Humboldt students and community members of all ages and backgrounds fill up the Van Duzer Theatre Sept. 21 to watch the 2x Latin Grammy Nominated Mariachi Herencia de Mexico perform with special guest La Marisoul of La Santa Cecillia.
This renowned mariachi collective originally began as a youth outreach program in Chicago in 2017. The collective has played huge stages in recent years such as The White House, Latin Grammys and even at Guaranteed Rate stadium, the home of Major League Baseball team, The Chicago White Sox.
The group is composed of musicians from all ages and backgrounds, all wearing the same bold and traditional burgundy and gold charro suits. The band orchestrates some classics and some original pieces. They perform solos, duets and in unity while the screen behind the band displays a bold flowing Mexican flag.
The 2023 touring roster is made up of one harpist, one bassist, three violinists, three trumpeters and three guitarists. The group has two lead singers who switch off the mic and woo the crowd: Marco Villela, 20, and Melanie Juarez, 19.
Villela and Juarez shared their experiences of being Grammy nominated touring musicians and university students all while still growing up.
“Getting to play for an audience that is rowdy and just absolutely adores the music of mariachi I mean, it just fuels my motivation to keep going. It’s really really great,” Villela said.
Juarez, is the femme lead singer and guitarist, she is of Guatemalan descent and has been with the group since she was thirteen. She explains that although mariachi is not traditionally a part of her culture, it is very much still appreciated by her and other Guatemalans. She is a huge fan of Spanish singer Rocio Durcal, who sang various genres of Mexican music, because they are both non-Mexican women who play in mariachi.
“I was like 12, 13 when I started listening to Rocio Durcal’s music and I really resonated with her voice and the way that she sang and she performed,” Juarez said. “So I just wanted to be like her and I kept going with it and eventually ended up finding Marco and mariachi and I auditioned and now we’re here.”
They both shared some like minded advice to anyone scared to go after their dreams.
“If we had any advice to give, I think it’s just at the end of the day,” Juarez said. “Time and days and years are going to pass, you’re gonna look back and you’re gonna say, well, I should’ve just started. So, if you’re afraid, we’re all afraid… just do it.”
Cal Poly Humboldt student Felicitas Jacinto shared her emotions during the intermission.
“I feel really proud to be here and have them represent!” Jacinto said. “Especially here in Arcata where I feel like it sometimes lacks Latino, specifically Mexican representation.”
Community members Josie Fierro and Rosie Arenas heartfully shared that they enjoyed all of the music. They grew up with some of the songs performed that night so it “takes us back.” Their favorite part of the night was Marisoul, they couldn’t get enough.
“I think we’re gonna be hoarse tomorrow! We’re up on the balcony and you can hear us singing!” Fierro said.