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Youngsters learn mariachi music from professional player in National City

CBS 8 had the privilege of watching the talented youngsters rehearse several songs at Kimball Park in National City.

NATIONAL CITY, Calif. — Mariachi music is deeply rooted in Mexican culture and it’s appreciated by people all around the world.  CBS 8 caught up with a group of kids in National City whose love for mariachi makes them feel more connected to their heritage.

“I do think 100% that mariachi music, it was made for everybody and I mean universal,” said Mario Cesar Eguia, a professional mariachi player for more than 25 years.

Eguia is also a music teacher, passing on the legacy of mariachi to the next generation of players. 

“I have a vast amount of pride for them.  It’s not just them, but they represent so much more, the communities that they come from, their families, their heritage,” said Eguia.

Eguia teaches the art of playing mariachi music to a group of about 30 kids of varying ages.  They meet up once a week to practice songs in National City.

“It feels amazing, it’s honestly very awesome to be able to represent our culture and, you know, please people and be able to change how people feel with just notes and words,” said Ilenny Bojorquez, a 15-year-old who has been playing mariachi for nearly 3 years. “It makes such a powerful sound and it’s able to change a lot of people’s feelings and the way people feel.  You can like motivate them, the music can make them feel happy, sad, it can make them feel a lot of emotions.”

CBS 8’s Brian White had the privilege of watching the talented youngsters rehearse several songs at Kimball Park.

“It’s really fun, sometimes we have free time and we just like play for hours,” said Gael Garcia, a 14-year-old who loves playing a song called “Cariño” because it was his grandmother’s favorite.

“It’s important to me because it’s part of my culture and since I originate from Mexico, it’s just, it’s part of my life,” said Garcia with a smile.

For Eguia, teaching these kids has been very rewarding and fulfilling work.

“It comes to full circle for being a musician.  When you love something like music, you don’t want anything else but to share it,” said Eguia.  “It always makes them feel good, it always makes them feel something and so I know, deep down in my heart, that mariachi truly is the music for everybody.”

Eguia hopes to form a nonprofit to formalize the group and make donations for uniforms and instruments an easier process overall.  He would like his group of mariachi-playing youngsters to be able to enter competitions and travel around the world.

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