Women’s History Month kicks-off at the San Gabriel Mission Playhouse with a special exhibit called “íViva el Mariachi Femenil!” that chronicles over 100 years of women’s engagement and performance in mariachi music both in Mexico and the United States. Curated by mariachi musician and Harvard graduate, Dr. Leonor Xochitl Perez, the exhibit portrays close to 15 years of research, photographs, documents, artifacts, videos and personal interviews that unveils the stories, challenges and achievements of pioneering female mariachi women. The exhibit premieres Saturday, March 2 and runs through Sunday, March 30 at the Glass Room Gallery in the San Gabriel Mission Playhouse and is free.
“This is a labor of love for me and I’m happy to share this rich history that I have worked to document over the years,” shared Dr. Leonor Xochitl Perez, creator and founder of “íViva el Mariachi Femenil!”. “To be able to share this little known history is an honor for me and I hope to shed light on the many accomplishments of women who are often overlooked in this traditionally male musical genre.”
The exhibit showcases women who have made major contributions to the advancement of this cultural form as promoters of Mexican national identity in Mexico, ethnic identity and community in the United States, and as global preservers of mariachi culture. The process of listening to the formerly silent voices of women who participated professionally in this music as early as 1948, and who engage in this music still today, unveils a cohesive but untold story of passion, respect and influence on this important Mexican cultural form. The exhibit opens Saturday, March 2 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and continues through Sunday, March 30 at the Glass Room Gallery of the Mission Playhouse and entrance is free to the public.
On March 29, the exhibit culminates with a community event that includes a spectacular concert featuring two-time GRAMMY Award winning Mariachi Divas de Cindy Shea, along with Latin GRAMMY nominated, Trio Ellas, and New York all-woman mariachi ensemble, Mariachi Flor de Toloache as well as Mexican singer and founder of Mariachi Las Alondras, Dinorah Curkendall. Special guests include two members of Adela y Su Mariachi de Muchachas, Mexico’s first all- female group formed in 1948, Francis and Margarita Angulo.
The pre-concert community event will take place in front of the playhouse entrance starting at 5 p.m. with performances by the youth group Mariachi Femenil Rosas del Valle from Central California and UCLA’s Mariachi Femenil de UCLATLAN. Women young and old who are or have been part of a mariachi are encouraged to wear their traditional traje and be recognized.
To purchase tickets for the March 29th concert and for more information on the exhibit, visit www.mariachiwomen.org. For media interview requests during the exhibit with Dr. Perez and with women participating in the 29th community event and concert, please contact Delia L. Lopez at DELIA_LL@YAHOO.COM/323-359-8869.
“It is my hope that the contributions made by women to the survival and advancement of mariachi music as demonstrated here will now become permanently marked in our collective consciousness and forever held in our cultural memory,” concluded Dr. Perez.