Southland Sessions

S1 E3 | FULL EPISODE

Mariachi: from Romance to Resistance

Hosted by Mariachi musician Julian Torres, this episode explores the tradition of Mariachi music and its transformation through time and circumstance. See how groups are finding ways to survive and support one another, like Mariachi Aguilas de Oxnard, who took to the fields to celebrate farmers. Featuring special performances by La Marisol and Quetzal.

AIRED: July 29, 2020 | 0:52:22
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
TRANSCRIPT

[PLAYING SLOW TUNE]

MAN: WELCOME TO "SOUTHLAND

SESSIONS." EVERY WEEK, WE

SHOWCASE THE VIBRANCY AND

RESILIENCE OF THE CREATIVE

COMMUNITY ACROSS SOUTHERN

CALIFORNIA. MY NAME IS JULIAN

TORRES. I AM A PROUD MARIACHI

SINGER, SONGWRITER, AND

MUSICIAN. I HAVE BEEN PERFORMING

THIS BEAUTIFUL ARTFORM SINCE THE

AGE OF 7. IT IS MY HONOR TO BE

YOUR HOST. TODAY, WE ARE LOOKING

AT HOW MARIACHIS AND TRADITIONAL

MEXICAN MUSIC HAVE ADAPTED FROM

VIRTUAL SERENADES TO BACKYARD

SING-A-LONGS AND TRIBUTES TO OUR

ESSENTIAL WORKERS. THIS IS HOW

MY COMMUNITY HAS RESPONDED TO

THESE CHANGING TIMES. THE

PANDEMIC MIGHT KEEP US APART,

BUT IT WILL NEVER SILENCE THE

MUSIC.

ANNOUNCER: "SOUTHLAND SESSIONS"

WAS MADE POSSIBLE IN PART BY...

THE CITY OF LOS ANGELES

DEPARTMENT OF CULTURAL AFFAIRS

AND THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR

THE ARTS.

WOMAN: BUENAS TARDES DESDE

CASITA. BUENAS TARDES FROM THE

BACKYARD.

[SPEAKING SPANISH]

[GUITAR PLAYING SOFTLY]

[MAN SPEAKING SPANISH]

PEPE!

[WOMAN SINGING IN SPANISH]

[BOTH SINGING]

[BOTH SINGING]

ECHALE, PEPE.

[PEPE CONTINUES PLAYING SOFTLY]

[BOTH SINGING]

LA MARISOUL: WHOOEE!

THAT WAS LA MARISOUL, THE VOICE

OF L.A. AND BANDMATE AND

GUITARIST FROM LA SANTACECILIA

PEPE CARLOS SINGING A CLASSIC

COVER FROM JOSE ALFREDO JIMENEZ

"LA CIUDADES" SAFELY FROM HER

BACKYARD IN NORTHEAST L.A. AS

YOU CAN SEE, MARIACHI MUSIC HAS

BEEN DEEPLY ROOTED IN THE

HISTORY OF LOS ANGELES AND IS

BLOOMING NOW MORE THAN EVER,

STARTING WITH THE CREATION OF

THE WORLD'S FIRST MARIACHI

DINNER SHOW LA FONDA IN 1969.

THE TRADITION OF THE SOUNDS AND

SIGHTS OF MARIACHI SURGED FROM

LOS ANGELES THROUGH THE U.S. AND

THE WORLD. SINCE ITS BIRTH ON

THE OCCIDENTAL COAST OF MAINLAND

MEXICO, THE SPIRIT OF MARIACHI

HAS ALWAYS BEEN A WAY TO BRING

PEOPLE TOGETHER. I REMEMBER

ATTENDING MY FIRST MARIACHI

CONCERT AS A KID WHEN I WAS 6

YEARS OLD AND TELLING MY DAD,

"PAPA, THAT IS WHAT I WANT TO BE

WHEN I GROW UP.

[MUSIC PLAYING AND BOY SINGING]

AS A PANDEMIC LOOMED OVER THE

MARIACHI COMMUNITY, WE WERE LEFT

WITHOUT GIGS, WITHOUT WORK,

WITHOUT SUSTAINING INCOME. BEING

THAT I AM A TRUMPET PLAYER WITH

AN UNDERLYING CONDITION, IT HAS

BEEN VERY DIFFICULT TO RISK

BEING OUT IN PUBLIC WITHOUT A

MASK. MANY OF US HAVE BEEN

FORTUNATE TO HAVE THE ABILITY TO

FIND AND CREATE DIFFERENT WAYS

OF KEEPING THE SOUNDS OF THE

VIOLINS, TRUMPETS, GUITARS,

GUITAR OMBRES, AND VIHUELA

GUITAR ALIVE. WELL-KNOWN

MARIACHI GROUPS LIKE MARIACHI

AGUILAS DE OXNARD,

FOR EXAMPLE, WERE ABLE

TO EXPRESS THEIR GRATITUDE AND

BRING JOY TO THE ESSENTIAL

WORKERS IN THE FIELDS OF

VENTURA COUNTY.

