Celebrate the roots and rhythms of borderland culture at a grand festival that’s totally Tucson.
Tucson International Mariachi Conference
Casino Del Sol — April 25–28, 2018
Celebrate this exuberant symbol of Mexican culture in Tucson, a mariachi hub of the United States. See why mariachi music is recognized by UNESCO as part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
At La Frontera Tucson International Mariachi Conference every April, three public concerts cap a week of rigorous student workshops led by masters of mariachi music and folkloric dance. On Saturday morning, a Mariachi Mass with live music and dance is offered by a Catholic priest and is open to all.
Fans know this music must be seen and heard live to be truly appreciated. On stage, mariachi musicians wearing ornate charro (horseman) outfits accompany swirling baile folklórico (folk dancers). The band's soulful harmonies blend with bright string and bold brass sounds punctuated at times by an energetic Mexican grito (heartfelt cry), the most iconic sound in Latin music!
Video: Youth group Mariachi Tesoro de Tucson wows the 2014 audience.
Mariachi music is a familiar soundtrack in Tucson. The city is considered the birthplace of the youth mariachi group movement, beginning with Los Changuitos Feos (The Ugly Little Monkeys) in 1964 and continuing with public school programs and Tucson International Mariachi Conference workshops.
A model for other mariachi festivals, the Tucson International Mariachi Conference was founded in 1982 and nurtured by such legends as Mariachi Vargas De Tecalitlán, Mariachi Cobre, the late Lola Beltrán, and Tucson native Linda Ronstadt. The two Grammy Award-winning albums of classic mariachi songs Ronstadt learned while growing up in Tucson are a tribute to her own Mexican-American roots and expanded the audience for mariachi music.
Interested in more of Tucson’s borderland cultural heritage? Take the Best of the Barrio Culinary Tour or visit the Best 23 Miles of Mexican Food district. Tour Mission San Xavier del Bac, Presidio San Agustin, and Tubac Presidio State Historic Park. Browse the Raices Taller 222 Art Gallery and the Tucson Museum of Art’s Latin American Art collection, or watch an original play at Borderlands Theater.
If you visit in early November, don't miss All Souls Procession weekend, a totally Tucson take on All Soul's Day and Mexico's Day of the Dead. On any Wednesday evening, you can live stream mariachi songs as part of the mix of old and new Mexican and Latin music on Tucson's community radio, KXCI 91.3 FM.
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