Los Angeles based Mariachi Los Camperos released today their new album – De Ayer para Siempre. This is their tenth studio album and the first one under the leadership of Jesús “Chuy” Guzmán, following the death of iconic bandleader Natividad “Nati” Cano in 2014.
De Ayer para Siempre is music of the past presented with new arrangements. It will allow you to enjoy favorites like “Maria Bonita,” and “España Cañi,” as well as a wonderful bolero medley, among a number of other selections.
You can purchase the album on Amazon by following this link; and it can also be found on your favorite streaming platform.
Read below and watch the video to learn about Guzman’s vision and his goals as the new leader of Mariachi Los Camperos.
Guzmán remembers being six years old back in Ensenada (circa 1970), watching in rapt amazement as the mariachi bands performed traditional favorites on television, dressed in their exquisite matching suits. Even at that young age, he could sense that this music was in his blood and signified a powerful representation of his family’s cultural heritage. And if any one of the featured ensembles captured the Mexican ethos perfectly, it was Mariachi Los Camperos, led by maverick visionary and world-renowned music teacher Natividad “Nati” Cano.
Young Chuy had decided then and there that his future was to be a mariachi musician. With the blessing of his musician father, he would spend every evening after school playing old family records and fingering out the notes to teach himself the guitarrón, the vihuela, and the violin (which would later become his instrument of choice). By age nine, Chuy had put together his own band with two of his brothers and a few neighborhood friends. He recalls turning to his guitarrón player after practicing one day and announcing assuredly, “You know, someday I will be a member of Mariachi Los Camperos.”
Nearly five decades later, that childhood declaration reads like prophesy. Not only has Guzmán had the privilege of serving as a member of Los Camperos and premier student of Nati Cano for over 25 years, in 2014 a dying Cano chose Guzmán to succeed him as music director of the group with the task of ensuring it continues to thrive into posterity. Now Guzmán continues Cano’s mission to bring the voice and aesthetic of the Mexican working classes to new audiences and to challenge the racism, classism, and high-brow attitudes that have traditionally led the formally trained musical establishment in both Mexico and the U.S. to look down on mariachi as working-class music.
“Un sueño …a dream,” says Guzmán of the experience. “To be in charge of this historical institution that is Mariachi Los Camperos is a privilege, it’s a lot of responsibility and a challenge for me within the mariachi world.”
De Ayer para Siempre is a testament to Guzmán’s commitment to that heavy sense of responsibility to heritage and the challenge he feels to carry it forward through dynamic new manifestations. “Our goal in choosing these songs;” says Guzmán, “is that the people will enjoy the selection and the musical arrangements with a combination of emotions honoring the composers and a process of creating a musical memory, by preserving the songs that have been forgotten.”