Genaro and Sandy

A man with a guitar and woman with a violin stand in neatly pressed Mariachi garb on the concrete driveway of an apartment complex.

Genaro: “Being a mariachi musician in Kentucky has been a unique experience. Where I come from, Mexican culture is everywhere. Everyone speaks Spanish and mariachi and other regional Mexican music are common. Coming here to an entirely new culture, community, and audience was a huge risk, but it has been extremely rewarding.

Here, I feel like a true ambassador for my culture and this beautiful music, because so often I’m performing for people who have never seen or heard mariachi in person. In many ways I’m even more proud of my heritage and culture because I’m so aware of my presence and role as a representative of mariachi music and, to an extent, Mexico and Mexican culture at large.” 

Sandy: “When I started my career as a mariachi musician 10 years ago I never thought I’d be doing what I love most in the state of Kentucky. Moving here from Los Angeles in February of this year was a huge culture shock. No longer was there Mexican food, music, and culture around every corner. In some odd way that is what I love most about being here. I feel a huge responsibility to teach Kentuckians about Mexican culture through mariachi music and break down stereotypes. One way I’ve loved doing that is through teaching the students of Mariachi Los Alazanes of La Casa De La Cultura in Lexington. They are the first youth mariachi group in the history of the State of Kentucky. It has been such an honor being a part of something so groundbreaking. These past four months in Kentucky have been great and I’m excited to continue growing a more culturally diverse Kentucky through music.”

Audio Transcript

[music playing]

My name is Genaro Rascon. I’ve been living in Kentucky for 3 years. I am a musician and an educator. Soy hijo de padres mexicanos.

I want to live in an America that I can be proud of, where people value country over party and don’t fly literal flags bearing the name of your favorite politician in the same way that you would fly the flag of your favorite sports team.

I want our country to live up to the ideals that it loves to espouse but which in reality it has so often failed to uphold.

I want to live in the America that I grew up hearing about, the shining city on the hill that stands as a beacon of hope to those seeking liberty and justice, to the tired and poor and tempest tossed.

I want to live in the America that we pretend to be. I want that dream to be real. I believe we are capable of becoming a nation that values diversity, intellectualism, and justice for ALL.

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