Cesar Castro, pioneer of LA musicafusion

Cambalache (from a Spanish word that means “exchange”) , is a group of musicians from East LA — Cesar Castro, Xochi Flores, Juan Sandoval, and Juan Perez.  The group plays Son Jarocho music from Veracruz, Mexico, popular on the Gulf Coast, a cultural region shaped by indigenous and African culture, as well as Spanish.  Cambalache promotes traditional Son Jarocho music that draws the audience in to participate in their performances in the spirit of the fandango, a traditional celebration based on music and dance.  Cesar Castro  founded the band Cambalache in 2007 and leads it today.   A Master Luthier  Sonero and Jarocho  from Veracruz, Mexico,  Castro began very young, studying Son Jarocho at the age of 11 with renowned harpist, Andres Alfonso Vergara. He continued his studies with Gilberto Gutierrez of El Grupo Mono Blanco, and at age, 16, he joined the group formally. With Mono Blanco, Cesar not only travelled through Mexico, the United States and Europe, he began teaching this cultural tradition in community centers, schools and universities in Mexico City and Veracruz. From Gilberto Gutierrez he also learned laudería, the art of making instruments used in the son jarocho tradition.  In 2001, Cesar began working with Chicanos in Los Angeles through a binational Exchange, Fandango Sin Fronteras that forged relationships cultivated through music, focused on building community and awareness through social gatherings, el fandango and participatory performance. In 2003 he moved to LA to teach Son Jarocho and helped form Quetzal, one of LA’s cornerstone, Chicano bands.

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