2009 – Gustavo A. Santiago

Gustavo A. Santiago is one of the most important arrangers in mariachi music. “I was born listening to mariachi music,” says the musician whose father was a long time member of the legendary Mariachi Tapatío de José Marmolejo. Gustavo began his mariachi career playing nights in Plaza Garibaldi while studying during the daytime at schools like the Conservatorio Nacional and […]

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2008 – Juan Pinzón Saldaña (1930 – 2012)

Violinist, Vocalist, Arranger, Musical Director Juan was born in 1930 in the town of Ameca, Jalisco. At the age of 8, ambition motivated him to move to Mexico City, where he lived with his godfather  and began studying music in the Plaza Garibaldi. A few years later, young Juanito was playing violin in that plaza […]

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2007 – Pedro Ramírez Velázquez

Pedro Ramírez Velázquez—this year’s Mariachi Hall of Fame inductee—was born in 1939 in the village of Acámbaro, Guanajuato. In 1945, His family moved to Mexico City, where his father, a banda musician, soon found work as a trumpet player in the Plaza Garibaldi. From a very early age, Pedro demonstrated a fascination for the trumpet. […]

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2005 – Rigoberto Alfaro

Rigoberto Alfaro, one of the most influential musicians in the history of mariachi music, is the 2005 Mariachi Spectacular International Hall of Fame inductee. If you listen to mariachi music, you have probably heard countless arrangements and recorded performances of his. Rigoberto Alfaro Rodríguez was born in Yurécuaro, Michoacan on November 1, 1934, the fourth of […]

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2004 – Natividad “Nati” Santiago (1940-1992)

Natividad “Nati” Santiago joined Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán as a teenager in 1959 and soon developed speed, precision, tone, and an evenness or register previously unknown to the instrument. He remained with the group for almost 30 years. In addition to his contributions to the evolution of the guitarrón technique, Nati created some of the most […]

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2002 – Victor Cardenas Garcia “El Pato”

“Pato” was born on March 5, 1939 in a pueblo named Concepcion de Buenos Aires in the state of Jalisco, Mexico. He was the youngest of three brothers. He started playing music in 1948 at the age of nine with Señor Elias Contreras with whom he got some experience. After he discovered his love for music […]

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2000 – Arturo Mendoza

The Dean of Mariachi Harpists The harp tradition of the sleepy, southern Jalisco village of Zapotiltic goes back to at least the 19th Century. Native José Mendoza (1903-1990) was among the finest practitioners of the instrument that town was famous for. In 1934, Don José joined a mariachi led by Silvestre Vargas in the neighboring town […]

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1998 – Manuel Esperon Gonzalez

Born in Mexico City, Manuel Experón Gonzales graduated in music from the Escuela Superior de Música in that nation’s capital. He began his musical career in the 1920s as a pianist for leading vocalists of the day, as well as accompanist for silent films. The 1933 motion picture La Mujer del Puerto was the first […]

1997 – Heriberto Molina

Born in Jalisco, the cradle of mariachi music, Heriberto Molina served as the lead vocalist of the legendary Mariachi Vargas de Tecalilitlán for more than 30 years. This group, which celebrates its centennial this year has charted the course of Mexican folk and traditional music since the 1930’s and continues to serve as a symbol […]

1996 – Gonzalo Meza (1925-2004)

Gonzalo Meza was born July 6, 1925 on a rancho near Cuidad Guzmán, Jalisco. At the age of eight, his family moved to Mexico City where his uncles played with Mariachi Pulido, a group that would later become Mariachi México de Pepe Villa. His uncles would take him to their performances, which is how young […]

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