[SPEAKING SPANISH]

[SINGERS SINGING IN SPANISH]

[OZUNA SPEAKING SPANISH]

[SINGING IN SPANISH]

[CHORUS SINGING]

[OZUNA SPEAKING SPANISH]

[PLAYING QUIET TUNE]

JULIAN: AMONG THE UNCERTAINTIES

OF THE SHELTER-AT-HOME ORDER,

MARIACHIS AND OTHER MUSICIANS

HAVE FOUND CREATIVE WAYS TO KEEP

PERFORMING AND REACHING THEIR

AUDIENCES.

[WOMAN SINGING IN SPANISH]

JULIAN: I, MYSELF, HAVE CREATED

A FRIDAY NIGHT LIVESTREAM

CONCERT SERIES CALLED "NOCHE

DE..." WHERE I PLAY CLASSIC

MARIACHI STANDARDS. I'VE ALSO

OFFERED VIRTUAL SERENATAGRAMS

FOR ANY OCCASION AND MOVED ALL

MY MUSIC TEACHINGS TO ZOOM.

LET'S TAKE A LOOK AT HOW OTHERS

ARE EMBRACING TECHNOLOGY.

[PLAYING UPBEAT MARIACHI MUSIC]

JULIAN: LIVE PERFORMANCES ARE

NOT COMMON OR APPROPRIATE THESE

DAYS. I HAVE HAD TO PERFORM ON

MY FRONT PORCH, HAVE SHOWCASED

MY NEW SONGS ON INSTAGRAM LIVE,

AND HAVE HAD A SUCCESSFUL

MOTHER'S DAY VIRTUAL CONCERT ON

ZOOM, WHERE I WAS ABLE TO

INTERACT WITH THE AUDIENCE AND

SEE THEIR BEAUTIFUL FACES. AS

STRANGE AS IT IS, THIS TIME HAS

GIVEN US A MORE INTIMATE SPACE

TO PERFORM AND CONNECT. MI

COMPANERO AND WONDERFUL REGIONAL

MEXICAN SINGER DEYRA BARRERA,

CO-FOUNDER OF HER OWN MARIACHI

QUARTET, MARIACHI CORAZON DE

MEXICO, PERFORM SOLO AND WITH

GUESTS ON INSTAGRAM LIVE ALL THE

TIME, AND THE LIKES GO CRAZY.

HAILING FROM SONORA, MEXICO, SHE

HAS A LONG HISTORY AS A MARIACHI

MUSICIAN AND HAS PARTICIPATED IN

MANY NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL

SINGING REALITY TV SHOWS. MOST

RECENTLY, AS ONE OF THE 4

FINALISTS OF UNIVISION'S "LA

REINA DE LA CANCION." DURING THE

LOCKDOWN, DEYRA HAS BEEN HANGING

OUT IN HER BACKYARD WITH HER

FAMILY. HERE SHE IS CELEBRATING

HER TIA'S BIRTHDAY PARTY.

[WOMEN SPEAKING SPANISH]

[JOSEFINA SINGING IN SPANISH]

[DEYRA PLAYING GUITAR]

[BOTH SPEAKING SPANISH]

[SINGING IN SPANISH]

[JULIAN AND DEYRA SPEAKING

SPANISH]

[DEYRA SINGING IN SPANISH]

JULIAN: [SPEAKING SPANISH]

CANCION "VAS A CAER"

WAS WRITTEN BY MARIA

COCO VILALOBOS. THIS

SINGER/SONGWRITER FROM TIJUANA

IS A TOP-CLASS ARTIST. HER

MOTHER, GRANDMOTHER, AND

GREAT-GRANDFATHER WERE MARIACHI

MUSICIANS, SO SHE HAS THE GENRE

IN HER BLOOD. HER CAREER LED HER

TO WIN PRESTIGIOUS AWARDS. COCO

EVEN OPENED UP FOR THE LATE,

GREAT MEXICAN POWERHOUSE JOSE

JOSE. CURRENTLY, COCO IS ALSO

REGULARLY ACTIVE ON HER FACEBOOK

LIVE FEED SINGING HER OWN PENNED

CLASSICS TO A LOYAL GROUP OF

FOLLOWERS. WHO WOULD HAVE

THOUGHT THAT YOU'D BE GETTING AN

INTIMATE VIRTUAL PERFORMANCE BY

AN INCREDIBLY CHARISMATIC ARTIST

MAKING YOU FORGET THAT WE'RE

LIVING IN THE TIME OF A

PANDEMIC?

