By: Viviana Manzo
Photo Credit: Sandy Ceballos
Hollywood, CA (The Hollywood Times) June 6, 2023 – The annual Mariachi Festival USA was back at the Hollywood bowl for its 34th show, and like always, it was spectacular. Rodri Entertainment presented the music festival which took place on Saturday June 3rd, 2023. It was a wonderful five hours of pure mariachi music from Mexico along with some appearances of Mexican Folkloric dancing.
The lineup for the show varied from a mix of high schoolers and professionals from as far as Texas and Mexico. The performers included Mariachi Nuevo de Tecalitlan from Guadalajara, Mexico; Mariachi Los Reyes, Mariachi Lindas Mexicanas and Mariachi Las Catrinas representing Los Angeles; The Valley Muleteers of McAllen from Texas, and dancing are Ballet Folklorico de Los Angeles.
Everyone in the audience sang and danced along as they listened to their favorite songs being performed. The groups sang a medley of songs from major Mexican artists such as Juan Gabriel, Vicente Fernandez, Beatriz Adriana, and Bronco, to name a few.
So, what exactly defines Mariachi music, one may ask. A little bit of history for what Mariachi music is; Typically features four or more musicians to form a group with instruments such as violin, trumpets, a guitarrón, five-string guitar, and someone who knows how to sing. Mariachi can date back to the 18th century and has evolved over time. It is a popular style of music that can be heard at basically any Mexican party and restaurant. A perfect type of music to sing to once you’ve had a few too many drinks.
We got a chance to interview musician Angel Martinez of Mariachi Nuevo Tecalitlan as well as Kareli Montoya, the director for Ballet Folklorico de Los Angeles.
When asked about one of their most memorable events they are proud of, Angel answered, “One of the most memorable events for Nuevo Tecalitlan is precisely this USA festival mariachi concert and that is one of the most important internationally.”
Of course, with a major performance like at The Hollywood Bowl, it takes time to get an entire musical crew ready. But it is nothing new to Martinez and his Mariachi group. “It takes us about two months for us to prepare for a show,” Martinez replied when questioned how long it takes to get ready. And about those elegant uniforms? Angel answered, “We get dressed about an hour before the show.”
A little overview of Mariachi Nuevo Tecalitlan:
Mariachi Nuevo Tecalitlan was founded in 1965 in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico by brothers José “Pepe” Martínez (1941-2016) y Fernando Martínez (1946-1998). They quickly became the public’s favorite group and were considered one of the most outstanding Mariachis. As the years passed by, more members were added to the group, including the sons of Fernando Martinez: Fernando, Angel, Alejandro, and Carlos. From 1999 to present day, the direction of Mariachi Nuevo Tecalitlan is in the hands of Angel Martinez.
As a Ballet Folklorico dancer myself, it was an honor to be in the presence of Ballet Folklorico Los Angeles. We got a quick opportunity to ask a question to the director of BFLA, Kareli Montoya.
Q: What is one performance you are proud of?
Montoya: A performance we are proud of, it’s definitely when we danced at the Oscars for the movie COCO in 2018.
An overview of Ballet Folklorico de Los Angeles:
Ballet Folklorico de Los Angeles (BFLA) was founded in 2011 by Kareli Montoya. They have performed in many high-end venues such as The Hollywood Bowl, Orpheum, Nokia, and Greek Theaters, and many more. They have worked alongside many artists such as Mexican singers Pepe Aguilar, Ana Barbara, and Beatriz Adriana to name a few. Kareli posts tutorials on YouTube of folklorico dances and does Folklorico Podcasts and Blogs as well.
As the 34th Annual Mariachi USA Festival comes to an end, all the groups performed one final song together as one. The final surprise for the night being fireworks show.
MARIACHI USA is sponsored by Verizon, Jarritos, US Bank, Lala US, Spanish-language media partners Univision 34-Televisa and KLVE 107.5.