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For his first day of high school, Carlos “Charlie” Martinez irons his jeans and refreshes his cologne. Over the next several months, he’ll go from nervous “fishie” to school mascot, and the only vocalist to represent Zapata High School at a national mariachi competition. Watch the full film, Mariachi High, during the 2012 PBS Summer Arts Festival.
Zapata, Texas (population 5089) is a small Texas town on the Rio Grande, 200 miles south of San Antonio and 400 miles southwest of Houston. The population is 95% Latino, and, interestingly, boasts the most hangliding world records in the world. The visual tour starts here.
Alma Llanera, sung by Eloy Martinez in Mariachi High, is a famous mariachi song written in 1914. Recorded by many vocalists including Placido Domingo, it’s considered the unofficial “second anthem” of Venezuela, and is often sung at parties and social gatherings. Sing along with Eloy and Mariachi Halcon as the lyrics come up on the screen.
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