The circus music of Oaxaca's Pasatono Orquesta is magical

The World
Pasatono Orquesta in the Mixteca region of Oaxaca, Mexico

Pasatono Orquesta in the Mixteca region of Oaxaca, Mexico

Daniel Robles

Maroma is the new album by the band Pasatono Orquesta from Oaxaca, Mexico. Their music is festive with a touch of nostalgia, like the circus they named their most recent album after.

La Maroma is the name of a circus that's been around for more than a century. Performers travel from village to village.

The travelling circus doesn't include animals or a big top, but has a clown who also serves as a trapeze artist, a comic and a wandering poet. The clown is accompanied by a string band and that's where Pasatono Orquesta comes in.

Pasatono Orquesta reinvent the sounds of an indigenous, village band. They include strings, brass, woodwinds and percussion.

Half of the songs on the band's album include new arragements of this traditional music; the other half are new pieces composed by the band's artistic director Ruben Luengas.

Pasatono Orquesta is made up of nine musicians. I like to think of them as 21st century Oaxacans, who move comforatably between the ancient and modern.

Maroma includes references to Dixieland jazz, melodic lines from Hungary via gypsy caravans as well as Polkas and pasodobles.

I find this video to their song "Obertura Maromero" simply amazing. Enjoy!