Hispanic Cubana brings mariachi gold

Mariachi maven via Cuba
Kevin Roderick, LA Observer • June 19 2009

Patricia Marroquin at Hispanic Business profiles Rodri Rodriguez, the Cuban-born creator of the annual Mariachi USA festival that returns Saturday to the Hollywood Bowl for the 20th time.

While it may seem odd that a woman of Cuban descent would create a Mexican festival, it was really a natural occurrence for Rodriguez. "Since early in my career I worked with mariachi music giants Lucha Villa, Lola Beltran, Miguel Aceves Mejia, Juan Gabriel and so many others," she said. "In this process, mariachi romanced my ear."

Rodriguez recently became a principal partner with Manuel Meza in the Los Angeles restaurant La Fonda, the first mariachi dinner show venue in the United States. The restaurant originally opened in 1969 by Natividad "Nati" Cano as a home for his group, Los Camperos. The restaurant closed in October 2007, but Meza and his partners reopened a freshly redesigned space in early 2008.

Unlike in previous years, tickets remain for the Bowl show. Rodriguez blames the economy.

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