I came back from Tenerife a week ago today, so thought I'd share my musical discoveries for anyone else heading there, and this thread looks like the best place for it!
Before I went I did a fair bit of research in the hope of finding someone to interview for fRoots, but what I found tended to be too hard for a Western audience to track down CDs of, or a bit too far on the cheesy side to really justify an article. That said, some of them are worth a look. The national instrument of the Canary Island is the timple, a form of ukulele. Some of the proponents of the timple in Tenerife include Pedro Izquierdo, who works with flemenco guitarist Carlos Mozzi, Benito Cabrera and Beselch Rodríguez.
The most famous group is Los Sabandeños – a long established folkloric string group, currently led by Benito Cabrera. More latin world-fusiony is the Beatriz Alonso Quartet.
I found that this site is a good place to keep up with real Canarian culture (it's in Spanish but if you're limited to about 15 words like me, Google Translator is quite good these days).
When we got there, we were staying with my parents in a rather grockley complex in the south of the island that they got through some kind of holiday home swap. This area is tourist central, so if you want the real thing culturally you're best to head to the north. The man at Tourist Information in the airport recommended somewhere in Tacoronte, which, from a bit of Googling, I think must be the Casa de la Cultura, but I didn't make it there unfortunately.
Luckily, given the circumstances, we didn't entirely miss out on Canarian culture. Surrounded various dreadful musicians playing English standards in the bars, we found a rather good Spanish-style guitarist, singer and harmonica player (who's name I didn't get). The fish restaurant Abordo in Los Christianos has a resident group, Los parranderos del Cuarteto Sur, playing Spanish and Canarian classics to the happy punters, who were very enjoyble.
My top recommendation though is the brilliant, authentic Canarian resturant in San Miguel called La Tasquita de Nino. It is housed in a pokey 200 year old building and folklore pictures, books and instruments decorate the walls and surfaces. The food is unique, extraordinary and delicious (including goats cheese with spreads, delicious mojo, chestnuts and tomato ice cream!), and the friendly owner plays traditional Canarian music CDs as you eat (including his own family's recording if you ask).
Finally, I visited a CD shop in Los Cristianos and picked up a few CDs. I've not got round to listening to any of them yet, but they look intriguing:
Taburiente, a group from Las Palmas
Somewhat bizarrely, an album of Spanish language Jackson Brown covers that I couldn't resist for €2.50.