From left to right: Dr. Leonor Xochitl Perez, Mariachi Women’s Foundation; Dr. Lauryn Salazar, Texas Tech University; Dr. Jessie Vallejo, Cal Poly Pomona.

This summer, the Leatherby Libraries will host an exciting exhibit of photographs and artifacts, 
¡Viva el Mariachi Femenil!
 The exhibit, presented by the Mariachi Women’s Foundation, depicts the history of women in mariachi music from 1903 to 2016. The trials and tribulations of the pioneers of women in mariachi and the evolution of all female groups into the present day will be demonstrated through historic photographs, documents, artifacts, and displays of mariachi suits. The exhibit was curated by Leonor Xóchitl Pérez, Ph.D.

¡Viva el Mariachi Femenil! 
will open on Sunday, May 29, 2016, as part of the festivities of the Musco World Cafe, “The Heartbeat of Mexico.” Dr. Leonor Xóchitl Pérez, the exhibit’s curator and an expert in the history of women in mariachi, will give a presentation on the Musco Center stage. After Dr. Pérez’s presentation, a live mariachi band will lead the crowd from the Musco Center to the Leatherby Libraries, where the exhibit will officially open. Visitors will have a chance to browse the collections on both floors and take in the beautiful displays. At 2:30 p.m., two more mariachi experts – Dr. Lauryn Salazar and Dr. Jessie Vallejo – will shed more light on this exciting art form.

¡Viva el Mariachi Femenil!

Location: Leatherby Libraries, first and second floors

Exhibit Dates: May 29 – June 30, 2016

See below for complete biographies of each of the three speakers, and visit the Musco Center website for the World Cafe’s full schedule of events. For more information about the exhibit, please contact Margaret Ellsworth at (714) 532-6027 or


“The History of Women in Mariachi Music”: Dr. Leonor Xóchitl Pérez,
Mariachi Women’s Foundation

Leonor Xóchitl Pérez, Ph.D. 
is Director of the Mariachi Women’s Foundation and Curator/Researcher of the 
Viva el Mariachi Femenil!
 exhibit.  Dr. Pérez began performing mariachi music in the 1970s at Griffith Junior High School in East Los Angeles.  This was the first youth mariachi group in California and among the first in the United States.  Dr. Pérez went on to perform with mixed-gender groups in Los Angeles and in Washington DC.  Performance highlights include playing at two Presidential Inaugural Balls (one at 19 years old) and at two MARIACHI USA Festivals at the Hollywood Bowl.  Dr. Pérez has a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and Ph.D. in Education from UCLA.  She also has a master’s degree from Harvard in human development and psychology.  She was a Dean at East Los Angeles College for 8 years and, for 2 years, an Administrator at the Harvard Medical School.  More recently she worked as Artistic Projects Manager for the San Diego Symphony’s community engagement project,  “Your Song Your Story.” Dr. Pérez has given presentations on the history of women in mariachi music both nationally and internationally including at University of Arizona, USC, UC Santa Cruz, San Diego University,  San Diego State University, California State University Los Angeles, Texas Tech University, the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada and the Kazakh University for the Arts in Astana, Kazakhstan.

“Mariachi Music in Early California”: Dr. Lauryn Salazar, Texas Tech University

Lauryn Salazar
is an Assistant Professor of Musicology at Texas Tech University. She holds a BA from Carleton College (Magna Cum Laude) in Music, and her Master’s and Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology from the University of California, Los Angeles. She is currently the director of the mariachi program at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, where she directs the ensemble, Mariachi Los Matadores. When not teaching, she performs regularly as the harpist for the Grammy-Awarding winning Mariachi Divas de Cindy Shea. With over fifteen years’ experience as a mariachi musician and educator, from 2006-2013, she led UCLA’s award winning Mariachi de Uclatlán. Under her direction, they won first place at the Anaheim Mariachi Competition, and second place at the Mission San Juan Capistrano, the Albuquerque Mariachi Festival and the Rosarito (Mexico) Mariachi Festival competitions. Additionally, she regularly serves as an adjudicator for mariachi competitions throughout California and Texas.

“The Globalization of Mariachi Music”: Dr. Jessie Vallejo, Cal Poly Pomona

Jessie M. Vallejo
is currently an Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology and Mariachi Director in Cal Poly Pomona’s Music Department. Her research focuses on a hemispheric approach to Amerindian studies, indigenous cultural-linguistic revitalization projects, and mariachi music. Dr. Vallejo has also co-produced, annotated, and provided photography for Smithsonian Folkways’ 2013 release 
¡Así Kotama!: The Flutes of Otavalo, Ecuador. 
In addition to her research and teaching, Jessie is an active freelance violinist in the Los Angeles area. She received her Ph.D. from UCLA’s Ethnomusicology Department in 2014.