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Mariachi Estrella makes history performing during Chiefs halftime show

Mariachi Estrella.jpg
Posted at 10:39 AM, Sep 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-27 11:39:08-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Mariachi Estrella gave fans at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium a show-stopping performance.

“I know we were all really excited to be able to represent our culture in front of such a big crowd,” said Claudia Banda, violinist and backup singer for Mariachi Estrella

Not only did the mariachi band perform in front of a big crowd, but it was the first time spectators witnessed a mariachi group perform for the first time in GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium history.

“Well whenever we got the call it was like a regular gig, like a regular performance they were like hey you want to play for an hour they didn’t say who they were, next thing you know I get an email from the Chiefs saying, 'Hey we got you booked on the 26th,'” said Jesse Perez, co-owner of Mariachi Estrella.

Along with making history at the stadium, the group's female violinist and vocalists broke barriers as the women of the group.

“Mariachi is a very male-dominated environment. Traditionally it was just male singers, male musicians and now as we have gotten into a more contemporary world, women in mariachi have been celebrated,” Banda said.

"We have to work two times harder than a man to be a part of this group or any group in general. So, I’m extremely honored to be wearing my suit I wear it proudly honestly so being here to me it’s an honor,” vocalist and violinist Stephanie Franco said.

Group members said the nerves started to kick in while preparing for the show.

“Too much nervous, too much nervous but excited,” co-owner Rafael Ornelas said.

However, members of Mariachi Estrella said the nerves quickly left and they understood their role was much bigger than walking out in their charro suits, instruments in hand, and putting on a show.

“We had a lot of weight on our shoulders being Hispanic and coming from — some of us being born here in the U.S. and being Chicanas, for our parents, this is like a huge accomplishment too,” Franco said.

“I came from Chihuahua, Parral, the city there, and came here when I was nine months old and grew up here, and now playing for the Chiefs. So I’m honored and grateful," guitarron player Luis A. Portillo said.

Now that Mariachi Estrella can cross the performance off their bucket list, they hope fans in Kansas City and all over will continue to appreciate the sound of the music and culture.

“Being able to embrace our culture in this society without reprimands is a great honor, and that so many people enjoy it outside of our culture just makes our hearts so full,” Banda said.