Musician Dolores Samaniego found her love for Mariachi music when she was in high school. She took an elective that she thought would teach her basic guitar, but instead introduced her to play the vihuela, a type of Mariachi guitar.
Today, Samaniego is a member of the premier all-female Mariachi Group, Mariachi Damas de Jalisco.
“I didn’t think, ‘Oh, I’m going to join Mariachi. I just fell in love with it when I got into it my freshmen year,” Samaniego said.
She continued her passion for Mariachi by joining the Mariachi group at The University of Texas at San Antonio and then joined the professional group, Mariachi Damas de Jalisco. She has now been their Vihuela player for 10 years.
Communication junior Huda Eltayeb, had the opportunity to hear Samaniego play on campus earlier this month.
On Sept. 17, the all-female Mariachi group Mariachi Damas de Jalisco performed as students watched, ate pan dulce and called out song requests. The university celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month throughout September.
“The fact that pan dulce was being served just brought the scene alive, like if they served chicken then it wouldn’t have went with the event,” Etayeb said.
Students said they enjoy listening to the music that represents their cultures.
“Mariachi music brings people together. It just makes you feel at home because in Mexico this music is very common so it’s nice to hear it over here,” said Julian Ramirez, business administration junior.
This wasn’t the first time Mariachi Damas de Jalisco performed on the campus of Texas A&M University-San Antonio. They have performed for some of the university’s first-year orientations.
“The campus is pretty, there’s pretty paintings, it’s very San Antonio and I like how they have the whole vibe of the missions from the decor and architecture,” Samaniego said.
The all-female group was founded in May 2005 and consists of six official members. The group has performed in other states and have traveled to Kansas, Missouri, Chicago and South Korea. They were hired by the military to perform in South Korea in September of 2008, at five military bases for Heritage Month.
“You could tell that the military people were very excited to hear the music and have something from their country even though it’s Mariachi and it’s a Hispanic thing,” Samaniego said.
One thing that really stood out to Samaniego when they performed on the military bases was that she remembered a South Korean woman singing a very traditional mariachi song with the same melody as the Spanish version, but the woman sang it in Korean.
Heritage Month, Samaniego says, is nice for everyone to celebrate. The United States, known as a country of many cultures, should continue to accept all kinds of cultures and languages.
Mariachi Damas de Jalisco has performed for many occasions such as weddings, Quinceañeras, concerts, family gatherings and even business conventions.
They get WOW expressions from their audiences. “That one girl she held a note for like three minutes long, I was like MAN!” Eltayeb said .
She also had the honor of receiving a serenade by Mariachi Damas de Jalisco in the cafeteria when her friend told the group that it was Eltayeb’s birthday.
“It wasn’t even my birthday! He did it to make me shy in front of everyone. But I thought the group was really cool.”
Some students had never heard of Mariachi Damas de Jalisco before Monday.
“I thought they were sensational, I never heard of them, but I will probably look more into them now,” Ramirez said.
Texas A&M-San Antonio will continue to provide a variety of cultural events through October to honor LatinX Heritage Month. Activities such as a kite festival, a tour of the missions and an appearance from poet, Arianna Brown are to come.
To find out more about visit Mariachi Damas De Jalisco.