Cambalache in concert
MECA's annual Valentine's serenade to the community brings the sounds of son jarocho, traditional music from the Sotavento - the southern part of Veracruz state, Mexico - to Houston audiences. The traditional music of Veracruz is among the most prominent of regional Mexican music and was made famous by artists including Andrés Huesca and Lino Chávez y el Conjunto Medellín, as well as Grupo Mono Blanco and Son de Madera more recently. Son jarocho has been popular within the Chicano community going back to the 1950s with Richie Valens, later with Los Lobos, and is today a part of the soundtrack for Latino communities from coast to coast, influencing the music of popular Chicano groups and artists, such as Quetzal, Zach de la Rocha, Ozomatli, Maneja Beto, and Las Cafeteras.
Cambalache is a group of musicians from East Los Angeles, playing roots music from Veracruz, Mexico. Through its musical director, César Castro, they have become the cornerstone group in the U.S. representing this genre with performances up and down the West Coast, as well as across the country, including the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. Castro - a former member of both Mono Blanco and Quetzal - and his band mates have created a vital musical sound that both maintains the contemporary tradition of son jarocho but also reflects the cultural legacy of the East L.A. music scene. Cambalache is about to release their second album, Constelación de Sonidos, that wades deep into the many cultural and musical influences upon both son jarocho and Chicano music.