The genre of Mexican mariachi music has evolved in the United States.
Mariachi Herencia de México started from a student music program in the Chicago Public Schools
“We show features of a lot of Mexican mariachi repertoire and give them a fresh arrangement,” said Marco Villela, the band’s music director. “We are revitalizing the music and bringing new things to the table to the genre of mariachi. (Attendees) can expect to hear a wide range of styles within the whole mariachi genre.”
Villela also plays the trumpet and sings.
Mariachi Herencia de México will make its first visit to Carmel with an 8 p.m. concert Feb. 9 at the Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts. The 13-piece band consists of five violins, three trumpets, three guitars (including the Mexican vihuela), one bass and one harp, with the musicians doubling as singers.
“We have written music in English. Most notably, we have a medley of songs with a tribute to the great Frank Sinatra written entirely for mariachi,” Villela said.
The medley consists of “Come Fly With Me,” “My Way” and “Fly Me to the Moon.”
“Half of the music is composed by one of the greatest composers of the whole mariachi genre by Rigoberto Alfaro, who is pretty much responsible for creating half of the mariachi genre,” Villela said. “The other half of the show is composed by myself. A lot of arrangements are true to the essence of the original song. We try to capture the essence, capture the melody and we harmonize a little here and there.”
Villela, 20, is from Chicago, and his parents are Mexican immigrants.
“Half of the group is from Chicago and the other half are from Mexico,” said Villela, who helped found the group.
The band’s most recent release was “Herederos” in 2022, which was nominated for a Latin Grammy for Best Ranchero/Mariachi Album.
“We didn’t win but that’s all right,” Villela said. “We went to Spain to represent our Mexican community, our parents, our parents’ sacrifices and the entire genre of mariachi because it’s not very often you see a mariachi band get nominated for a Grammy. Usually, you see an artist who recorded with a mariachi and just the artist gets the nomination.”
The group’s 2017 debut album, “Nuesta Herencia,” also received a Latin Grammy nomination.