Student vocalist Isela Rodriguez, who for the last two years has studied the rich romantic culture of her Mexican heritage through mariachi music, will perform familiar songs from the mariachi tradition in a program entitled Mexico Lindo: Canciones de Romance (Sweet Mexico: Songs of Romance) on Friday, April 9 at 7pm in Killian Hall.
"By learning to sing the songs that have been sung and loved for generations, I hope to grasp a portion of the past and embrace it as part of my future," said Ms. Rodriguez, a senior in urban studies and planning.
Her performance (in which she will be accompanied by Mariachi Mexamerica, a seven-piece, Boston-based mariachi band) will be the culmination of training that began in 1997 when she was awarded an MIT List Foundation Fellowship Program in the Arts for Students of Color to study mariachi, a term related to the ensemble of the same name.
Widely considered the quintessential Mexican folk-derived musical group, the mariachi has since the 1930s become an institution symbolic of Mexican music and culture. While the music reached its peak in popularity during the 1950s and 1960s, it has enjoyed a recent revival in the US and has become increasingly popular among women.
Finding this artistic outlet at MIT was "a priceless gift from above," said Ms. Rodriguez, who added that through further development of her voice and performance technique, she hopes to "one day reach professional status."
For more information on the event, call x3-8089.
A version of this article appeared in the April 7, 1999 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 43, Number 25).