Mariachi Los Camperos Come to Lincoln Theater
Few things are more exciting than the driving rhythms and evocative melodies of the violin, vihuela, guitar and trumpet coming together to produce one of the most popular musical genres of all time: mariachi. And no other mariachi group has mastered the style like Grammy winning Mariachi Los Camperos, one of the oldest and finest ensembles in the world. The celebrated band returns to the Valley on February 10 for Viva Mexico! Viva America!, a rousing performance at Lincoln Theater.
Mariachi is a music of the people and celebrates their struggles, joys and accomplishments. Calling the group "camperos" (meaning countrymen), Mariachi Los Camperos was founded in 1960 by mariachi giant Natividad "Nati" Cano. The group has since become an unstoppable musical force.
A traditionalist and a visionary, Nati played an integral role in the development of mariachi music in North America by mentoring new musicians, expanding the repertoire, and bringing mariachi performance out of the traditional venue, the cantina, and into the concert hall. In 1989, Nati received the National Heritage Fellowship of the National Endowment for the Arts, the US government's highest honor in traditional arts, in recognition of his life's work. His passing in October 2014 was mourned by performers, students, and lovers of mariachi around the world.
Asked in 2009 how he felt about his success, Nati replied: "I did it to preserve, to rescue so many beautiful songs. I never thought that we would be nominated for a Grammy. I did it as a tribute to Mexico, to its people, who are the ones who keep these beautiful songs alive. We only did what we were supposed to do and we are very proud."
Jesús "Chuy" Guzmán succeeded Nati as Music Director of the group. Guzmán was a close protege of Nati and is master of numerous traditional mariachi instruments. He has collaborated on orchestration and musical arrangements for the Symphony Orchestra of Jalisco and has recorded as guest artist with Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitln.
The band has played across the United States and in places like Carnegie Hall, Disney Hall, Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center and the Orange County Performing Arts Center. In 1987, the ensemble achieved musical acclaim for their participation on Linda Ronstadt's Canciones de Mi Padre.
Los Camperos shared a 2005 Best Musical Album for Children Grammy for cELLAbration!, A tribute to Ella Jenkins. In 2006, the album Llegaron Los Camperos was nominated for a Grammy. In 2008, the group released their third CD with Smithsonian Folkways, entitled Amor, Dolor y Lágrima that won the 2009 Grammy for Best Regional Mexican Album. In 2015, the group released its forth CD with Smithsonian Folkways, Tradición, Arte y Pasión, which was nominated for a 2016 Grammy for Best Regional Mexican Album.
Mariachi Los Camperos will be performing on February 10 at 7pm at the Lincoln Theater in Yountville. Tickets are $10 for children and students, and regular ticket prices are $45, $65 and $85. For tickets go to www.lincolntheater.org or call the box office at 707-944-9900.