Los Cenzontles Timeline

25 Years of Crossing Barriers and Building Bridges

  • 1989
  • Eugene Rodriguez receives a California Arts Council artist residency in Richmond to teach Mexican music to young people. With dance teacher Berenice Zuniga Yap he continues to build the youth group with whom he has been working since 1987.

    La Vieja - 1990
    La Vieja - 1990
  • Los Cenzontles records at Dolby Labs in San Francisco.

  • Los Cenzontles students record 10 cassettes between 1989 and 1996 as a learning and fundraising tool.

  • 1991
  • Eugene, students, and their families organize and raise funds for a trip Veracruz to study and play at a traditional fandango at Santiago Tuxtla.

    Santiago Tuxtla 1991 Fandango
    Santiago Tuxtla 1991 Fandango
  • 1992
  • Eugene initiates the Fandango Project to establish the fandango jarocho in California with funds from the Mexican-based Fideicomiso para la cultura. He organizes music, dance, and luthier workshops with son Jarocho master Gilberto Guiterrez. The project is documented by photographer Silvia Gonzalez de Leon. Eugene’s goal is to reinvigorate Mexican music in Chicano communities.

  • 1993
  • Los Cenzontles travel to the remote Indigenous village of Pajapan, Veracruz to attend a son jarocho music and dance camp.

    That's how we start talking to each other
    That's how we start talking to each other
  • Los Cenzontles meet Linda Ronstadt who supports the group’s travel to the youth music and dance camp in Veracruz.

  • 1994
  • Eugene incorporates Los Cenzontles Mexican Arts Center as a non-profit organization; Alicia Marines joins as administrator. He rents the San Pablo Civic Center to hold after-school classes in music, dance, arts and crafts, and cooking. Initial teachers include Francisco ‘Pato’ Diaz of Mariachi Azteca de San Jose, Pato's children Carla and Juan, Eugene Rodriguez, Gilberto Gutierrez, Silvia Gonzalez de Leon, and Tom Fuglestad. Soon, the students themselves begin teaching classes as well. The first week of classes attracts 175 students.

    First LCMAC semester - 1994
    First LCMAC semester - 1994
  • Cecilia Rios, a friend to many of Los Cenzontles members, is raped and murdered in San Pablo. Eugene organizes a songwriting workshop for the grief-stricken teens with master artist Gilberto Gutierrez.

    El Corrido de Cecilia Rios
    El Corrido de Cecilia Rios
  • Kristal, Lucina, Amalia, and Ruth sing El Corrido de Cecilia Rios at the Great American Music Hall.

  • 1995
  • Los Cenzontles appears on their first CD on Arhoolie Records, Con Su Permiso, Señores.

  • Los Cenzontles perform at the Arhoolie Records 35th Anniversary concert series alongside Flaco Jimenez, Lalo Guerrero, and others.

  • Children's album Papa's Dream is released by Los Lobos and Lalo Guerrero and features Los Cenzontles's musicians and singers. Produced by Eugene Rodriguez, the album is nominated for a Grammy.

  • Los Cenzontles performs at the Bay Area Grammy party at Bimbo’s in San Francisco to celebrate the nomination of Papa's Dream.

  • 1997
  • Los Cenzontles produces the Festival of Youth in the Tradition featuring youth groups and master artists of mariachi, banda, and the son jarocho. Students attend classes at several sites throughout San Pablo and Richmond, including Contra Costa College, the Richmond Auditorium, and the San Pablo Civic Center. The festival features Yolanda del Rio, Graciela Beltan, Lalo Guerrero, Mono Blanco, Banda La Movida, Mariachi Azteca de San Jose, and others.

    1997 Festival of Youth in the Tradition
    1997 Festival of Youth in the Tradition
  • Los Cenzontles releases You'll Come Flying CD, a collection of traditional and original music in an array of styles.

  • Eugene’s production of Mono Blanco's CD Se Acaba el Mundo is released. This recording began a series of musical projects that fused traditional son jarocho with other world music genres.

    Stonelips - La Palma - 1995
    Stonelips - La Palma - 1995
  • 1998
  • Los Cenzontles youth, family and friends renovate a former liquor store in Dias Plaza into their first permanent home with support from the City of San Pablo and the Dias family. Dance, music, and arts and crafts classes continue here.

  • Los Cenzontles students take their third student trip to Veracruz to study, play and dance at fandangos in Santiago Tuxtla.

  • 1999
  • Los Cenzontles releases Hypnotizada, an album of brass-band music produced by Los Cenzontles students Hugo Arroyo and Hector Espinoza.

