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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Following Lollapalooza performance, Mariachi Northwestern looks to the future

Chiara Kim/The Daily Northwestern
Following a successful Lollapalooza performance with Lesly Reynaga, Mariachi NU reflects on its past and looks to the future.

On Thursday, Mariachi Northwestern took the stage at Lollapalooza, accompanying Latin pop artist Lesly Reynaga for her songs “Si Me Voy” and “Mexico Mi Mexico.”

Mariachi NU is a mariachi group that performs across campus and throughout the Chicagoland area, welcoming students regardless of ethnicity or musical experience.

Mariachi NU founder Daniel Flores reunited with the group to play the trumpet at Lollapalooza. He said the performance was an amazing experience. 

“It was such a great crowd,” Flores said. “The energy of Lollapalooza… it’s hard to put in words.”

The crowd of people scattered across the grass danced along to the lively music and cheered for Reynaga and the mariachi group. 

Flores also said he appreciated seeing the excitement of the current Mariachi NU members and seeing them in an artist space.

He started the group in 2012 with a stack of musical arrangements, his friend who played guitar and a few other members. 

“Our first performance was playing a song in the Plex laundry room,” he said. “We just kind of went from there.”

Flores said he thinks Mariachi NU has succeeded because of the diversity of its members.

He said everyone could see a reflection of themselves in the group because the members came from different backgrounds.

“We were continuing the tradition of mariachi, honoring it, but at the same time making it inclusive for anyone who was interested,” Flores said.

Isabella Brown was the president of Mariachi NU this past year. She said being in Mariachi NU brought her “in touch with Latino heritage,” helping her be confident in her identity while bringing exposure to Latin culture. 

“Mexican culture and music is what mariachi celebrates,” Brown said. “But I find that, especially for communities that have lower citizenship in America or in Chicago, you can still find belonging and love, friendship in other Latino communities.”

Lollapalooza was the biggest performance Brown did with Mariachi NU. After building the group up to record numbers following the pandemic, Brown loved seeing new members grow and then have the opportunity to play at Lollapalooza.

“The performance is something I will always remember,” she said.

Reyna, the current president of Mariachi NU who goes by their surname, has been a singer and guitarrón player in the group since their freshman year. They said performing at Lollapalooza was “incredible.” They learned a lot from practicing with Reynaga’s crew, particularly from working with a guittarón player who is a mariachi educator. 

“That was honestly probably one of my favorite parts of the whole experience of Lollapalooza, just having him as a mentor,” they said. 

They said the crowd’s energy at Lollapalooza and experiencing the whole production of the performance was exciting. Reyna said that while this felt like a “once in a lifetime opportunity,” they hope Mariachi NU has the opportunity to do it again. 

This year, Reyna hopes to rebuild a connection with Ballet Folklórico NU, a traditional Mexican dance group on campus. The group also performed with Reynaga at Lollapalooza.

They also aspire to bring Mariachi NU to Dillo Day, which they said lacks music for Latinos.

“I’m really glad that Mariachi NU is a space for Mexican students to connect with the culture and for people outside of the Mexican heritage to learn about this beautiful genre of music,” Reyna said. “I look forward to continuing this legacy for many years.”

Flores also hopes to support Mariachi NU in the future, from creating connections with other mariachi groups to getting more resources from NU. 

He said he wants to help the group gain potential resources like a mariachi instructor to conduct workshops and masterclasses. 

“Such a traditional, Latinx genre of music in a predominantly white institution (is) important to take up that space,” he said. “I think Mariachi NU is a great way to show culture.”

Email [email protected]

Twitter: @chiarafkim

Following Lollapalooza performance, Mariachi Northwestern looks to the futureRelated Stories: 

Halfway through: Lollapalooza 2023 takes Chicago 

Mariachi NU fosters Latinx community and spreads culture on campus 

Ballet Folklórico and Mariachi NU spread Latinx culture at their annual spring showcases

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