Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles


by Linda Castillo

In a musical genre traditionally dominated by men, since 1994 Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles has been breaking down stereotypes to create a new world of mariachi music that is opening the doors for aspiring female mariachi performers.

Formed by Maestro Jose Hernandez, Mariachi Reyna deLos Angelesis the first all-female mariachi in the United States. They are trailblazers who are transforming the role of women in mariachi from just singers to full musical performers thereby changing the musical landscape to provide songs written by women, performed by women from the female perspective. As such, Mariachi Reyna deLos Angeles has created history and a new musical genre.

Whether they are singing sones, rancheras, boleros, huapangos and even cumbias, these ladies are delivering musical performances that are touching audiences worldwide.

“It means a lot because I get to see so many reactions from the public. I love how I can sing a song and make someone remember someone or something. Sometimes the people get sad when they remember or sometimes they get happy,” explains member Sasha Hernandez.

Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles

Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles

Often compared to the sounds of angels, this mariachi ensemble delivers mesmerizing and beautiful performances with warmth that may not otherwise ever be heard. They have proved the naysayers wrong by demonstrating that female musicians are just as great as male musicians. But the road to success and acceptance has not been an easy one as each of the members has faced obstacles and taken different paths to be member of Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles.

Member Jeanette Martinez spoke about the obstacles she encountered coming from a small town where no mariachi could be found for hundreds of miles away.

“At a young age our mariachi teacher told me ‘No, nope, you can’t. You can’t play.’ Those words daunted me and I cried and cried thinking I really couldn’t do this. I kept at it and showed strength and much dedication. Boys ages 14-20 around me would show off their mariachi instrumental skills and belittle me. They would say ‘Just sing. Use that microphone for your voice, don’t play.’ It shattered me,” recalls Martinez.

With the loving support of her mother and self-determination, Jeanette continued to pursue her dream to play mariachi music. But despite her success she still encounters skeptism and stereotypes. “To this day I know one of those young men still says ‘Yeah, I pushed her to it. That’s why she is where she is.’ Wrong! I’m here because I believed in myself and my mother’s words encouraged me to do so,” recalls Martinez.

While the ladies of Mariachi Reyna have been inspired by family members and love of mariachi music to follow their dream, being a member of Mariachi Reyna deLos Angeles requires dedication and energy. Many of the members are managing a full load with family, work, school and other obligations but never miss a beat when it comes to attending rehearsals or delivering stellar performances.

“It’s something funny really… I can be at work all day with so much to do, headaches, having a horrible day and somehow go to a performance and feel perfectly fine or have my day just turn completely around. Being in Mariachi Reyna, being with girls who become part of your life, is almost some sort of stress reliever. We truly enjoy what we do and what we represent as an all-female mariachi group; the energy just comes with it I guess,” says member Laura Pena.

There was a reoccurring theme from the interviews that all the members are energized by performing and being a part of the group. Being a member of Mariachi Reyna goes much deeper than just playing music together.

 “It means everything to me. I simply wouldn’t be the woman and human being that I am today without it; every song has a meaning behind every word, and I cannot seem to get enough of it,” says Laura Pena

And not only do the members get inspiration from being a part of the group but they are also energized and inspired by the audience’s reaction.

“It’s hard but not impossible. To me performing is an escape from reality and daily routines. Music has a funny way of making this okay. I know sometimes performing becomes a routine but there is never a dull moment. We express ourselves through our music and we see how we touch everyone there listening to us,” says member Julie Murillo.

Mariachi Reyna delos Angeles’ talent and dedication extends beyond musical performances and has not gone unnoticed. They released three albums, Solo Tuyo (Yours Only), El Mejor Mariachi Feminino del Mundo (The Best Female Mariachi in the World) and Compañeras, which was nominated for both Grammy and Latin Grammy awards a mark of success.

Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles are truly role models because with every performance that they do they are breaking down stereotypes and demonstrating to young girls everywhere that they can follow in their footsteps.

“Women Mariachi musicians set the example for other ladies who may be interested but weren’t sure it could be done. We demonstrate that like the men we too feel this passion four our culture’s music, and we too have a form to express it. Face it, we are here to stay, and we continue to grow,” says member Sylvia Hinojosa.

The success of these ladies has paved the way for other all-female mariachi groups and changed the musical landscape where women were only seen as mariachi singers to now becoming full musical performers who perform, sing and write the songs.

If you have not had a chance to see Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles, they will be performing May 2nd and 3rd at 7:30 at the CSUMB World Theatre,Monterey,CA or visit for a complete listing of performances or CD sales.

Linda Castillo is the Founder and Executive Editor of She writes on topics that empower and inspire Latinas including art, motherhood, green living, culture, travel, and issues transforming the Latino community. Linda has earned a B.S. in Business and a M.S. in Mass Communications from San Jose State University.