Cesar Castro both plays and builds the requinto jarocho or guitarra de son, the melodic lead instrument of traditional music from Veracruz Mexico known as son jarocho. Son jarocho is a mix of indigenous Mexican, African, Spanish and Arabic sounds. Mr. Castro began training in son jarocho at age 11, joining the pathbreaking group, Mono Blanco, at age 15. For the next 11 years, he participated in fandangos, community-wide celebrations, throughout Mexico and toured the world with the group. Recognized as an accomplished sonero, one who has to play various instruments within the tradition, sing and dance (zapateado), he then began teaching both in Mexico and in the US. After moving to Los Angeles in 2004, Mr. Castro joined Quetzal, one of the premier Chicano fusion bands. Today he leads numerous son jarocho music workshops around the city.
Master Musician Fellowship, 2008