Founder of Mariachi USA, Rodri Rodriguez Talks 35th Anniversary Show at The Hollywood Bowl

This Saturday on June 8th, 2024, Mariachi USA will hold its 35th anniversary music festival at The Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, CA. Founded around 1990 by Producer and Entrepreneur Rodri Rodriguez, the festival is a cultural celebration of traditional Mexican Mariachi music and will feature performances from some of the most dynamic Mariachi ensembles from within the genre.

Rodriguez, initially from Havana, Cuba, has successfully made an impact in the Latino community in Los Angeles by running her own production company, Rodri Entertainment, Inc, and has worked with various prominent artists through the years such as Julio Iglesias, Vicente Fernandez, and Gloria Estefan. Around the age of 7, Rodriguez moved to the U.S. and experienced life in a refugee camp and foster home. Eventually settling in Los Angeles, she started working at a record company after finishing high school, “This was back in 1973 and I learned everything there was to learn about A&R (Artists and repertoire) at a record company. It was one of the few Latino record companies in the HUB here in LA, which was really the genesis of Latino music in the United States and it was owned by Pepe Garcia Latin International,” Rodriguez said. “Fast forward, I decided I wanted to do more with my life and I loved concert production, so I was asked by someone at the record company to produce a concert to a then-beginning artist who had not performed in the United States and that was Julio Iglesias.” Rodriguez would eventually produce Iglesias’ first concert in the U.S. at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles becoming the first of many.

Hollywood, CA.- June 3rd, 2023, MARIACHI USA was created in 1990 and has become the premier mariachi music festival in the United States. Founded and created by Rodri J. Rodriguez, of Rodri Entertainment, the festival was created to give mariachi music a forum for artistic expression and a way to celebrate the rich musical traditions that so many have come to enjoy. Held at the Hollywood Bowl since its inception, the Festival continues thrilling audiences of all generations. In addition to the Festival, Ms. Rodriguez founded the MARIACHI USA Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides mariachi music education to school-age kids throughout Los Angeles.

With her love of event and concert production, Rodriguez ventured into other projects and thus Mariachi USA was born, “I wanted to do something fabulous for our community in Los Angeles, and why USA? Because I wanted to feature and showcase the Mariachi’s that live and work here. Those that are in your home,” she said.  Rodriguez adds, “The mariachi genre is very different in that it’s a part of your home. There’s mariachi’s when you are born, at your kid’s birthdays, baptisms, quinceañeras, at graduations. And when you get engaged or married, and then eventually at your funeral. So, unlike any other music genre, they’re steadfast in your daily life, and their acoustic musicians and they don’t carry microphones around so mariachi voices are unlike any other voices. They have built-in microphones. For me working with mariachis has been exceptional, and I have been doing that beyond Mariachi USA years.”

This year, audiences should expect to see a fantastic show with Mexican folklore dance, and performances by the likes of Mariachi Campanas de America, Mariachi Los Reyes, Mariachi Divas, Mariachi Cobre, and Mariachi Los Camperos. “Imagine over 17,000 people singing “El Rey” or “Volver Volver” to fireworks as a grand finale, you have to be there to really experience it. It’ll be an action-packed show, truly indescribable and euphoric.” Rodriguez said. The show has attracted thousands of people every year and has made a national and international impact on the genre. Rodriguez also admits Mariachi USA has opened up the doors for other Latin acts in Music, “If you go to the Hollywood Bowl, and look at the audience you will see 5 generations deep and every age group you can imagine. So, we are creating audiences that will continue attending the Hollywood Bowl. Not just for Mariachi USA, but for jazz, pop, and for other Latino shows. We have built audiences, and so we’ve come a long way, but we indeed have such a long way to go. We have to continue creating opportunities for our Mariachi’s to always be in A-class productions on pop stages all over the world,” she adds.

For her work and influence, Rodriguez has been recognized as a pioneer in the Latin music community and has been the recipient of numerous awards from various organizations. She has previously received the “Entrepreneur of the Year” award from The National Hispanic Academy of Media and Sciences and has also been recognized by local and national government affiliates including the Los Angeles City Council.

Currently, Rodriguez continues to be an advocate for the Mariachi genre and seeks to create more innovative opportunities for the community. To date, Rodriguez also operates the Mariachi USA Foundation, a program which supports and sponsors student education in Mariachi music. Learn more about the foundation here.

Mariachi USA Official website.

Purchase tickets here.

Author

  • Jenny Castro

    Jenny Castro is a part of the editorial team for Latinitas Magazine. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Law and Justice from Central Washington University, and also holds a certificate in women’s entrepreneurial studies from the University of Washington. Jenny has a passion for storytelling, and loves highlighting diverse topics such as historical events, pop-culture, music, film, and leaders in the Latino community. She strives to provoke thoughtful and factual genuine storytelling in her pieces and takes pride in researching truth and authenticity. In her free time, she spends time reading her favorite books, and watching classic Hollywood films. In 2020, Jenny also appeared on the Turner Classic Movies Network where she provided commentary on classic film. She is excited to be a part of the Latinitas team.

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