The orchestra hall at Lubbock High School was filled with the distinguishable sound of mariachi music Wednesday, Feb. 5, as students showed off their best skills to guest instructor Jesus “Chuy” Guzman with a rendition of “Los Laureles.”
Guzman — a two-time Grammy award-winning mariachi artist who toured with rock legend Linda Ronstadt — is in Lubbock this week to share his knowledge with students of the craft at both LHS and Texas Tech.
“Mariachi — it’s my life, it’s my passion, it’s my everything,” Guzman said. “I’m here to give my passion, my life to the kids because they deserve it, they want to learn our tradition of music, our passion. I hope my visit to Lubbock gives a good memory to them.”
Guzman grew up in the state of Sonora, Mexico, and moved to the U.S. in 1985, he said. In 1988, he joined the critically acclaimed Mariachi los Camperos de Nati Cano as a violinist.
The group joined Linda Ronstadt on a tour of the U.S. and Europe in 1988 and was on the road with the singer until 1994 as she promoted her albums “Canciones de mi Padre” — Spanish for “songs of my father — and “Mas Canciones,” which means “more songs.”
SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS — Among Mexican-Americans in the United States, mariachi music has maintained its popularity for more than a century, especially in states that border Mexico, like Texas. But there are now mariachi groups in all parts of the United States and in some European and Asian nations as well.
Mariachi music has long been popular with San Antonio’s large Mexican-American population.
But among the young people performing at this event was 12-year-old Anani Rhames, an African-American girl who fell in love with the songs she heard in Mexican restaurants and on local radio stations.
“I like ‘Las Margaritas,’ which is about daisies and I like ‘El Pastor,’ which is about a shepherd,” she said.
Anani can relate to rural themes because she lives on a ranch and sometimes sings to her horses.
“You can actually connect with them. You can build a bond with them,” she said. “When they hear you their ears kind of perk up and they are like [it is as if they were saying] ‘hmmm, interesting.”