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SATURDAY

Son jarocho is a traditional Mexican musical form, and tonight’s show featuring two of its premier practitioners wraps up the bands’ week-long residency with an ethnomusicologist. Yet there’s no chance that Mono Blanco (pictured) and Chuchumbe will put on the musical equivalent of a museum show. Son jarocho—alternately plaintive and celebratory, simple and complexly polyrhythmic—is too slippery for that. The instruments are generally constant: guitars, ranging from ukulele-sized to very, very large, and an array of percussion pieces that include the quijada, a donkey jawbone. But the beats and influences are all over the map, stemming from classical guitar playing that crossed the Atlantic from Spain and was funked up first by indigenous Indians in Veracruz and then some more by mestizos and Creoles. Eugene Rodriguez, a musician-musicologist who has played with Mono Blanco, the more traditional of the two groups, calls the music a veritable Rorschach blot: “Throughout [my] travels with [Mono Blanco], there were many people who, upon hearing the music, claimed the son jarocho as their own. West African drummers immediately identified the rhythms and origins of son jarocho as West African; East Indian musicians, Afro-Cuban soneros, as well as flamenco musicians of southern Spain immediately identified with the rhythms, verse structures, and dances.” The musical diaspora continues when Senegalese kora player, griot, and scholar Djimo Kouyate joins the two Mexican combos in bringing the sounds of son jarocho to D.C. at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 12, at George Washington University’s Lisner Auditorium, 730 21st St. NW. $18-$25. (202) 785-9727. (Virginia Vitzthum)