I have become a fan of son jarocho music from Veracruz. It has wonderful songs, beautiful singing, amazing picking and an endless supply of cool rhythms. I recently saw local group Cambalache perform at UCLA. They put on a wonderful show and have steadily been working as ambassadors and educators for son jarocho all around Los Angeles. As a gift to yourself this holiday, check them out as soon as you can.
In the meantime, you can follow band leader Cesar Gonzales through his jarana workshop in an L.A. Times multimedia piece. You can also find all kinds of great son jarocho through the Smithsonian Folkways record label.
A son jarocho band you might be familiar with from their work on the Frida soundtrack is Los Cojolites. They led a workshop at UCLA earlier in the year and I got to learn some rhythm on the jarana from their lead requinto jarocho player, Noe Gonzales Molina.
Here’s a great clip of Los Cojolites playing at Guadalupe Strings in Los Angeles a few years ago: