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When Mexican musicians first combined their folk traditions with immigrant European musical traditions, their music had no name. It wasn’t until the 19th century that these musicians became “mariachis” and their music defined a genre. With roots in the state of Jalisco, mariachi music has flourished throughout Mexico and the southwestern United States, winning the devotion of audiences across the globe.
Although the history of the music is relatively well known, the origin of its name is uncertain. Mariachi today is as rich with meaning as its past is full of mystery. For many people, the thought of a mariachi band brings images of suits decorated with silver worn by musicians serenading someone’s lady love. For others, the picture is less romantic: leathery men strumming guitars on busy streets, or unexpected trumpets in small restaurants. To most Mexicans and Mexican-Americans, however, mariachis are standard-bearers, inspiring nostalgia and patriotism through songs of love, loss, pride, and joy.
Mariachi music is enjoying a growing popularity in the United States. Schools in several states offer mariachi programs that take young musicians from their earliest lessons through their graduation from college. National mariachi festivals attract participants and audiences from across the country. Mariachis appear on television and film as part of our popular culture as well as our history. Nevertheless, mariachis maintain a closeness with their audiences that has not changed with their popular success.
Mariachis are an indispensable part of every special occasion: Mexican-Americans expect mariachis at baptisms, birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, and at funerals. Even onstage, mariachis connect with their audiences by drawing on the emotions that people associate with their most intimate experiences. It is this connection that transcends cultural differences, making mariachi a universal musical language.
Mariachi Orgullo de América was founded in January of 2002 by Gregorio Hallman, Jorge Hernández, Robert Ruiz, and José Solis. Not long after, many other members joined these men to form the most diverse and talented professional mariachi group that Oklahoma has to offer. With years of experience on their individual instruments, all of the mariachi's musicians add their own flair. Since making their grand debut in May 2002, Mariachi Orgullo has enjoyed tremendous success thanks to all of the communities of Oklahoma. It is with great pride that this virtuoso mariachi is considered Oklahoma’s Mariachi.
In 2005, Mariachi Orgullo de America help found the first mariachi school programs in Oklahoma. Thanks to VH1, there are now three schools in Oklahoma with programs and many more to be established. As a result of this accomplishment, Mariachi Orgullo presented the idea of holding Oklahoma's first Mariachi Festival to the Latino Community Development Agency. With the sponsership of McDonalds, Lopez Foods, and many sponserships from the community, the first Mariachi Festival took place in January of 2006. Mariachi Orgullo de Ameica had the privilage of performing with Walt Disney World's official mariachi, Mariachi Cobre at the Civic Center and taught student, master, and administrative classes. Mariachi Orgullo de America has been honored to educate and perform for the community and plans to continue for many years to come.
Mariachi Orgullo is directed by mariachi veteren, Robert Ruiz. The other current members of the band are Juan Santana García, Julio Gasón, Paul Gomez, Mike Guillespe, Justus Johnston, Amy Lindesmith, Kevin Longfellow, Francesca Mosely, Mariabelen Ruffin, Wilmari Ruiz, and Clay Zapata.
Mariachi Orgullo de América
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