Two nations unite at the Valle Verde campus

October 31, 2017

 JAVIER DE LA HOZ/ TEJANO TRIBUNE

Mariachi band "El Mariachi Policia Federal" performed a free concert on Oct. 19 at the Valle Verde cafeteria annex along with EPCC's Mariachi Real De El Paso during "An Evening of Two Nations."

 

On Oct. 18 at the Valle Verde cafeteria annex, EPCC hosted “An Evening of Two Nations” in which they invited a guest mariachi band, “Mariachi Policia Federal,” directly from Mexico City to perform with EPCC's Mariachi Real De El Paso. 


At the event, the two bands played two separate songs simultaneously making them into one and therefore, making our two cultures combine and unify as one.


El Mariachi Policia Federal was founded back in 2006. 


As the name says, this mariachi is formed from actual federal police officers from Mexico City whose whole purpose is to bring Latino communities a new narrative and approach to the police uniform and what it represents. 


In other words, this mariachi band uses the proximity it has with El Paso to show that the media’s portrait of Mexico City’s Federal Police officers is not a correct representation of what they are or what they stand for but rather, they use their platform to show multicultural communities a little bit of Mexico and its culture.


 “We use our uniforms to give the audience a bigger shock factor and with it show that yes, we are in fact real cops and yes, we do play all our instruments,” officer and lead singer of the band, Norma Castillo, said.


Castillo also said that they use their uniforms as a platform to show bicultural communities that contrary to popular belief, they are not “rapists or drugs addicts, they are hard working officers and dedicated musicians but overall, good people.”


“One would think it would be difficult traveling so much when it’s actually just a lot of paperwork but at the end of the day we get to bring our music to the people,” Castillo said about her  band's travels to the United States.


 According to Castillo, they all have visitors visas, meaning they cannot live nor work here in the states but they are able to travel and tour around the cities that hire them. 


El Mariachi Policia Federal likes to bring the culture of Mexico City everywhere they go and when they heard EPCC was interested in them, they were more than honored. 

 


Castillo says that playing for schools is her favorite kind of crowd and she can see the audience member’s faces with pride when they hear the band play their favorite songs.


 

 JAVIER DE LA HOZ/ TEJANO TRIBUNE

Norma Castillo, police officer and lead singer of the mariachi band, "El Mariachi Policia Federal."



When Anji Morgan-Thornton, Director of Mariachi Real De El Paso and professor of music of mariachi studies, found out that El Mariachi Policia Federal was coming to El Paso for a free concert set for Oct.19, she got in contact with the Border Patrol agent in charge of the band to find out if they could come and play for the public her on campus.


This process took three days of paperwork with the college's purchasing department and the border patrol agents with immigration and customs but at the end of the day they were able to bring in the band a day earlier.


“It was such a blending of cultures, because music is a universal language. It was a beautiful experience.

 

We build this relationship and have these learning opportunities as well as the preserving the art form of mariachi,” Morgan-Thornton said. 


She explains that, as a teacher, sometimes you lose connection with the real mariachi. 


She says that you can give music sheets to a student and teach them how to play but a professor’s real challenge as an educator is to make them feel and play like they did 20-30 years ago when there was no sheet music.

 
The Mariachi Real De El Paso is accepting auditions and having a concert Nov.15 at 7:30 p.m. at the Administrative Services Building.

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