AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Mariachi music can often be heard while you are dining at a Mexican restaurant, but for many, it is more than music but a way of life.
It is a Mexican tradition that goes back hundreds of years, and over time has made its way to the United States.
“This was a way of our ancestors expressing what they felt. This is who we are,” Ylaria Villarreal, melody guitar player and singer, explained.
Bands like Mariachi Gema are often made up of people from different areas with one thing in common; their love and passion for mariachi music and culture.
“I’ve met people from Bovina. I’ve met people from Cactus, from Dumas, that I never would have known if it wasn’t for mariachi,” Jessica Rodriguez, Director of Mariachi Gema, said.
Instruments, Spanish songs, and colorful outfits are some ways the band make themselves seen.
“We represent our culture, we represent Mexico, and therefore we stand out,” Villarreal said.
For some, it is a way of life and a reminder of history.
“Mariachi music is to express who we are as a Latino culture the hardships we have suffered and make joy out of it,” Villarreal said.
Jessica Rodriguez said mariachi is something that will live forever.
“We all know the music, we’ve all heard it either from our grandparents or from our parents and it’s something that keeps being passed on,” Rodriguez said.
Band members work during the week but when its time to perform it is as if they never missed a beat.
“We get to see each other on the weekend and we really become a family,” Rodriguez said.
Performers told me you do not have to understand the lyrics.
“Sometimes you get couples we sing a nice romantic ballad. they may not understand the lyrics but they can feel it.” Rodriguez said.