  • Los Cenzontles releases Amor Paz y Sinceridad, an album of a cappela alabanzas, songs of praise to the virgin of Guadalupe, patron saint of Mexico.

  • Los Cenzontles releases Volando en los Cafetales, an album of son Jarocho, traditional music from Southern Veracruz, Mexico.

  • 2000
  • The young people of Los Cenzontles assume administrative positions at Los Cenzontles, expanding the organization’s "Grow Your Own" methodology into administrative leadership.

  • Los Cenzontles releases Cancionero, an album of popular romantic boleros and rancheras.

  • Los Cenzontles releases a compilation album called De Una Bonita on Arhoolie Records.

  • Los Cenzontles meet master artist Atilano Lopez from Jaracuaro, Michoacan to learn pirekuas and sones.

  • 2001
  • Los Cenzontles releases CD Media Vida, an album of traditional and popular styles.

  • Los Cenzontles meet traditional mariachi practitioner Julian Gonzalez and begin weekly workshops to revive the lost music and dance style son abajeño. The workshops were made possible with a Master Apprenticeship grant from the Alliance for California Traditional Arts.

  • Los Cenzontles releases the Cuatro Maestros CD that includes collaborations with master artists representing four regional styles. Santiago Jimenez Jr. of San Antonio, Texas; Julian Gonzalez of Jalisco, Mexico; Atilano Lopez of Michocan; and Andres Vega of Veracruz.

    Los Cenzontles w/ Santiago Jimenez
    Los Cenzontles w/ Santiago Jimenez
    Los Cenzontles w/ Atilano Lopez
    Los Cenzontles w/ Atilano Lopez
  • Los Cenzontles produces Cuatro Maestros tour of California representing four regional traditions. The group performs at Sacramento State University; Arte Americas, Fresno; City of San Fernando; CSU Monterey; Julia Morgan Theater, Berkeley; California Plaza, Los Angeles.

    Cuatro Maestros Tour Footage
    Cuatro Maestros Tour Footage
  • 2002
  • Los Cenzontles receives the Coming Up Taller Award from the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities.

  • Los Cenzontles releases CD Plan de la Villa, the first of four albums of traditional and little-known sones abajenos of the traditional mariachi with Julian Gonzalez.

  • Dia de los Muertos – Los Cenzontles presents an annual event that is reflective and celebratory in honor of our loved ones who have passed on. We invite the community to place offerings on the altar that is created by our artesania teacher Marie-Astrid Do-Rodriguez each year with a different theme and design.

  • Los Cenzontles presents a Danza de Los Copetones reenactment at the San Pablo Civic Center. Taught by master folk artist Julian Gonzalez to Los Cenzontles members.

    Danza de los Copetones
    Danza de los Copetones
  • Los Cenzontles opens for Los Lobos at the California State Fair.

  • 2003
  • Los Cenzontles releases CD Pocas Palabras, an album of traditional and original music.

    Pocas Palabras
    Pocas Palabras
  • Los Cenzontles releases the CD El Pasajero, an album of traditional and seldom-heard sones abajeños and rancheras of the traditional mariachi with Julian Gonzalez.

  • Los Cenzontles Academy is awarded the East Bay Express' "Best After-School Program"

  • Los Cenzontles is featured in the Contra Costa Times

  • Los Cenzontles travels to Jalisco, Mexico, with master of traditional mariachi Julian Gonzalez to reintroduce the traditional mariachi in its homeland.

    El Torero
    El Torero
  • 2004
  • Los Cenzontles releases Pasajero, A Journey of Time and Memory, a documentary directed and filmed by Ricardo Braojos and produced by Eugene Rodriguez.

  • Los Cenzontles releases CD El Chivo, Traditional Mariachi Volume III, an album of little-known sones abajeños and rancheras of the traditional mariachi with Julian Gonzalez.

  • Los Cenzontles members Fabiola Trujillo and Lucina Rodriguez travel to Jaracuaro, Michoacan, Mexico, to work with purepecha music master Atilano Lopez.

    Naninan Upirin
    Naninan Upirin
  • 2005
  • Pasajero, A Journey of Time and Memory is broadcast nationally through American Public Television.

  • The documentary Pasajero, A Journey of Time and Memory is screened at the Smithsonian Institute; the Gene Siskel Film Theater, Chicago; Carriage House, Villa Montalvo; Julia Morgan Center for the Arts ; Chicago Latino Film Festival; Arpa Festival, Los Angeles Arc Theater; Ozark Foothills Film Festival and the Morelia International Film Festival.

