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Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan
Photo courtesy: Mariachi Vargas

By La Voz Staff

The first incarnation of the group Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlßn began in 1898 as a quartet, and over the decades (and into the 21st century) the ensemble would become one of the most important in Mexican music history. For five generations Mariachi Vargas has endured as the quintessential mariachi, appearing in more than 200 films and making numerous recordings.

The origins of the mariachi group orchestra date back to the Spanish-derived string groups of the early 19th century in the Mexican state of Jalisco, and now the mariachi orchestra serves as the basis of the regional Mexican jaliciense form. By the early 20th century, mariachi groups had established their ensemble collection of violins, guitars (and guitar relatives) along with trumpets harps and were regarded as semiprofessional groups in and around Jalisco.

Founded in 1898, Mariachi Vargas emerged as one of the most celebrated mariachi groups, and acquired national success upon its presentation at the inaugural celebration of President Lßzaro Cßrdenas in 1934. Musical director RubÚn Fuentes (who joined the group in 1944) would go on to arrange music for many of Mexicoĺs celebrated singers and composers such as Lola Beltrßn, Pedro Infante and JosÚ Alfredo JimÚnez. The bandĺs seminal work throughout the coming decades set the tone for many mariachi ensembles by insisting that all of the groupĺs musicians know how to read music, resulting in a more refined and trained ensemble. Credited with modernizing the genre, Mariachi Vargasĺ meticulously crafted arrangements helped to propel the national pride for what would become Mexicoĺs classical sound.

Mariachi Vargas has amazing talent including Yolanda Jaen Lopez who is also known as Yolanda del RÝo. Her desire to sing started at age 5 performing at local and government events.

Del Rioĺs talent is what motivated an agent to search for her. Four months later, he found her and proposed that she test her singing abilities with the recording firm ôRCAö Records. Her singles soon became a hit and the record deals came pouring in.

Del Rio is joining the famous Mariachi Vargas who is the renowned and definitive mariachi ensemble. Their classic sound has won numerous awards and accolades, including the title of ôWorldĺs Best Mariachiö since the 1950s. The band actively participates in international mariachi festivals in order to promote the pride of the genre and encourage young mariachis to pursue lifelong careers.

Mariachi Vargasĺ appearance on Linda Rondstadtĺs well-received Canciones de Mi Padre won the vocalist a Grammy in 1987; she would later go on to tour with the group, exposing international audiences to the Mexican mariachi sound.

Recently, the Houston Grand Opera turned to the ensembleĺs legendary leader, Jose ôPepeö Martinez, to write the score and collaborate with librettist Leonard Foglia in creating the worldĺs first mariachi opera, ôCruzar la Cara de la Lunaö (ôTo Cross the Face of the Moonö), which premiered to sold-out houses in Paris and Houston!

Mariachi Vargas De Tecalitlan continues to tour extensively through Mexico, United States and Central America.

Mariachi Vargas performs at the Paramount Theatre on Friday Sept. 30th. For tickets visit or call 866-461-6556.





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