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This weekend a sensational country band arrives in Chicago. No, not Keith Urban. On Saturday, November 11, Jose Gutierrez & Los Hermanos Ochoa, a son jarocho group from Veracruz, Mexico, plays as part of the Festival de Son Mexicano at the Old Town School of Folk Music. On 2003's La Bamba: Sones Jarochos From Veracruz (Smithsonian Folkways), Jose and his brothers Marcos and Felipe bring a driving energy to the centuries-old style, playing the harp, the jarana (a thin-bodied guitar with eight strings, three of them in pairs), and the requinto jarocho (a thin-bodied guitar with four-strings), and singing with urgent passion and wonderfully ragged harmonies. These guys play at breakneck velocity, but the speed doesn't impede the clarity and precision of their lines.
You can hear some audio samples here. (If you don’t want to bother you should at least know that this discipline is one of the rural Mexican sources for the music of Los Lobos.) Also performing is Marimba Nandayapa, a marimba group from Chiapas, and local pan-Mexican folk ensemble Sones de Mexico. The shows are at 7 and 10 PM.