[COCO SINGING SOFTLY IN

SPANISH]

JULIAN: WHILE DEYRA AND COCO

HAVE THE MORE TRADITIONAL

MEXICAN INFLUENCE,

BACKGROUND, AND VISION,

L.A. TREASURE LA MARISOUL

IS SINGING A NEW SOUND

BORN OUT OF L.A. WHILE

PRESERVING THE ESSENCE OF HER

MEXICAN HERITAGE AND ADVOCATING

FOR IMMIGRANT RIGHTS. AS WE SAW

AT THE OPENING OF THE EPISODE,

LA MARISOUL AND HER COMPADRE

PEPE CARLOS

HAVE BEEN BUSY PLAYING

MUSIC AT HOME, EVEN WHILE MAKING

SALSA.

[PLAYING LIGHT TUNE]

[LA MARISOUL SINGING IN SPANISH]

JULIAN: LA MARISOUL AND THE

MUSIC OF LA SANTACECILIA

ARE AN INSPIRATION

TO A NEW GENERATION OF YOUNG

ARTISTS TAKING THE MANTLE OF THE

CULTURE. EVEN IF MEXICAN FOLK

MUSIC HAS ALWAYS BEEN CONSIDERED

A MALE-DOMINATED GENRE,

17-YEAR-OLD ANESSA HAS BEEN

RECORDING HER OWN PERFORMANCES

AT HOME IN OXNARD, CALIFORNIA.

HERE SHE IS SINGING AND PLAYING

EVERY SINGLE INSTRUMENT OF LA

SANTACECILIA'S "COMO DIOS

MANDA."

[SLOW TEMPO]

[ANESSA SPEAKING SPANISH]

[ANESSA SINGING IN SPANISH]

JULIAN: AS A NEW GENERATION

TAKES OVER THE MANTLE OF PUSHING

MEXICAN TRADITIONAL MUSIC

FORWARD, IN 2014, MARIACHI

ARCOIRIS BECAME THE WORLD'S

FIRST LGBTQ+ MARIACHI BAND IN

THE NATION. THIS ENSEMBLE IS

CONTINUING THE TRADITION OF

MEXICAN REGIONAL MUSIC WITH

FRESH ENERGY AND PRIDE. THEY

HAVE BECOME A STAPLE OF THE

"BRADY BUNCH" MARIACHI ZOOM

PERFORMANCES TODAY. HERE THEY

ARE WITH A TRIBUTE TO EL REY

DE BOLERO ALVARO CARILLO.

[UPBEAT TEMPO]

[MAN SPEAKING SPANISH]

[TRUMPET SOLO]

[MAN SPEAKING SPANISH]

[VIOLIN SOLO]

JULIAN: AS THE GENERATIONS

CONTINUE, SO DO THE TRADITIONS.

MARTHA GONZALEZ AND QUETZAL

FLORES OF THE

GRAMMY-WINNING CHICANO

BAND QUETZAL HAS SPENT TIME

GETTING DEEP INTO THE ROOTS OF

THE MUSIC AND ARE PASSING THE

TORCH. THEIR SON SANDINO WROTE

THE SONG YOU'RE ABOUT TO HEAR IN

QUARANTINE. INSPIRED BY "FOLLOW

THE DRINKING GOURD," A SONG

TAUGHT TO BLACK CHILDREN DURING

SLAVERY TO GUIDE THEM TO

FREEDOM, THE SONG IS A STARK

REMINDER OF THE HISTORICAL

INEQUITIES IN OUR SOCIETY AND

THE ROLE THAT MUSIC HAS ALWAYS

PLAYED IN BRINGING HOPE, TRUTH,

AND JOY TO EVERYONE. HERE IS THE

QUETZAL FAMILY TRIO PERFORMING

"ESTRELLA DEL NORTE."

[PLAYING UPBEAT TEMPO]

[SANDINO SINGING IN SPANISH]

[ALL SINGING TOGETHER]

[SANDINO SINGING]

[ALL SINGING TOGETHER]

[SANDINO SINGING]

JULIAN: HOLA, QUETZAL AND

SANDINO. COMO ESTA?

