Jose Hernandez Shows the World Mariachi's Good for the 'Sol'

Posted on Saturday, April 9, 2016

Although the globe-trotting, platinum-selling mariachi band Sol de Mexico was formed by Jose Hernandez in 1981, mariachi music has been part of his family for five generations. Hernandez can trace his roots back to 1879 to Jalisco, Mexico, the birthplace of mariachi.

He began to sing at age four and play trumpet in his school’s music program at age ten. Hernandez’s interest in music eventually led him to study arranging and composing at the Grove School of Music in Hollywood.

Hernandez played professionally with his older brothers’ mariachi band (his father played with the band as well), but after he finished music school, he decided to go out on his own and get into record production. “I only had this core of musicians that I would use for my recordings that read music, very few, and in the recordings I would put Mariachi Sol de Mexico,” said Hernandez.

He thought the group would only be a ghost band, but things changed “when I was able to buy my own restaurant, my own nightclub, and form the mariachi for live performances. But it was just something that really wasn’t planned.”

The “unplanned” group has gone on to global acclaim, including becoming the first mariachi ensemble to be nominated for a Grammy. The key to their success is the rich heritage of both the musical leader and the music itself.

That heritage is paid forward by Hernandez’s commitment to future generations through developing educational initiatives, such as the Mariachi Nationals and Summer Institute, the Mariachi Heritage Society, and through collaboration with school districts throughout the country to assist them in building standards-based mariachi programs.

Both Hernandez and his band share their love of mariachi with the world and look to the future with musical education and training.

Sol de Mexico, Mexico’s authentic musical heritage ambassadors, come to Reynolds Hall at The Smith Center May 6. It will be an evening of heart and sol!

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