One of the most beautiful traditions of our Hispanic culture is honoring our mothers with serenatas on Mother’s Day weekend. For many Mexican and Mexican American families, a Mother’s Day celebration offers an opportunity to express the love, gratitude and appreciation for the life they’ve given us. But exactly how does one go about expressing and delivering that message? As author Hans Christian Anderson wrote, “Where words fail, music speaks.” For many decades, giving Mom the gift of a mariachi serenata has been one of most memorable ways to express those feelings.
El Mejor Mariachi del Mundo – Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán – just announced on social media platforms that they will be performing a virtual concert to celebrate mothers around the world during this COVID-19 pandemic. It is rumored that Mexican singer, actress, and TV personality Ana Bárbara, as well Alex Fernández – grandson and son of mariachi legends Vicente and Alejandro Fernández – will be performing alongside Vargas during this stay at home concert. The performance will take place on May 10th at 8:00 PM Mexico City time. How to watch
The tradition of Mother’s Day serenatas has been taking place for nearly a century throughout the U.S. and Mexico. It comes from our love of mariachi music and the traditions that are passed from one generation to the next. Some people grew up hearing mariachi music played by their parents or grandparents and are able to associate it with certain moments in their lives. Songs like “Gema,” “Canto a la Madre,” “Hermoso Cariño” and “Las Mañanitas” are familiar songs that help us honor our mothers and express our love to those who matter most.
Mother’s Day weekend is traditionally one of the busiest times of the year for mariachi musicians throughout the U.S. and Mexico. There are nonstop serenatas that last throughout the weekend, and mariachi musicians rely on this busy time to generate income to support themselves and their families. A mariachi musician can easily earn an entire months pay in just one weekend. This year, however, will be different.
In early 2020 the world was shaken up as COVID-19 changed the way society interacts with one another. In the U.S., most states have experienced almost two months of shelter-in-place orders that have led to many events being cancelled. Mariachi musicians have been scheduled to play at weddings, anniversaries, quinceañeras, and even funerals which have been put on hold due to social distancing ordinances.
Many professional mariachi musicians play full-time and count on each performance to stabilize their income. Now we’re asking ourselves, How we can continue to play during Mother’s Day weekend, when gatherings of more than 10 people have been banned? In San Antonio, not all groups will be working Mother’s Day weekend, but there are still those who are willing to rise to the occasion and continue to delight nuestras madrecitas.
While many groups will stay on the sidelines, their are those that will still perform, with minor changes to be implemented. Mariachi groups are taking the necessary precautions to ensure both their safety and the safety of their clients. They are taking less musicians, staying at least 10 feet away from their clients, utilizing facemasks and booking shorter performances to avoid exposure. These measures are beneficial to both the celebrant and musicians alike, and still allow for a memorable personal experience between the music and the honoree.
While we do celebrate Mom on Mother’s Day, it is also a time when mariachi musicians are able to spend countless hours with each other creating memories. The drive from one performance to the next serves as a bond between group members. Jokes are shared, chisme is exchanged and arguments over who is in charge of the GPS take place in between quick stops for food and gas. The ability to spend this much time with group members, while performing for nearly three days packed with serenatas, is a moment to be cherished. With Covid-19 precautions in place, those musicians who have been taking gigs are instead opting to take their own cars to each performance. Unfortunately, some of the fun and chisme will be missed.
Annually, Mother’s Day in the United States is celebrated on the second Sunday in May and doesn’t really come attached to a specific date. Across the boarder in Mexico however, Día de las Madres is on May 10 no matter what day of the week that falls on. Many mariachis use this discrepancy in dates to their favor and take advantage of playing Mother’s Day serenatas for multiple sleepless days and nights, leading to more earnings. There is a well-founded concern that with the instability of the economy this year, groups will see far less bookings, in addition to the fact that people are taking more precautions right now. Only occurring every few years, 2020 will see both the United States and Mexican Mother’s Day land on Sunday, May 10, a disadvantage to those hoping to earn more throughout the weekend.
If you are in the San Antonio area this Mother’s Day, take advantage of one of the groups listed below to continue the promotion of mariachi music and also send a serenata to that special woman in your life.
Azteca de America
Mariachi Azul de San Antonio
Mariachi Los Compadres
Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán member Jonathan Palomar will also available for virtual bookings on mothers day. The guitarist and vocalist has been active on the popular webcam conference app Zoom throughout the quarantine giving private lessons to mariachi musicians all over the world. For booking information please contact Jonathan directly through his social media platforms.
FB: Jonathan Palomar
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The Mariachimusic.com online newsletter is a monthly email blast that has now gone weekly in effort to provide the community with news, information and videos featuring great performances from numerous mariachi artists and previous participants of the Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza. Enjoy this content as you continue to keep your families safe and secure during this current Covid-19 outbreak. If you have stories you’d like to share about your experiences in mariachi music, and/or how you and your group are coping during this Covid-19 crisis, please feel free to email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Selected stories will be posted on the mariachimusic.com website in the blog section and shared via the weekly email newsletters.
Content and videos shared through the Mariachimusic.com online newsletter is made possible through the generous support of Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza sponsors Gonzaba Medical Group, H.E.B. and Valero Energy. Thanks to these companies who invest in the Latino community and who are helping to keep our cultural traditions alive.