Summer 2013

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Photo by Rafi Letzter (J15).

Mariachi Northwestern

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Check out this Northwestern News video, where the Mariachi Northwestern band members talk about the appeal of Mexican folk music and offer a sample of their sound.

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Mariachi Northwestern, one of Northwestern's newest student groups, is spreading the Mexican folk music sounds of mariachi across campus.

Shiny red bow ties, or moños, blasting trumpets and the sweet sound of Spanish lyrics are all hallmarks of a new music group at Northwestern — a 10-member mariachi band.

During fall quarter School of Communication junior Daniel Flores wanted to make a mariachi birthday music video for his mom. He recruited Antonio Vielma, a freshman in the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications, to play and sing with him. “We recorded it in the Foster-Walker Complex laundry room,” Vielma said. Soon they had other interested students and Mariachi Northwestern was born.

Since fall quarter the group has quickly gained popularity. They’ve played at Mass at the Sheil Catholic Center. They’ll perform at the summer wedding of two recent School of Continuing Studies graduates, and in the fall the group will play at the wedding reception for Northwestern couple Roger Almendarez and Valeria Jimenez (G10), both doctoral students. The group also provides free biweekly mariachi clinics to Evanston Township High School students, and the members are now raising money for instruments and uniforms, or trajes, including jackets and sombreros .

Flores and Vielma agree that Northwestern needed a mariachi band. “It’s a vibrant and quintessential part of Mexican American culture,” Flores said. “It’s hard sometimes to translate culture into something people can appreciate, but music is the simplest way to appreciate where someone’s coming from.”