Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán, one of the most treasured mariachi ensembles in the history of the genre, will perform at the Chumash Casino Resort’s Samala Showroom at 8 p.m. Thursday, May 9. Tickets for the show are $25, $35 and $45.
The first incarnation of Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán was in 1898 as a quartet. Over the decades, the ensemble would emerge as one of the most influential mariachi bands in Mexico, winning numerous awards and accolades.
The group’s most recent triumph involves the creation of the first mariachi opera — Cruzar la Cara de la Luna (“To Cross the Face of the Moon”). The Houston Grand Opera turned to the ensemble’s legendary leader, Jose “Pepe” Martinez, to write the score and collaborate with librettist Leonard Foglia. The result has been an opera that was well-received in Houston and Paris, and just began production this month in Chicago.
For five generations, Mariachi Vargas has endured as the quintessential mariachi, appearing in more than 200 films and making numerous recordings. Mariachi Vargas’ meticulously crafted arrangements have been credited with creating Mexico’s classic mariachi sound.
The group’s appearance on Linda Ronstadt’s critically acclaimed 1987 album, Canciones de mi Padre, won the singer a Grammy for Best Mexican/American Performance.
Today, the group is composed of two harps, one vihuela, one guitar, one guitarron, three trumpets and six violins. With the added instruments, a new sound has emerged that crosses all international borders. And Martinez’s compositions display a mastery of rhythms and original arrangements that spotlights every musician in the group like a soloist, making the era around their centennial anniversary one of the group’s strongest periods.
Located on Highway 246 in Santa Ynez, the Chumash Casino Resort is an age 18-or-older venue. Tickets for all events are available at the Chumash Casino Resort’s Club Chumash. You can also click here or call StarTicketsPlus at 800.585.3737.
— Mike Traphagen is a public relations specialist for the Chumash Casino Resort.