The Grammy-Award winning group Mariachi Los Camperos will play at 7 p.m. Feb. 9 at the IU Auditorium as a part of the Mexico Remixed festival.
The group has released nine albums since it was founded in 1961 by Nati Cano. Following Cano’s death in 2014, Jesús “Chuy” Guzmán became the music director of Los Camperos.
The group helped move mariachi music out of the traditional venue of cantinas and into auditoriums. Los Camperos also established La Fonda, a restaurant in Los Angeles that is the world’s first mariachi dinner-theater restaurant.
“Playing in cantinas is not bad,” Guzmán said. “But what we are looking for is to give the music another meaning.”
During the span of their two-hour performance, the traditional 12-man group plays around 28 to 30 songs.
“In reality, all of the songs are very important to me because the public deserves the best of our performance,” Guzmán said.
The performance is one of the events in the Arts and Humanities Council’s Spring 2019 Mexico Remixed. The festival is designed to highlight the university’s cultural ties to Mexico through performances, art exhibitions and public talks.
“Mariachi Los Camperos is one of the most widely known and internationally recognized mariachi bands,” said Joe Hiland, associate director of the IU Arts and Humanities Council. “They’re very much in the spirit of the Mexico Remixed festival.”
Guzmán said the audience can expect a different performance than the Americanized version of mariachi they may be used to that typically only has three to six musicians.
Los Camperos has twelve performers instead. Six play the violin, two play trumpet, one plays the harp and one plays the guitar. Another performer plays the guitarron, a large six string acoustic bass, and one also plays the vihuela, a guitar-like five string instrument.
“The music is a little more different, more special than what they would expect,” Guzmán said. “It’s a more special sound, and that is what they are going to see and enjoy.”
Guzmán said he hopes the audience learns what it is like to hear and feel Mexican song as a result of their performance.
“In Mexico, there is a treasure of music and Los Camperos have focused on taking the best of what is in that treasure of Mexican music,” Guzmán said.
Editor's note: The interview with Guzmán was conducted in Spanish and then translated to English.