Gastvortrag Jessie Vallejo (California State Polytechnic University, Pomona)

06.12.2022 18:30

Y Los Mariachis No Callamos: Observations of the COVID-19 Pandemic and Social Injustices in Los Angeles County

Dienstag, 6. Dezember 2022 – 18:30 Uhr – Institut für Musikwissenschaft, Seminarraum 1

Los Angeles, California—a world capital of music and entertainment—is home to one of the most robust mariachi communities in the world. In many ways, the mariachi community is a symbol of Los Angeles and the Spanish-speaking Latine and Chicane communities. During the COVID-19 pandemic, news media attention has often turned to highlighting the challenges that mariachi musicians are facing due to their disrupted work and income, which is primarily based on weekly live performances at private family events. Latin American and Brown communities in Los Angeles and across the United States have been one of the hardest hit demographics for many reasons that are a result of complex sociopolitical issues and systems, such as policies that create or maintain inequities for some communities’ access to healthcare, affordable housing, healthy environments, and a living wage. My presentation is in part based on autoethnography; I draw from my experiences as a mariachi musician for more than a decade and as someone who has continued to perform throughout the pandemic since late April 2020. I will also share perspectives from fellow mariachi musicians based in the Los Angeles area, including those who spearheaded community projects aimed at addressing urgent and immediate needs of local families. This paper will raise questions about how we may support not just the arts but artists and communities through more humane, equitable, and sustainable social infrastructures. I will reflect on grief and trauma in the mariachi community and Los Angeles, which for a moment was one of the hardest-hit areas and epicenters of the pandemic during winter 2020 and early 2021. Finally, I will reflect on the critical importance of music in our lives, especially as we face grief, trauma, uncertainty, and mortality. 



Jessie Vallejo, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Ethnomusicology and Director of Mariachi Ensembles at Cal Poly Pomona. Jessie's research focuses on a hemispheric approach to Native American studies, Indigenous cultural-linguistic revitalization projects, and mariachi music. Dr. Vallejo co-produced Smithsonian Folkways’ 2013 release ¡Así Kotama!: The Flutes of Otavalo, Ecuador. Her work has been published with the Smithsonian Folklife Magazine, Smithsonian Folkways, Ethnomusicology Forum and Sonocordia journals, and she contributed to The Ethnomusicologists' Cookbook vol.2. Jessie is a founding member of ICTM’s Study Group for Music and Dance in Latin America and the Caribbean; she is a co-editor of the online, open-access collaborative project; and she is an active freelance violinist in Southern California. 

Dr. Vallejo is an active freelance violinist focusing on mariachi, Andean, and rock music. She has performed on a variety of stages, such as The Hollywood Bowl, The House of Blues, The Viper Room, The Latin Grammy Awards in Las Vegas, The Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, National Museum of American History, The Ford Amphitheater, Alex Theater, and Carnegie Hall. As a mariachi, she has performed with artists such as Lila Downs, Lupita Infante, Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán, Omar Apollo, Mon Laferte and Gloria Trevi. Jessie can also be heard on the soundtrack for Mandy, the 2018 critically-acclaimed film starring Nicolas Cage.