Los Cojolites | Maurer Hall, Old Town School of Folk Music | International | Chicago Reader

Los Cojolites Recommended All Ages Soundboard

When: Wed., Oct. 28, 8:30 p.m. 2009

This combo from the town of Jaltipan in Veracruz, Mexico, was born in 1997 in a workshop devoted to son jarocho—a regional song form that mixes indigenous, Spanish, and African influences. Workshop leader Riccardo Perry Guillen founded Los Cojolites and now serves as its director; some of the band's members were his students, and others learned the music from their families. They've toured the world and contributed to the soundtrack of the film Frida, and their latest album, last year's digital-only No Tiene Fin (Round Whirled), bursts with spirited singing and ragged soul. Fiercely rhythmic jarana and requinto guitars form a cascading lattice atop the driving bass of a stouter guitar called a leona. The songs usually have little percussion other than the stamping of dancers' feet or perhaps the plunking of a marimbol (basically a box drum with oversize marimba keys), in part because a jarana strummed in the rasqueado style can approximate the busy scratching of a guiro. Los Cojolites are already masterful preservationists, and I hope for their next project they'll find a way to transform son jarocho into a living contemporary genre. —Peter Margasak

Price: $5 suggested donation

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