March 16, 2007

Radio Bilingüe celebrates 25 years of the ‘Viva El Mariachi’ Festival

Radio Bilingüe will celebrate the 25th anniversary of its internationally renown “¡Viva el Mariachi!” Festival, on Sunday, March 25, at the Fresno Convention Center- Selland Arena from noon to 5 p.m.

For its silver observance, in addition to the return of three of the world’s best known mariachi troupes, the community-based radio station is going back to some of the roots of mariachi featuring jarocho musicians from Veracruz, México and a Central Valley ensemble that plays traditional harp music from the hotlands of Michoacán, Mexico.

Festival veterans Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán, Los Camperos de Nati Cano and Mariachi México de Pepe Villa return to headline the silver anniversary milestone and will be joined by new performers: José Gutiérrez, a son jarocho master from Veracruz, and Arpex, a Central California group that plays música de Arpa grande, originally from Michoacan, Mexico and considered a “rural cousin” of urban mariachi music.

Also performing will be Mariachi Mujer 2000, folklórico dance troupe Los Paisanos de Selma High School, and students from the mariachi workshop held the day before the festival.

Among the festival highlights will be a special tribute to Don Miguel Martinez who at 85 years old is the patriarch of the modern mariachi movement, responsible for introducing the sound of two trumpets to a mariachi band, which has since become a standard. Martinez, who has played with Mariachi Vargas and Mariachi Mexico de Pepe Villa, will be at the festival for the tribute.

As part of its educational mission, Radio Bilingüe will again sponsor its annual Mariachi Workshops on Saturday, March 24, at Abraham Lincoln Middle School (1239 Nelson Blvd.) in Selma from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. After the workshops, students will perform at the Mariachi Jam, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m, at the school’s cafeteria.

Radio Bilingüe’s 25th anniversary of its “¡Viva el Mariachi!” Festival marks a milestone for the non-profit community based organization that was founded in 1976. The first festival was held in 1982 with the primary goal of showcasing the outstanding mariachi talent in the San Joaquin Valley.

For more information please visit Radio Bilingüe’s website at http://www.radiobilingue.org/mariachi2007/ or call (559) 455-5763.

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