Jonathan Palomar’s stunning interpretation of traditional mariachi classics captures the hearts of audiences throughout the world. His performance of “Llamarada” from the 2018 Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza was captured on film by Solarshot and premiered at the San Antonio Film Festival at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts this summer, where it received roaring applause.
“Llamarada” is a classic joropo composed in 1970 by Colombian songwriter Jorge Villamil, who also wrote the Javier Solis bolero “Espumas.” The title — meaning a sudden, intense flame — is a metaphor for a short but intense love affair. This song was a major hit for balladeer Manolo Muñoz in 1976, as it was for ranchera singer Felipe Arriaga a year later. It never really went out of style, and in 1998 Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán recorded an instrumental version of it on their Música de América album. Pepe Aguilar interpreted it on his 1998 Por el Amor de Siempre CD, and Steeven Sandoval recently recorded a Carlos Martínez arrangement of it. But what really sparked the current revival of this song was its inclusion in Luis Miguel’s 2017 Mexico por Siempre album and concert tours.
“Llamarada has had wonderful interpretations in the past, but no one performs it quite like Jonathan with the world-renowned, Mexico City-based Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán,” says Extravaganza producer Cynthia Muñoz.
Jonathan’s greatness can be attributed in part to the fact that he descends from a legendary musical family. His father Rafael Palomar was vocalist and guitarist with Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán for 23 years (1980–2003), and his grandfather Román Palomar is best known as author of the famous cumbia “El Mariachi Loco.”
Since joining Mariachi Vargas in 2017 as a vocalist and guitarist, Jonathan has had a schedule jam-packed with touring and recording. With Mariachi Vargas, he has performed in nearly 130 concerts accompanying international Latin superstar Luis Miguel on his ¡México Por Siempre! tour, and dozens more with Mariachi Vargas’ Banda El Recodo tour. In addition, he participated in Mariachi Vargas’ latest symphonic album, Concierto Sinfónico 120 Años, and continues to spend much of his time on the road performing with Vargas throughout the U.S. and Mexico.
This year, as part of the Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza, students at the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) will receive a special visit from Jonathan. He’ll visit these two university campuses during his week-long stay in San Antonio leading up to Vargas’ Dec. 7 concert at the Lila Cockrell Theatre. Jonathan will be in Austin on Tuesday, December 3 at 5 pm and on the main campus at UTSA on Thursday, December 5 at 11:30 am. The UTSA master class is open to all students. Jonathan will also be at the Instituto Cultural de México, located at Hemisfair Park, on Wednesday, December 4 for a FREE, one-hour public discussion and performance at 6 pm.
More about Mariachi Vargas and the Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza
Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán is widely considered the greatest mariachi in the world. Founded in 1898, in the southern Jalisco village of Tecalitlán, the group celebrates 122 years and six generations as the most influential mariachi in history. Its current generation represents the state of the art in mariachi music, featuring world-class vocalists and instrumentalists, flawless ensemble work, impeccable taste in arrangements and repertoire and spellbinding showmanship. The Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán concert culminates the week-long Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza, now in its 25th year, as the largest, longest-running and most celebrated mariachi music festival in the world. Experience extraordinary winners of the fiercely competitive National Mariachi Group and Vocal Competitions, colorful ballet folklórico dancers and celebrity guest appearances. Visit mariachimusic.com for schedules and updates.
More about Solarshot
Solarshot is a multimedia company specializing in arts and entertainment. The company is made up of three talented young producers: Isaiah Matthews, Chavis Barron and Dominique Johnson. In addition to being producers, they are well-known vocalists and musicians with a great deal of knowledge and passion for the music business. Solarshot has been capturing performances for the Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza since 2016. Ngeniuss is an example of their work as producers and artists.
Mariachi Vargas performs Saturday, December 7 at the Lila Cockrell Theatre. Tickets range in price from $46-$206 and can be purchased at all Ticketmaster outlets, ticketmaster.com, at the Alamodome Box Office, or by calling 1-800-745-3000.