  • Banda Los Cenzontles tours California with Los Lobos.

  • Los Cenzontles travel to Veracruz, Mexico, to film Fandango, Searching for the White Monkey.

    En Lo Lejos
    En Lo Lejos
  • 2006
  • Anthropologist Dr. Maribel Alvarez publishes "Pedagogy of Intangible Heritage" for the Community Arts Network. The article is based on her in-depth study of Los Cenzontles and its operations.

  • Los Cenzontles performs with Mariachi Los Camperos de Nati Cano at the Universal Amphitheater.

  • The traditional mariachi group of Los Cenzontles is featured at the Fresno Mariachi Festival and the San Jose Mariachi Festival.

  • Los Cenzontles releases the CD El Toro Viejo Traditional Mariachi Volume IV, an album of rarely-heard sones abajeños and rancheras of the traditional mariachi with Julian Gonzalez.

  • Los Cenzontles presents its annual Dia de los Muertos event. Altar by Marie-Astrid Do-Rodriguez.

  • Los Cenzontles's documentary film Fandango, Searching for the White Monkey premiers at the Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles.

    Santa Rosa de la Loma, Veracruz
    Santa Rosa de la Loma, Veracruz
  • Los Cenzontles is featured in the West County Times

  • 2007
  • Los Cenzontles releases the CD Los Senn-sont-less, an album of original music.

  • Los Cenzontles launches its YouTube channel.
    Los Cenzontles on YouTube

  • Los Cenzontles presents its annual Dia de los Muertos event. Dia de los Muertos - Altar by Marie-Astrid Do-Rodriguez.

  • Documentary Fandango, Searching for the White Monkey broadcast on PBS

  • 2008
  • Los Cenzontles releases the documentary Vivir, a portrait of the ways in which cultural education is important.

    Vivir
    Vivir
  • Vivir is broadcast on Public Television

  • Los Cenzontles releases the CD Songs of Wood & Steel, an album of music fusing traditional, popular and original music. It is Los Cenzontles’s first full album collaborating with David Hidalgo.

  • Taj Mahal, Linda Ronstadt and Los Lobos perform at a fundraiser for Los Cenzontles at the Center.

    Hwy 51 Los Lobos with Taj Mahal
    Hwy 51 Los Lobos with Taj Mahal
  • Los Cenzontles initiate a partnership with California Migrant Education to provide workshops in the cultural arts statewide.

  • 2009
  • Los Cenzontles releases the CD American Horizon, an album of original music fusing Mexican and African American music in collaboration with David Hidalgo and Taj Mahal. Funded by the Creative Work Fund.

  • Los Cenzontles performs at the Hollywood bowl event Bienvenido Gustavo to welcome Los Angeles Philharmonic conductor Gustavo Dudamel.

  • 2010
  • Los Cenzontles is invited to appear on the San Patricio CD by The Chieftains and Ry Cooder, an album that fuses Mexican and Irish music with fellow guest artists Linda Ronstadt, Chavela Vargas, Los Tigres del Norte, and many others.

  • Los Cenzontles tour the UK and Ireland with The Chieftains and Ry Cooder.

  • Los Cenzontles initiate the Routes of Resilience video short series.

  • Eugene pens "Estado de Verguenza", a song meant to decry the discrimination of Arizona’s anti-immigration legislation. The single is soon recorded and released.

  • Los Cenzontles and Maribel Alvarez, Ph.D. release the document “Los Cenzontles: This is How We Work. Reflections, Testimonies and Lessons on Artistic Practices and Teaching Strategies.”

  • Los Cenzontles releases the CD Raza de Oro, an album of traditional, popular and original music.

  • Premier of music videos Soy Mexico Americano and Estado de Verguenza, directed by Les Blank and edited by Maureen Gosling.

  • Los Cenzontles perform with the Chieftains in Glasgow.

  • 2011
  • Premier of the music video Good Morning Aztlan directed by Les Blank and edited by Maureen Gosling.

    Good Morning Aztlan
    Good Morning Aztlan
  • Linda Ronstadt hosts the Folk Art in Motion Fashion Show of Los Cenzontles's costumes.

    Folk Art in Motion Fashion Show
    Folk Art in Motion Fashion Show
  • Los Cenzontles tours the Dominican Republic sponsored by the US State Department.

  • Los Cenzontles releases the CD Flor de Canela, 10 Anos de Dueto, a compilation album featuring the vocal duet of Fabiola Trujillo and Lucina Rodriguez.

