"Mariachi Plaza"

"Mariachi Plaza" is one of 10 songs commissioned for Sounds of California: Boyle Heights.

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Angelica Mata is a  singer, songwriter and musician who comes from a rich lineage of Mariachi performers. Angelica Mata's song, “Mariachi Plaza” embodies the duality of her music style and cultural background; it is bilingual, both in English and Spanish, and it’s also inspired by different genres of music. In her song, she blends a lush ballad-like introduction into a mariachi piece with fervor and intensity and pride that Mariachi performers elicit through their sound and stage presence. Drawing from her roots in the traditional art form of Mariachi music, Angelica composed an ode to her neighborhood and the memories that filled her childhood with melody, joy and an inherent appreciation for the traditional music style.  

To help her gain inspiration for her songwriting, Angelica asked her parents, Richard and Esperanza, (who also grew up in Boyle Heights) about the significance of Mariachi Plaza and its presence throughout her upbringing. Angelica learned of her own legacy coming from a family of Mariachi musicians that performed for the Santa Cecilia Festival (named after the patron saint of musicians), the significance of Mariachi Plaza to the community of musicians who perform there, and the feature she made in an LA times article at 15 months old.

"Mariachi Plaza" is one of 10 songs commissioned for Sounds of California: Boyle Heights. Sounds of California: Boyle Heights is a project of the Alliance for California Traditional Arts in collaboration with the Community Power Collective, the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, Radio Bilingüe and local residents to record, compose, present, and archive the local soundscape, focusing on themes of anti-displacement and belonging.

Rola del Día and the The Sounds of California: Boyle Heights project are supported by the California Arts Council and California Humanities.

ACTA · Sounds of CA - Boyle Heights
When I first accepted this opportunity to write a song about Boyle Heights, I never thought it was going to be the start of self discovery. For three weeks, I had been trying to come up with a topic--I watched videos of people and musicians that inspire me, thriving in their field. I even listened to old tapes to inspire me...and I just couldn't figure out what I should write about. So, I decided to go to two Boyle Heights natives to help me with this, my mom and dad.