Long Beach, California 2021-05-29 01:03:56 –
Fuego, a popular restaurant in Hotel Maya on Long Beach, hosted the world’s first LGBTQ + mariachi on Sunday, welcoming a large number of fans and patrons.
Mariachi Arcoiris de Los Ángeles is made up of nine musicians and vocalists, all proud to be part of the LGBTQ + community. They are the first mariachi group of this kind.
This group was created in 2014 by music director Carlos Samaniego as a way to create a safe space for LGBTQ + musicians who were feeling alienated from the traditional mariachi group.
The band sang traditional mariachi music and interacted with the vibrant crowd that supported them, while patrons sipping mimosas and enjoying sea views just 10 feet away.
A spectator outside the restaurant stopped and listened to the band playing from the grass across the street.
Natalia Melendez, the group’s violinist and singer, is known as the world’s first transgender member of the Mariachi group. After more than a year of closing the music venue due to COVID-19 restrictions, she was finally excited to be able to perform in front of a live crowd.
“It’s a blessing … It’s a great blessing to perform on stage. Being an artist really puts a strain on your heart. Entertaining people is my passion and performing again I’m very happy to be able to do that, “said Melendez.
She admitted that she often sang in her bathroom and sometimes even to family and friends during the quarantine.
The group found a way to record together without violating California’s Social Distance Ordinance. Each member records the track separately and sends it to the manager. He then combines all of their instruments and voices to create a performance.
Martha Rivera, a fan of the group, said she had reserved a special Fuego table to watch the Mariachi play. She arrived early to assess where the band would play in order to find the perfect seat.
“I saw them featured in a program they sponsored. [LA Public] That’s why I’m here because the library and I really enjoyed their stories and passions, “said Rivera.
Mariachi sang a classic ballad that had been played for hundreds of years for three hours, and the Fuego patron applauded and sang with him. They are traditionally sung only by men, but women in the group were given equal opportunity to lead the song.
However, as an LGBTQ + mariachi band, there are various difficulties in working in a culture that emphasizes mainly “Matismo” and exaggerated masculinity.
In the past, Samaniego has revealed that it’s difficult for bands to find gigs that have nothing to do with regular gigs, such as appearing at PRIDE events in the Los Angeles area. This is historically across Mexican culture. Due to the homophobia / transphobia shown.
Mexican culture is characterized by a dominant belief in the Roman Catholic Church. According to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, more than 80% of Mexico’s population is Catholic. In the church, LGBTQ + individuals are considered sinful. Just two months ago, the Vatican ruled that the Catholic Church could not celebrate same-sex marriage.
Nevertheless, Mariachi Arcoiris de Los Angeles, despite these difficulties, appeared on national television on three widely popular daytime shows on the Spanish television network Univision.
They represent changes in Mexican culture that thrive to include all members of society, regardless of age, gender or sexuality.
Melendez has witnessed a huge difference in how they are treated now, compared to when they first performed in 2014. Especially for the younger generation of mariachi lovers.
“People are usually really supportive. It’s been a lot better. It’s a long way to go, but it’s generally good,” Melendez said.
For Melendez, the history the band has built up is worth the fight.
“Being part of something is really groundbreaking and I have limits. I can’t even say I was really lucky and lucky to be part of it …” Melendez said. It was.
With California officially reopening on June 15, Mariachi de Los Angeles is expected to perform at many events in the future. Check out the following websites for a list of upcoming events, fan goods, or booking information: https://www.mariachiarcoiris.com/