, an uplifting, African-influenced, musical style originating in Veracruz and best known as the setting of the Mexican anthem "La Bamba." With her giant harp accompanied by six-stringed guitar, jarana (eight-stringed) guitar, and requinto (four-stringed) guitar, Silva continued to inspire dancing with her command of the foot stomping zapateado dance rhythms. A native of Veracruz, a small city near the Papaloapan River, Silva began studying the harp at the age of ten. She performed her earliest shows in Boca Del Rio Park, accompanied by her father on jarana guitar and brother, Carolitos, on violin. While other members of her family went on to tour throughout Mexico, she was determined to remain close to home, performing for years in Veracruz's plazas. Silva's first steps towards a wider following came with the release of her album, Son Jarocho, in 1994. Recorded with her older brother, Pino, on jarana guitar and second vocals and Maria Elena Huerta on second harp and vocal harmonies, the album included such traditional tunes as "Lagua Camaya" and "La Morena." Two years later she performed for the first time in the United Kingdom.
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