On behalf of MPR and the Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza, thank you all for another exciting year! Our 21st season was extraordinary — filled with unique events that embraced our cultural traditions and showcased some of the most incredible mariachi talent out there.
On November 15, 2015, Mexican ranchera music lost one of its early icons and a major pioneer in promoting this music in the United States. Martín Becerra – trio and duet leader, master of ceremonies, and radio personality – left a unique legacy in the history of Mexican music.
“Becerra… is just about Mr. Spanish Language Entertainment himself. Who is he and what does he do? Any Latin American residing in or near the city of Los Angeles can tell you.”
Los Angeles Examiner — Sept. 24, 1953
On November 17, 2015, RIGOBERTO ALFARO was officially named director of the Escuela de Mariachi Ollin Yoliztli Garibaldi, in Mexico City. The school’s previous director, Leticia Soto, who guided that institution admirably through its tumultuous first three years of existence, remains on the faculty as professor of music history.
When asked what his immediate plans are as director, Alfaro told MariachiMusic.com, “My only ambition is the betterment of mariachi music. I plan to put all my efforts into raising the bar of our music as high as it will go — to help elevate it to the lofty height where it belongs,” he said.
Congratulations to the 21st Annual
Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza competition winners!
The Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza has earned a reputation for attracting the finest mariachi groups and vocalists in the country, and this was clearly evidenced November 19-21, during the festival’s 21st annual celebration, where nearly 1000 musicians vied for top honors in what are currently the world’s largest and most competitive mariachi group and mariachi vocal competitions. A mariachi songwriting contest rounded out the event.
Few would argue that Azucena de la Torre—better known as Azucena “La de Jalisco”—is Jalisco’s contemporary queen of the canción ranchera. Azucena was born 32 years ago in Guadalajara, and for the past 18 years she has been an untiring champion of Mexican song in the mariachi genre.
A longtime favorite of San Antonio audiences, Azucena recently spoke with MariachiMusic.com, in preparation for her upcoming return to the Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza.
Roy Quintero and Mariachi Los Caporales
San Antonio’s legendary Mariachi Los Caporales makes its return to this year’s Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza, this time accompanying headliner vocalist Azucena “La de Jalisco.” Founded in 1993 by local mariachi luminary Roy Quintero, Los Caporales has performed around the country and abroad, accompanied many famous singers, and released two compact discs.
An important mission of the Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza, now in its 21st year, is to honor and recognize artists who have made significant contributions to the mariachi genre. This year’s award goes to don Rigoberto Mercado, who played trumpet with Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán for over 25 years. In 1979, as a member of Mariachi Vargas, Rigoberto participated in San Antonio’s (and the world’s) first international mariachi festival. Three and a half decades later, he’s taking part in San Antonio’s current mariachi festival, this time as an honoree.
The 21st Annual Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza is set for November 15-21 in San Antonio, Texas. The Extravaganza serves host to nearly a dozen events that take place throughout the city. It holds the title as the largest and longest running mariachi music festival and conference in Texas, and is among the most renowned worldwide. Exhilarating performances, fierce competitions, and prestigious awards and recognitions are all part of this inspiring ‘must attend’ seven-day event.
The list of finalists for the 21st Annual Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza National Vocal Competition has now been posted at mariachimusic.com!
Many thanks to all of the students who entered this year’s contest. More entries were received from outside of Texas than ever before. The Extravaganza continues to expand throughout the nation and grow more competitive every year. It’s simply amazing to see all of the incredible talent there is, and the passion that our young generation has for mariachi music!