Laura is well
recognized as the second woman in the United States to become a professional mariachi
musician. In 1978, she left UC Santa Cruz to write her undergraduate thesis on the
mariachi violin style for her degree in ethnomusicology. Her stay in Los Angeles was
meant to be temporary but instead she was overcome by the spirit of mariachi performance
and eventually became one of its female icons.
Laura was the first woman to play with the
legendary Mariachi Los Galleros de Pedro Rey and with Mariachi Sol de Mexico de Jose
Hernandez. She was also the original musical director of the first all female show
group in the U.S., Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles. She has also played with many of
mariachi music's greatest musicians. Among her most memorable mariachi moments is
accompanying Juan Gabriel with Mariachi Los Galleros when he became the first Latino to
perform at the Universal Ampitheatre. She says, "The audience was not expecting
to hear a mariachi during the show. When we began to to play behind the curtain, the
audience seemed unsure. The curtain lifted slowly and as the audience realized that
we were performing live with him, they rose to their feet and didn't sit down until the
last song. Laura adds, "I had goose bumps on my goose bumps."
Laura is also known for having taught more youth to play mariachi
music than any other mariachi musician in the United States. Many of these youth
have used her transcriptions
to learn this genre. (www.mariachipublishing.com).
Also found on her web page is "A History of Women
in Mariachi Music," which she co-authored and is the first documentation of
women's participation in this genre in both the U.S. and Mexico.
Prior to joining with MM2K in addition to the groups already
mentioned, she continues to perform in the Los Angeles mariachi circuit. As MM2K's
Musical Director, Laura says, "Most of the women in this group have already served as role models. Now its time to set a new musical standard, one that
is more difficult, dominating technique and mariachi style."
Birthplace: Watsonville, California
Birth date: 9/25/54
Role in MM2K: Musical Director and First Violin
Years playing mariachi music: 28
Other instruments played: Vihuela, guitar, basic guitarrón, huapanguera, jarana huasteca,
jarana jarocha, Hohner II button accordian, stand up bass, and the recorder
Other genres played: Norteño, Huasteco, Jarocho, Nueva Canción, Classical (Laura was
a charter member of the Santa Cruz County Youth Symphony), Gamelan, Greek, Turkish,
Educational Experience: B.A. in Music, specializing in Mexican Folk Music, UC Santa Cruz,
Master Teacher for National Endowment for the Arts, Junior College Teaching Credential for
Career: Professional Mariachi Musician.
Goals: To perform and promote mariachi music and culture with knowledge, style, class and love. To be an awesome mom and wife. To
materials and education in the school system with her Mariachi Publishing Company.