Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán is a mariachi ensemble from Mexico.
In 1897, Gaspar Vargas founded Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán in Tecalitlán, Jalisco, Mexico. To this day, the mariachi ensemble remains as such because of love and dedication for Mexican folk music.
According to Federico Torres, band leader and trumpet player, that, and a lot of hard work, has kept the group alive for more than 100 years.
Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán has a show on Saturday, February 15 at the City National Grove in Anaheim.
In an exclusive interview for Living Out Loud, Torres spoke about the group’s evolution over the years and their upcoming show, among other things.
Living Out Loud: After more than 100 years, what’s the secret to keeping the group alive?
Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán: The main thing is to maintain the same basic elements as long as possible. Among those, there has to be a real love and dedication for Mexican folk music, as well as lots of hard work.
LOL: How has Mariachi Vargas evolved over the years? Do you think you’ve conserved your authenticity?
MVT: To keep traditions, but also make the necessary changes to stay relevant to the times. As with everything else, adapt or die.
LOL: What is it about Mariachi music that touches the hearts of people all over the world?
MVT: Mexican music is very versatile – it makes you scream with joy and vibrant with emotion all over.
LOL: Do you consider yourselves to be the leading Mexican Mariachi band?
MVT: We think all Mariachi groups are the leading representatives of Mexican folk music.
LOL: How would you defend Mariachi music as part of a human cultural heritage?
MVT: We think the best way is to just continue doing everything as we have been up until now.
LOL: You’ve collaborated with practically all Mariachi singers in Mexican music. Is there any contemporary artist whom you have yet to record with and would like to?
MVT: We don’t have any preference, for us everyone is just as important.
LOL: At this point in its history, does Mariachi Vargas feel honored to collaborate with great artists, or should those artists be the ones who are honored to work with you?
MVT: We feel that’s mutual.
LOL: Do you think the golden age of Mariachi will ever return, or has it never left?
MVT: For us, it never left.
LOL: Mariachi Vargas is a family affair. Will the group continue until the family wants it to, or can it live on without any member of the Vargas family?
MVT: Mariachi Vargas is an institution. We don’t think it needs to hold any familial ties in order to thrive. We feel the last 116 years proves that. We’re in our 5th generation, about to start our 6th.
LOL: What does Southern California mean to you?
MVT: All of California is very important for us, not just the south. It has a very large Latin population and many of them are loyal fans of ours for generations.
LOL: You have an upcoming show at the City National Grove in Anaheim on February 15. How do you feel about coming here, and what can you tell the public to make them come see you?
MVT: We feel great. As a matter of fact, we feel at home. People always give us a great welcome with lots of love. All we can offer is our music to warm up their hearts, and help them forget their problems while at the same time, bring them closer to their roots.