Camille Tarazon Photography

Mariachi Sol de Mexico was founded by Jose Hernandez in 1981.

This holiday, treat yourself to “A Merry-Achi Christmas” with the legendary Mariachi Sol de Mexico.

The Grammy-nominated ensemble will perform a medley of traditional holiday carols in Spanish and English at the Plaza Theatre on Friday, Dec. 20 that is sure to lift your holiday spirits.

“We’re hopeful that this becomes a new tradition in El Paso as it has in other major cities,” said Maestro Jose Hernandez, who founded the 13-member ensemble in 1981 at the age of 23. “It’s a great show for the entire family and we invite everyone to come out and enjoy it.”

While the majority of the concert is in Spanish, some songs such as “White Christmas” and “Silver Bells” are sung in English. Other songs include renditions of “Ave Maria,” “El Niño del Tambor” (“Little Drummer Boy”),  “Himno de Alegria” (“Joy to the World”) and “Santa Claus Llego a la Ciudad” (“Santa Claus is Coming to Town”).

“But the entire concert will appeal to all people, not just Spanish speakers,” Hernandez said. “When you hear Christmas classics like ‘The Nutcracker’ by (Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich) Tchaikovsky played by mariachi, you’ll have a new appreciation for both.”

The concert will also step outside the holiday tunes and feature some traditional mariachi music that Hernandez said showcases the genre’s roots and its future.

“I see the new generation of mariachis – they’re young, passionate, energetic,” he said, adding that while some members have been with the ensemble for 20 years, many are younger than 30 and bring new energy and talent to the group. “They’re also educated musicians who studied their craft and chose mariachi as their genre. That makes me happy knowing they’ll carry on the tradition.”

Mariachi Sol de Mexico has performed or recorded with legendary Mexican singers such as Vicente Fernandez, Juan Gabriel and Luis Miguel – as well as stars like the late Selena, Willie Nelson and Green Day.

The group has been nominated for several Grammys, most recently this year for the “Leyendas de mi Pueblo” CD that pays homage to great Mexican mariachi icons Jorge Negrete, Pedro Infante, Jose Alfredo Jimenez, Miguel Aceves Mejía, Javier Solís and Vicente Fernandez.

Mariachi Sol de Mexico recently performed at the 20th Annual Latin Grammy Awards, where they accompanied three generations of the legendary Fernandez family – Vicente, Alejandro and Alex as they sang together for the first time.

The mariachi will also play at a New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square, New York, during an event broadcast by Univision.  

“I see mariachis as a sleeping giant,” Hernandez said. “You won’t hear us on mainstream radio unless it’s accompanying another artist, but more and more people are appreciating not just the tradition and culture we represent, but our diversity and musicality.”

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