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Perhaps the greatest tribute to MARIACHI REYNA DE LOS ANGELES – the first all-female mariachi group in the United States– is that now, there are actually other all-female mariachi groups. It is growing proof that when mariachi maestro Jose Hernandez created Reyna de Los Angeles, it wasn’t a novelty; it was a genre.
Reyna, which was formed in 1994, has taken the history of women in mariachi music from being solely singers to being a full complement of musical performers. The compliments have not stopped; in a musical landscape where songs are often written by men and about male perspectives, Reyna has created its own history.
That history had the best of beginnings, with the mentorship of Lola Beltran, “La Reina de la Musica Ranchera,” who inspired confidence among the members in the early years.
While Hernandez often credits the tremendous contributions of Beltran and other early collaborators, Reyna could not have been created without his vision. Always ahead of the curve, Hernandez saw the potential to include more people in the rich heritage of mariachi music, and the opportunity to include more families in learning and performing.
“I knew there were enough excellent female musicians to do it, and I didn’t want guys to say, ‘They play like girls,’” says Hernandez. “Now guys from other groups come up to me and tell that they can’t get over how these girls sound so amazing. It’s because they sound like angels, and that’s why they are named after the City of Angels.”
Reyna has gained fame for the stars with whom they have shared the stage, such as Vicki Carr, Guadalupe Pineda, Miguel Aceves Mejia, and Lucha Villa, but they have gained even greater acclaim for the stars for whom they have performed: Tom Petty; the Dodgers’ Nomar Garciaparra and his soccer-star wife, Mia Hamm; John Travolta; Oprah Winfrey; Tom Cruise; Robin Williams; Sean Penn; and the late George Harrison of the Beatles.
These accomplishments have propelled Reyna de Los Angeles to record two successful albums, produced by Hernandez: Solo Tuya (Yours Only) and El Mejor Mariachi Femenino del Mundo (The Best Female Mariachi in the World). The latter is not just the title of the record; iit’s a proud legacy for a new world of mariachi music.
¡Que Vivan Las Mujeres!