The historic tradition of mariachi music has roots in cities like Guadalajara and Mexico City, places where the festive folk style lived its past glory days in the mid-1900s. Today, the future of the evolving genre may rest in the hands of a dynamic ensemble from the capital of the American Midwest: Chicago’s Mariachi Herencia de México.
The Latin GRAMMY-nominated group of young Mexican-American musicians have released three highly acclaimed studio albums with chart-topping debuts on both the Billboard and the iTunes Latin Albums charts, defying a music industry trend and pointing to a revival in recorded mariachi music.
The group recently released its third studio album titled Esencia. The stunning collection features some 18 musicians on 14 classic tracks plus two originals, with arrangements by one of the most revered and innovative figures in the field, composer and musical director Rigoberto Alfaro. “It’s a masterpiece,” says Jonathan Clark, a mariachi expert and historian. “This is mariachi music at its most sophisticated and most modernistic. It’s almost the antithesis of folklore, almost futuristic. Maybe 20 or 30 years from now, all groups will sound like this, I don’t know. But it is state-of-the-art.”
In 2017, Mariachi Herencia de México scored a Latin GRAMMY nomination in the “Best Ranchero/Mariachi Album” category for the group’s debut album titled Nuestra Herencia. The group’s follow up album, Herencia De La Tierra Mía, was released in 2018 and features guest vocals by two superstars of Mexican music, folkloric/fusion artist Lila Downs and veteran mariachi singer Aida Cuevas.
Mariachi Herencia de México has toured throughout the U.S., Mexico and Canada performing in some of the most prestigious performing arts centers across the continent, including Washington D.C.’s The Kennedy Center and Guadalajara’s Teatro Degollado. The group has performed alongside major artists like Lila Downs, Aida Cuevas, Los Lobos, Pedro Fernández, as well as some of the most respected mariachi groups from both sides of the border, including Mariachi Vargas de Tecatitlán, Los Camperos, Sol de Mexico, Cobre, and the all-female group Reyna de Los Angeles, demonstrating that this group of students have the talent, training and bravado to hold their own with the best in the world.