Mariachi Rosas Divinas are North Texas' first all-female mariachi ensemble. The group was co-founded in 2004 by director Tabitha Barrientos and several freelance musicians. The women decided to start the band, because they were having a hard time breaking through in more traditionally masculine ensembles. The Rosas Divinas are well respected in the region for their precise musical execution, their rich, beautiful sound and their presentation.
There are currently six core members (Tabi Barrientos, Alexia Quintero, Victoria Valero, Yessenia Barranco, Palomita Montes and Karen Gerardo).
Mariachis have many traditional songs to play for events like weddings or birthdays. Earlier this week, a mariachi ensemble tackled a different kind of classic – the lush and powerful music of legendary opera composer Richard Wagner. In this week’s Spotlight, Art&Seek dives into the music.
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It’s a brilliant Sunday morning at Fort Worth’s Holy Name Catholic Church. Elotes are sizzling on the grill, kids are playing carnival games and onstage, six women are singing traditional Mexican folk songs.
The group’s called Mariachi Rosas Divinas. They’re North Texas’ first all-female mariachi ensemble.
“Sometimes people will see us and they’ll be like, ‘Oh! You guys are dancers!’” says Tabitha Barrientos. She’s one of the founders of the Rosas Divinas. She’s also the group’s director. “They have no idea. If we’re mariachis to them, we’re just singers. They have no idea that we actually play.”
People are often confused, because the Rosas Divinas don’t look like a traditional mariachi ensemble. They put a feminine spin on the old-fashioned, masculine look that you’ve probably seen at restaurants. Instead, these women have ditched the suits and sombreros for bright pink blouses, long black skirts, bright red lipstick and gigantic flowers in their hair.
“It’s like we get to go to prom every weekend, because we put so much time and attention into [our look],” Barrientos says. “But we’re criticized for that as well, because it’s like, ‘Oh. They just want to look pretty.’ And they don’t think that we sound good. It’s just a struggle.”
This morning’s show is their fourth concert in 24 hours. They’ve got another later in the day.
The group’s lead violinist, Karen Gerardo, is in the first violinist on the right.
The group’s lead violinist, Karen Gerardo, says the group’s popularity doesn’t protect them from machismo traditionalists who believe women shouldn’t be mariachis.
“We do get criticized, but how else would you stand out in these times, ya know? And so we keep the tradition in the music. And that’s what more important to us,” says Gerardo.
The six core members of the group have busy careers in carpentry, digital advertising, child therapy and even patent law. But most of them have played music since they were children.
Barrientos says the music brings them happiness: ““It really is about the crowd. You could be playing a song that you’ve played so many times, but you see them enjoying it and it completely rejuvenates you.”
Article by: Hady Mawajdeh
Photo: Sylvia Elzafon