Published: November 19, 2013
By: Jessie Vallejo

LeonorLaurynJessie - Permission only for Ethno Page_reduced  
Dr. Leonor X. Pérez, Dr. Lauryn Salazar (Ph.D. '11), and
Ph.D. candidate Jessie Vallejo pose together in the
¡Viva El Mariachi Femenil! museum exhibit.

The women of Mariachi de Uclatlán honored women mariachi musicians and composers by performing at the ¡Viva El Mariachi Femenil! Mariachi Mujeres concert on October 13, with the renowned all-female groups Trio Ellas and Mariachi Mujer 2000. The concert took place outdoors at Liberty Station outside the Women's Museum of California in San Diego.

The event was part of the ¡Viva El Mariachi Femenil! museum exhibit, organized and curated by Dr. Leonor X. Pérez (PhD ’99 Education, UCLA). The exhibit is designed to honor women who have performed mariachi music and have contributed to the development of the musical style. It is based on interviews, photographs, artifacts, and archival research conducted by Dr. Pérez and collected in collaboration with mariachi musicians Nancy Muñoz and Laura Sobrino.

Mariachi is generally considered to be a male-dominated musical tradition, but Pérez has found evidence of women performing this music as early as 1903, when Doña Rosa Quiriño performed with male mariachis in La Escondida, Jalisco (Jaúregui 2006).

In mid-twentieth century Mexico, men and women organized all-female mariachi groups in order to capitalize on the rising popularity of the music. Soon after, the U.S. Civil Rights and Women's Liberation movements helped open even more opportunities for women mariachis, such as pioneer Rebecca Gonzales, to perform professionally in the United States and abroad.

The women of Uclatlán were invited to the October 13 concert in order to represent the important legacy that Mariachi de Uclatlán has had in launching the mariachi education movement and opening doors for female mariachis in the United States. Recently, it was announced that the exhibit will travel to the Los Angeles area in March 2014, where the women of Uclatlán will participate in another concert celebrating women mariachis on March 29, 2014 at the San Gabriel Mission Playhouse.

For more information about the ¡Viva El Mariachi Femenil! museum exhibit:

uclatlan womens museum off stage-reduced1  
Pictured (L-R): Romina Huerta, Janell Escalera, Kenya Garay, Jessie Vallejo, Taña
Barajas, Dr. Lauryn Salazar, Francis Angulo (charter member of Adelita y Su Mariachi
de Muchachas, formed in 1948), Vaneza Calderón, Abril Iñiguez, Logan Clark, and
Mary Alfaro.