QUETZAL: HOLA QUE TAL.

BUENOS DIAS.

JULIAN: BUENOS DIAS. GOOD

MORNING. THIS BEAUTIFUL SONG YOU

JUST PLAYED--WHAT IS THE HISTORY

BEHIND IT?

SANDINO: WELL, "LA ESTRELLA

DEL NORTE" TRANSLATES TO "THE

NORTH STAR," WHICH IS LIKE A

STAR IN THE CONSTELLATION THE

BIG DIPPER. SO I--THIS SONG I

WROTE IS ABOUT FORCED MIGRATION,

AND IT HAS A LOT OF REFERENCES

TO THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD. SO

THE MELODY IS BASED OFF OF THE

MELODY FROM "FOLLOW THE DRINKING

GOURD," WHICH IS A SONG WRITTEN

BY THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD

CONDUCTOR PEG LEG JOE. HE HAD A

PEG LEG, A PROSTHETIC.

JULIAN: HA HA! WOW. SPEAKING

ABOUT HISTORY AND TRADITION AND

EVERYTHING, WHY IS IT IMPORTANT

TO KEEP--FOR INSTANCE, THE MUSIC

ALIVE, THE RHYTHMS, THE SON

JAROCHO, BOLEROS, MARIACHI? WHY

IS IT IMPORTANT NOT ONLY FOR THE

YOUTH BUT FOR ALL OF US TO KEEP

THESE SOUNDS AND THIS MUSIC

ALIVE?

SANDINO: IT'S IMPORTANT BECAUSE

WE'VE BEEN SYSTEMATICALLY

DEHUMANIZED THROUGHOUT HISTORY.

AND ESPECIALLY RIGHT NOW, IT'S

IMPORTANT TO SHOW PEOPLE THAT WE

HAVE CULTURE, WE HAVE A HISTORY.

WE'RE ANCIENT PEOPLE. WE HAD

CIVILIZATIONS, AND WE'RE JUST

RICH IN ALL OF THIS CULTURE. AND

THROUGH THAT PROCESS, WE CAN,

YOU KNOW--WE'RE HUMAN AND WE CAN

SHOW THAT, AND IT'S IMPORTANT TO

KEEP THAT ALIVE.

QUETZAL: SO, IN ADDITION TO WHAT

SANDINO JUST DESCRIBED, I WANTED

TO SAY THAT THESE RHYTHMS THAT

WE'RE TALKING ABOUT, THESE

MELODIES, THESE ARE THE

ANCESTORS SPEAKING THROUGH US.

THESE ARE THE CONTINUED VOICES

OF PEOPLE WHO HAVE REFUSED THE

DESTINY THAT WE'VE BEEN HANDED

WHO HAVE CREATED THE POSSIBILITY

FOR ALTERNATIVES FOR

"RE-MEMBERING" 'CAUSE WE'VE BEEN

DISMEMBERED. AND THESE RHYTHMS

AND MELODIES ARE WAYS FOR US TO

RE-MEMBER OUR HUMANITY AND TO

REMEMBER THE IMPORTANCE OF

CRITICAL CONNECTION. AND THROUGH

THESE PROCESSES, WE'RE ABLE TO

HOLD ONTO EACH OTHER AND TO

THESE DEEP, DEEP, DEEP ROOTS

THAT ALLOW US TO MOVE FORWARD.

JULIAN: BEAUTIFUL. IT'S AMAZING

TO BE ABLE TO HAVE THAT RICH

HISTORY WHERE WE CAN IDENTIFY

THROUGH MUSIC, LISTENING TO A

CERTAIN RHYTHM AND FEELING IT IN

OUR BONES, IN OUR SOUL. HOPE YOU

GUYS KEEP BEING HEALTHY AND GOD

BLESS YOU GUYS. THANK YOU FOR

BEING HERE WITH ME.

QUETZAL: THANK YOU SO MUCH.

[JULIAN SPEAKING SPANISH]

MEN: SI, SEÑOR!

[JULIAN CONTINUES SPEAKING]

WE HOPE YOU'VE ENJOYED YOURSELF

HERE AT "SOUTHLAND SESSIONS."

HOPE TO SEE YOU SOON NEXT WEEK.

[SPEAKING SPANISH]

[SLOW TEMPO]

[JULIAN SINGING IN SPANISH]

ANNOUNCER: "SOUTHLAND SESSIONS"

WAS MADE POSSIBLE IN PART BY...

THE CITY OF LOS ANGELES

DEPARTMENT OF CULTURAL AFFAIRS

AND THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR

THE ARTS.


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