“I want to fill the hearts of everyone who hears my songs with joy.”—Angélica Vargas
Eleven-year-old vocal prodigy Angélica Vargas will officially launch her first CD when she opens for Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán at Mariachi Vargas en Concierto, coming to the Long Center in Austin, Texas on June 7.
Angélica was born and raised in San Antonio. She made her stage debut at age six as a contestant in the 2009 Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza vocal competition, where she won first place in her category. After extensive local performances and appearances in two films, she competed in Televisa’s Lo Que Más Quieres contest, where she sang a duet with her father, Manuel Alcaraz Vargas, and won the grand prize—a trip to Hawaii with her family. Upon returning from that trip, she began recording her first CD.
In the well-chosen song selection of her self-titled CD Angélica Vargas, this talented child demonstrates a mastery of diverse musical genres and a musical maturity far beyond her years. “Aires del Mayab” and “La Charreada,” tour de force vocal showpieces originally made famous by Matilde Sánchez (“La Torcacita”) and Mariachi Vargas in the 1950s, are given masterful renderings by this precocious sixth grader. Her interpretation of “El Herradero,” a signature song of Lucha Reyes, would have made la madre de la canción ranchera proud. “Atotonilco” and “Mi Barquita de Madera,” perennial ranchera favorites in polka rhythm, show Angélica at her most exuberant. She sings this last number as a duet with her father, a longtime member of Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán, who taught Angélica to sing and inspired her love for mariachi music. Cri Cri’s classic “El Ratón Vaquero” is a brilliantly interpreted children’s song in a country and western vein. She pays a heartfelt tribute to her parents with Denisse de Kalafe’s “Señora, Señora” and her father’s own “Gracias, Papá.” Spirited mariachi renditions of the pop hits “Un Millión de Amigos” (Roberto Carlos) and “Buenos Días, Señor Sol” (Juan Gabriel) finish out this collection in which Angélica demonstrates her uncommon musicality and charisma on every track.
Angélica with her father, Manuel
Mariachi Sangre Mexicana, an all-star studio assemblage, accompanies Angélica on all but one of the songs on this CD. Their performance, the arrangements, and the production are all top-notch. The only song not accompanied by mariachi is the bonus track, Céline Dion’s 1996 Olympic theme “The Power of the Dream.” According to Angélica’s mother, Verónica, she and her husband wanted to include this song to demonstrate Angélica’s American side. “Our daughter has spent most of her life in the United States, and her first language is English,” she reminds us—although Angélica’s diction and interpretation are so authentic that no one would suspect she hasn’t lived in Mexico her entire life.
Angélica Vargas’ debut CD will make a welcome addition to the collection of any mariachi music fan. She will be signing copies available for purchase at Mariachi Vargas en Concierto on June 7 in Austin. If you can’t make the concert, email sandra@mariachi music.com or call (210) 225-3353 to purchase a copy. The album will soon be available for download on iTunes as well.