WHO WE ARE
Mexico Beyond Mariachi was created 15 years ago to address the needs of NYC communities to know more about tradional Mexican performance culture beyond what they knew as Baile Folklorico*
What seemed so obvious was being overlooked! While Mexican influence is all around us, what do people really know about the traditions of Mexico’s music and dance culture, the stories legends and myths that are interwoven with their orgins, and how do we effectively communicate that knowledge to young audiences?
Responding to that need, MBM worked with artists in Mexico and here in the United States to create arts in education and school performance programs that we’ve taken to over 250 schools on the East Coast.
Building on that success, in 2015 MBM mounted a full scale touring show for performing arts centers with cool lighting and imaginative video to further help tell the story to young audiences and families nationwide.
*Baile Foklorico is a stylized form which incorporate elements of ballet that was created in the early 20th century by Amalia Hernandez to theatricalize folk traditions.
Peter Basil Bogdanos
(Co-founder, Executive Director)
Narrator, Jarana, Percussion
Peter is a multi-faceted percussionist who has worked with major figures in flamenco, hip-hop, jazz, salsa, rock and everything in between. Over the past 20 years he has performed across the US and the world while spending significant time in Mexico studying regional cultural traditions. Peter has a unique capacity for communicating with audiences, helping them feel informed, involved and excited about Mexican culture. Peter’s vision of creating a group that showcases Mexico’s vast cultural expression in music and dance is the driving force for the ensemble.
(Co-founder, Artistic Director)
Dance, Flute, Percussion, Vocals
A gifted dancer and accomplished percussionist, Alda brings unparalleled knowledge and enthusiasm for the folk traditions of Mexico to every performance. As an educator, her experience and compassion have been valued by many arts organizations. Creating a productive environment that encourages all participants to feel engaged and important has been a vital part of her teaching and performing philosophy. It is her mission to enrich children’s learning through dance, to demonstrate that the arts are connected to learning standards, and can be a vital component throughout people’s lives. Alda’s frequent trips to festivals and seminars in Mexico ensure the group continues to grow artistically by remaining current with trends and movements in the folk traditions.
Dance, Requinto, Jarana, Vihuela, Vocals
Juan’s agility in switching roles between dancer and musician during performances has earned him the nickname “MVP.” A member of the Mexika Chichimeca dance group Calpulli Huehuetlahtolli, Juan has also worked with several dance companies in NYC and NJ, including Calpulli Mexican Dance Company. His musical career was launched in his teens when he began playing string instruments including guitar, vihuela, jarana and ‘bajo sexto’ in various styles such as Conjunto, Norteño, Cumbia, Huasteca, Jarocho, and Mariachi. He has been an invaluable member of Mexico Beyond Mariachi for 10 years.
Jarana, Leona, Vocals
Sinuhé’s expertise ranges from Nahuatl cosmogony to sacred Aztec music and dance. He is at the heart of the renaissance of Son Jarocho in NYC. Sinuhé founded Jarana Records and has served as musical director for Jarana Beat, Calpulli Mexican Dance Company, Bilingual Birdies and SonJarocho.MX, among others. Recently, he has written and recorded music for documentaries by National Geographic Mundo (Firmes), Storyhunter.TV and the United Nations. Prior to settling in NYC, he studied and performed in Spain and across South America. He has been a member of Mexico Beyond Mariachi for 5 years.
Vocals, Violin, Guitarron
A former member of Coro de Ninos de San Juan and Mariachi Angeles de Puebla (NYC), Mireya founded Mariachi Flor de Toloache in 2008, New York’s first all female Mariachi band. She has been featured by the New York Times, NBC and Univision as the director of this innovative band. Throughout her career she has explored many genres including salsa, jazz and hip hop, accompanying various DJ’s, appearing with artists such as Chucho Valdez, Omar Sosa, Arturo O’Farrill, Marc Anthony, Elvis Crespo, Luisito Quintero, Juan Carlos Formell, Alfredo de La Fe, El Prodigio, Ruben Albarran, Bilal, and recording with Chris Rock, Velcro, Jarana Beat, Soni and Luisito Quinteros.
Claudia is a performer of great range, having appeared on stages across the U.S. with Dan Zanes among others and in China with the United Nations Singers. She organized the Encuentro de Jaraneros en NYC, as well as many other community events over the past 4 years. She is a member of NYC’s first all female Mariachi band, Mariachi Flor de Toloache. Recently, she has lent her voice to Bilingual Birdies, the National Geographic documentary Firmes and UNTV. In 2003 she co-founded Calpulli Mexican Dance Company. Claudia has been a member of Mexico Beyond Mariachi for 3 years.
RECENT GUEST ARTISTS
Jarana, Percussion, Dance
Andres is one of the most respected masters and musicians within the son jarocho community. Originally from Alvarado, Veracruz, Andrés is a renowned luthier of son jarocho instruments, a musician and singer and is a specialist in playing the percussive instruments of the son jarocho. Andrés has been a member of the internationally renowned son jarocho groups “Chuchumbé” and “Quemayama”, both groups of the highest caliber and comprised of some of the most well known musicians of son jarocho. 2016 saw his first performance with Mexico Beyond Mariachi.
As composer and director of the jazz quartet Menos es Más, he has performed throughout North and South America, as well as parts of Europe to critical acclaim. In 2008 Felipe was nominated for a Latin Grammy with Charlie Sepúlveda & The Turnaround, and in 2009 he was nominated for a U.S. as well as a Latin Grammy for his work with Nestor Torres on the CD Nouveau Latino. He has performed with Mexico Beyond Mariachi since 2015.
Benjamin de Jesus Gonzalez
A multi instrumentalist, Benjamin is a true musical troubadour having toured the world playing traditional folkloric music as well as with Mariachi groups. His command of a wide variety of instruments such violin, harp as well as several types of guitars, has been an exciting complement to the Mexico Beyond Mariachi repertoire. 2015 was his first year playing with the ensemble.
Claudio is best known for his work on the Oscar winning soundtrack for the movie “FRIDA”. From Veracruz, Mexico he comes from one of the most important families that have kept the traditions alive and furthered Son Jarocho music and dance into the 21st century. He travels all over the world performing and giving workshops with his own group, Los Vega. He first performed with Mexico Beyond Mariachi in 2014.
Cecilia Macuilxochitl Ortega is a dancer, musician, artisan, community leader, mother and full-spectrum doula. She is of Totonaca-Mexica decent, born in Veracruz, Mexico but raised in Brooklyn. Mrs. Ortega teaches social studies through Mexican music and dance in NYC public schools. She is a proud advocate of Son Jarocho, Son Tixtleco and Fandango traditions. Co-founder and Water woman of Kalpulli Huehuetlahtolli, a community organization preserving Mexican indigenous ways of life and a member of the Native American Church.