Last month, Mariachi Aztlán from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley produced a virtual concert in collaboration with the Roswell Symphony Orchestra. The production was titled “Cuando México Canta” and it celebrated the many different styles of songs within the genre of mariachi. Along with the virtual concert, Mariachi Aztlán also produced a set of mariachi tutorials that are now available on the Roswell Symphony Orchestra’s YouTube channel.
There is a total of six tutorials available that focus on the José Alfredo Jiménez classic “Un Mundo Raro.” “We selected the song “Un Mundo Raro” to play off the virtual concert so students can enjoy the live performance of this song and the tutorials,” says Francisco Loera, director of Mariachi Aztlán. “Also, we wanted a ranchera that was easily accessible to students of all levels,” he added.
Francisco recorded and edited all of the tutorials himself with a Sony camera and using the editing software Final Cut Pro at the UTRGV mariachi hall. For the audio recording, he used Logic Pro, another popular software for recording. “It was quite a lengthy process to record all of the instruments and voices during the pandemic because we brought most of the musicians in one at a time to record. It was an even longer process because I was learning as I was doing.” he said.
Un Mundo Raro Tutorials
Alex Vásquez, a Roma, Texas native and UTRGV senior, won 2nd place in the MVE Vocal Competition C/U category in 2019. He is the voice on this version of “Un Mundo Raro.” Alex played with UTRGV Mariachi Juvenil back in 2019 and is now with Mariachi Aztlán. “Alex started studying voice at UTRGV, and I saw him develop as an artist and his voice became richer,” says Francisco Loera. “He had a role in the opera Carmen here at the university and we all saw how his voice blossomed. His range, voice and texture, and his ability to interpret the song so beautifully, made him a great choice for this song,” he added. Alex is completing a Bachelor of Music Education degree with a concentration in mariachi. “Michael Sital wrote the arrangement. It’s like a semi-classical combined with ranchera. The arrangement fits perfectly with Alex’s voice,” says Frank.
“We’re thrilled to have had this opportunity and time to record much needed mariachi tutorials that can be accessed by students from all over the world. We’re also excited to promote our university’s Bachelor of Music Education in mariachi, which is something we’re really proud of,” says Dr. Dahlia Guerra, UTRGV Vice President.