Juan Díes was raised in San Luis Potosi, Mexico where he first developed a passion for music, learning to play the guitar at age six. At age 18, he migrated to the U.S. and explored new musical styles including jazz, folk, reggae, and rock. He majored in Music and Anthropology at Earlham College and received an M.A. in Folklore/Ethnomusicology from Indiana University. He taught and studied music in Mexico, Spain, and Kenya, served as Director of Community Programs for Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music (1993-2005), and co-founded Sones de Mexico with Victor Pichardo in 1994. He performs mostly on bass and acts as the group’s main narrator; he has contributed some of the arrangements and has produced all of the ensemble’s CDs. He also administrates the business and serves as the ensemble’s Executive Director. Active in the community, Juan has volunteered for the boards of NARAS, Folk Alliance and the CSO, served in various municipal, state and national grant panels, and done independent fieldwork research for the Smithsonian, NEA, Montgomery County Arts Council (MD), and Lowell Folk Festival (MA).
The mission of Sones de México Ensemble is to educate, research, preserve, arrange, present, perform, and disseminate Mexican folk and traditional music and dance to children and adults of all nationalities, physical abilities, and cultural and ethnic backgrounds.
Chicago’s premier folk music ensemble specializing in Mexican ‘son’ including the regional styles of huapango, gustos, chilenas, son jarocho, and more. The group formed in 1994 to keep the tradition of Mexican ‘son’ alive in its many regional forms. As a performer and recording artist, the ensemble has developed and popularized many original arrangements of Mexican traditional tunes touring mostly in the Midwest, East Coast and Southern U.S. Some of its original work has experimented cross-culturally with symphonic, Irish, folk, C&W, jazz, and rock music, though never abandoning its roots in Mexican son. Also a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization, the ensemble is committed to teaching. The ensemble members reach out to young and old with many of its educational programs nationwide.
For More Information check out Sones De Mexico's Website: http://sonesdemexico.com/