Sunny Son

It came from Veracruz


Son jarocho is the regional music of Veracruz, Mexico — a traditional sound using the jarana (small guitar), arpa (indigenous harp), and hand percussion. The songs encapsulate the realities of the jarochos, the country folk of the region, and use the verse structure of the Spanish decima as well as African call-and-response. The vibrant, up-tempo 6/8 meter is best characterized by “La Bamba,” the most famous song in this regional style. Since the 1990s a son jarocho revivalist movement, led by folklorist Gilberto Gutierrez and his group Mono Blanco, relearned the music from elders, and has taught willing young people. One of the young son jarocho groups is Son de Madera from Xalapa in southern Veracruz, featuring virtuoso requinto guitarist Ramon Gutierrez and vocalist Laura Rebolloso Cuellar. Their festive “fandango” performance includes the tarima, a small wooden platform on which dancers stomp out rhythms; and the marimbula, a wood box with metal tongues that produce bass tones. Son de Madera returns to the East Bay with 8 p.m. shows this Friday at Los Cenzontles Mexican Traditional Arts Center in San Pablo (13108 San Pablo Ave., 510-233-8015), and Saturday at Berkeley’s La Peña Cultural Center (3105 Shattuck Ave. For more information, call 510-849-2568 or visit — Jesse ‘Chuy’ Varela

WED 7/30


Tanja trips at 21 Grand

Skronk. It’s more than an onomatopoeia, it’s an international way of life. Hence, an evening of improvisational jazz and creative music by visitors from Seattle and Austria, brought to you in part by the Austrian Cultural Forum and the Zellerbach Family Foundation. From the Space Needle City comes the Canterbury/Hawkins Duo, comprising clarinetist Jesse Canterbury and violoncellist Brad Hawkins, who perform at 8 p.m. At 8:30, there will be a solo performance by Austrian alto saxophonist, bass clarinetist, and singer Tanja Feichtmair, who has worked with experimental and traditional jazz bands, Arabian musicians, and filmmakers. Feichtmair performs again at 9:30 as part of a trio with the East Bay’s own Damon Smith (on double bass) and Gino Robair (percussion). The show takes place Wednesday at 21 Grand, 449B 23rd St., Oakland. Admission $6-$10. For more info: 510-444-7263. — Stefanie Kalem


So Bead It

Bedazzled by beads? Quartz beads, seed beads, old beads, new beads? Czech, Russian, and Italian glass foil beads? Dust process, agate, porcelain, ceramic beads? They’ll all be yours for the sorting, pricing, and taking (well, buying) at the Bead Bazaar this weekend. Stop by Art & Soul, 1918 Encinal between Grand and Park, Alameda, on Friday between 4 and 8 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. till 4 p.m. for all kinds of deals, plus a free demonstration at 1 p.m. Saturday. 510-865-5402. — Stefanie Kalem

FRI 8/1

Gorilla My Dreams

SGM knows its place

Sleepytime Gorilla Museum ain’t no Bottom of the Hill band. Sure, it may sell it out. It may have even kicked off its summer-long tour there. But you should thank the heavens above that it’s touching down at a venue like the Oakland Metro (201 Broadway) instead of a crowded ol’ rock club, after tightening up its post-dream-theater rock show at houses from Santa Cruz to Cambridge, Mass. SGM has been known to make excellent use of the more theatrical of spaces, the entire ensemble kicking off the set while feigning sleep in a real, live bed, and more. The show starts at 9:30 p.m., with My Hero opening, and cover’s $10. Info: 510-763-1146. — Stefanie Kalem

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