Mariachi Sol de Mexico de Jose Hernandez has performed all over the world, and this summer the 13-member band will make a stop in Orange County, returning to the OC Fair on Sunday, Aug. 6.
Hernandez says they have been performing at the Fair for about 20 years, and that it’s one of the best shows they do all year.
“We like to take our audience on a ride,” Hernandez said. “We play popular songs from the 60s and 70s all the way up to today’s contemporary.”
This year’s performance will be extra special for the group, as they will pay tribute to three of Mexico’s biggest icons in the Mariachi world: Pedro Infante, Jorge Negrete and Javier Solic.
“I think people will appreciate the quality of the music, the instruments and the vocals of Sol de Mexico,” Hernandez said. “Mariachi gives Latinos a sense of pride, and it’s easy for others to feel that pride as well. It really brings people together; it’s magical.”
Founded in 1981, Sol de Mexico aims to portray the beauty of Mexico’s land, people and heart. They have created 18 albums over their 36-year history, and have recorded with some of Mexico’s biggest icons, including Selena and Lola Beltran. The group has gone above and beyond in mariachi music by being the first mariachi ensemble to be nominated for a Grammy. They’ve traveled all over the world, including Spain, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Venezuela, China and even North Korea.
Hernandez is the fifth generation of mariachi performers, who originate from Jalisco, Mexico, which is the birth place of mariachi music.
Hernandez, who lives in Newport Beach, sings and plays the trumpet, violin, guitarron and vihuela. Hernandez has also composed, arranged and provided music for all of Sol de Mexico’s albums.
“Mariachi music is the type of thing that gets passed down from generation to generation,” Hernandez said. “We’re even starting to pass it down to a sixth generation with my nephew, who now plays in the band with me.”
On top of leading a successful mariachi band and a popular restaurant, Cielito Lindo in South El Monte, he spends his time teaching the power of mariachi to the community. Hernandez began Mariachi Heritage Society in 1991 to educate younger generations the importance and development of mariachi music and has since taught over 10,000 children.
The Mariachi Heritage Society offers lessons in violin, guitar, trumpet, vihuela, guitarron, voice and ballet folklorico for students ages 7 to 18. The Santa Ana School District has opened its doors for the Mariachi Heratige Society to teach their students.
“Mariachi music can be cross generational,” Hernandez said. “Kids and parents get so involved in learning about Mariachi that I’ve seen it change lives.”
Around 125 of the students will perform with the group at the Fair.
Mariachi Sol de Mexico de Jose Hernandez will perform in The Hangar at the 2017 OC Fair on Sunday, August 6 at 1:30 and 6 p.m. Tickets start at $17.50 and are available via Ticketmaster.