And So It Begins…

10.04.10
Mariachi Los Camperos
UCLAlive.org

As for Mariachi Los Camperos, the group’s guest stars were Los Angeles-native songstress Perla Batalla and also Angeles Ochoa, one of the most beloved voices in Mexican music, who joined Los Camperos in their second set decked out in traditional mariachi garb and with her amazing pipes on full display.

As for Mariachi Los Camperos, the group’s guest stars were Los Angeles-native songstress Perla Batalla and also Angeles Ochoa, one of the most beloved voices in Mexican music, who joined Los Camperos in their second set decked out in traditional mariachi garb and with her amazing pipes on full display. Backstage, Angeles celebrated her birthday with cake and her friends and family who were in the house.

Speaking of backstage…Nati Cano is just as mischievous, ingratiating and full of mirth there as he is in front of the crowd. And, the exceptionally sharp 77-year-old doesn’t miss a beat when talking about his beloved mariachi music.

Friday morning, Los Camperos put on a special educational show for 1,000 Los Angeles middle and high-school aged students as part of our community program Design for Sharing.

Backstage after that event, I told Mr. Cano how much I enjoyed the music. I think I said the word “amazing.”

He looked me in the eye and said “Why? Why did you enjoy it? Why did you think it was amazing?”

It kind of took me aback and challenged me to verbalize what I meant. I told him how impressed I was at the group’s musicality, the sheer vocal prowess and incredible harmonies of all the singers and their stunning instrumentality.

“Ohh, he said,” with a smile and a little glint in his eye. “You are new to mariachi….we are going to spoil you.”

Another staffer told me she had a similar encounter with the mariachi maestro. He told her that he always asks people “why”—when they offer compliments, inspiring them to really think about their experience with the music.

In honor of Nati and all those experiences he has instigated over the course of a half-century, Perla Batalla, with her effortless charm, warmed up Saturday night’s audience with groovy, jazzy takes on several traditional Mexican and Latin classics. She told stories of growing up in Los Angeles listening to Los Camperos’ mariachi music with her record-store owning parents–what she called “the soundtrack of her childhood.”

“Let’s show Nati how much we love him,” she said, encouraging the audience to sing along to a rousing Batalla-style version of “Guantanamera.”

And we did…oops I mean “they did.” (Aww what the heck, I admit it, I sang along too.)

Read the full blog here