Recent News
12.07.18
JoAnn Falletta, Mariss Jansons, David Alan Miller, Peter Oundjian, Patrick Summers, Alexandre Tharaud, Magos Herrera & Brooklyn Rider , Mason Bates, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Munich , Academy of St Martin in the Fields , Les Violons du Roy , Anthony Roth Costanzo, Nathan Gunn
2019 Grammy Nominees
Grammy Awards
12.07.18
New York Philharmonic String Quartet , Yefim Bronfman
Bronfman, NY Philharmonic Quartet impress at Linton Series
Cincinnati Business Courier
12.04.18
Sir Andrew Davis
ELGAR The Music Makers. The Spirit of England (Davis)
Gramophone
12.03.18
Chanticleer
Chanticleer Christmas concert, 11/30/18
Divamensch
12.01.18
Ward Stare
Twin pianists deliver impeccable style in ‘Perfect Pairs’ concert
Sarasota Herald Tribune
11.27.18
Richard Kaufman
PHANTOM OF THE OPERA HAUNTS THE SOROYA IN REAL TIME
Broadway World
11.26.18
Twyla Tharp Dance
Dreaming of Dancing With Twyla Tharp
Next Avenue
11.19.18
Twyla Tharp Dance
‘Minimalism and Me’ Review: Twyla Tharp Tells Her Story
Wall Street Journal
11.19.18
Vienna Boys Choir
Audiences get whirlwind musical tour as Vienna Boys' Choir performs at Ent Center
Colorado Springs Gazette
11.17.18
Thomas E. Bauer
Intense Mahler and Schubert from Thomas E. Bauer in Auckland
Bachtrack

News archive »

Cano and company make a joyful case for serious mariachi

02.12.06
The Ann Arbor News

The nine musicians of Los Camperos de Nati Cano didn't need a translator to be understood during their concert at Hill Auditorium Friday.

Anyone who understands the range of human emotion took something away from the performance by the world's premier mariachi band, even if they didn't take in every word.

The setting was Ann Arbor, but the spirit was clearly south of the border, as the band led a guided tour of Mexico's geography and history during a two-and-a-half-hour show that ranged from joyous exuberance to plaintive yearning.

Featuring two trumpets, four fiddles, Mexican harp, guitarron (six-string bass guitar) and Cano on Vihuela -a five-stringed rhythm guitar - the band sounded at least twice as big as the sum of its instruments, blasting out a brassy, rhythmic musical stew that whipped the University Musical Society crowd into frequent shouts of "Olé!''

Cano said his life mission is to bring mariachi - traditional Mexican music - to classical audiences in the same way that jazz has found legitimacy with fans of "serious'' music.

"It's been my dream to play concert halls,'' Cano said. "And here we are ... in this beautiful auditorium.''

Fortunately, reaching that goal hasn't taken the joy out of his music. On Friday, band members performed loosely choreographed dance steps and good-naturedly played to the audience for approval.

While most of the repertoire was unfamiliar to untrained ears - this pair included - it was obvious just how much of the mariachi repertoire has seeped into American culture.

Even with the welcome absence of "La Bamba'' - Cano said it is to Mexican music what a chimichanga is to Mexican food - much of the set list featured familiar refrains popularized in everything from movie westerns to hockey games.

But even at its most exuberant, the band's virtuosity was never far from the forefront. Powered by subtle yet forceful bass lines, harmonized trumpet charts and syncopated violin arrangements, nearly every song featured at least one moment of jaw-dropping instrumental or vocal brilliance.

Many of those moments arrived courtesy of Musical Director Jesus "Chuy'' Guzman, whose rich, expressive singing powered several of the more than two dozen numbers, frequently breaking into falsetto to extend phrases beyond their expected resolution.

But, while he was eager to give over most of the musical fireworks to other musicians, it was clear that Cano's charm and wit and enthusiasm have kept the band at the top of the peak. He has that rare ability to bring genre music to the mainstream not only through technical ability, but also through sheer force of personality.