  • Releases singles La Pelota and Valor Latino.

    La Pelota
    La Pelota
    Valor Latino
    Valor Latino
  • Academy launches its first two-week summer camp.

  • Linda Ronstadt and Eugene Rodriguez give the keynote speech for the Grantmakers in the Arts Conference with David Hidalgo and Los Cenzontles performing a retrospective of Los Cenzontles's community work through culture with music.

    The Velocity of Change - GIA Keynote
    The Velocity of Change - GIA Keynote
  • Los Cenzontles presents its annual Dia de los Muertos event. Altar by Marie-Astrid Do-Rodriguez.

  • Los Cenzontles performs at Arhoolie Records 50th Anniversary Concert

  • 2012
  • Los Cenzontles initiates a program of cultural consultation to encourage other communities to engage the Latino immigrant community.

    Investing in America's future
    Investing in America's future
  • Los Cenzontles releases the CD Regeneration, an album of mostly original music in celebration of the Latinization of America.

  • Los Cenzontles performs in a cultural exchange in Oahu Hawaii with the Pa’i Cultural Center and Cyril Pahinui.

    Murmullos en Hawaii
    Murmullos en Hawaii
  • Los Cenzontles presents its annual Dia de los Muertos event. Altar by Marie-Astrid Do-Rodriguez.

  • Los Cenzontles release "The Silence," an original song about the drug violence in Mexico. Sung by David Hidalgo and Jackson Browne. Film by Kevin Castro.

    The Silence
    The Silence
  • Los Cenzontles releases its first LP, Puro Jam, with David Hidalgo.

  • 2013
  • Jackson Browne fundraiser concert for Los Cenzontles takes place at The Craneway Pavilion with guest artist Taj Mahal.

    Lawless Avenues Live
    Lawless Avenues Live
  • Los Cenzontles completes Phase 1 of its facility expansion and “Supporting Roots Campaign.” Los Cenzontles takes over the adjacent storefront and builds a new kitchen, office, and art room.

  • Los Cenzontles releases the singles "Cortez the Killer" (with David Hidalgo), "American Roulette," "Invisible Man," and "El Mexicano."

    Cortez the Killer
    Cortez the Killer
    American Roulette
    American Roulette
    Invisible Man
    Invisible Man
  • Eugene Rodriguez is awarded a United States Artists Oliver Fellowship.

    With Tim Robbins (left) and David Hildago (right)

  • Los Cenzontles headlines at SFJazz.

  • 2014
  • Los Cenzontles Facebook page tops 9,000 fans.

    Los Cenzontles on Facebook

  • Filmmaker Dionisio Ceballos and Los Cenzontles collaborate on an animated short - Tata's Gift – as a Creative Work Fund project that unites traditional crafts with digital arts.

  • Los Cenzontles release La Mula y el Arriero with arpa grande group Razilla Chiquiila

    Los Cenzontles y Razilla Chiquilla - La Mula y El Arriero
    Los Cenzontles y Razilla Chiquilla - La Mula y El Arriero
  • Los Cenzontles Teen Jarocho Ensemble perform at the Oakland Museum Dia de los Muertos

  • Los Cenzontles release A Pair of Brown Eyes

    Los Cenzontles - A Pair of Brown Eyes
    Los Cenzontles - A Pair of Brown Eyes
  • Initiate Noche Cultural music and culture series

  • Monsignor Anthony Valdivia blesses our newly added space

  • 2015
  • Los Cenzontles, David Hidalgo and Los Texmaniacs perform at Yoshi’s Oakland

    Margarita, Margarita
    Margarita, Margarita
  • Shades of Brown CD Release – the Mexican Zydeco Connection

  • Los Cenzontles's YouTube channel reaches over 2 million viewers with over 1,700 subscribers.


    Los Cenzontles on YouTube
  • Los Cenzontles release new pirekua videos by Los Cenzontles and Atilano Lopez Patricio

    Albertina
    Albertina
  • Release song and video of *The Dreamer *by Eugene Rodriguez and Jackson Browne

    The Dreamer
    The Dreamer
  • Los Cenzontles Traditional Mariachi included in the LA Plaza Museum Exhibit

  • Los Cenzontles Academy students record "La Sarna" Video

    La Sarna
    La Sarna
  • Executive Director, Eugene Rodriguez, named a "Playmaker" by the Superbowl 50 Host Committee.

    Playmaker
    Playmaker
  • Emiliano Rodriguez performs with Tex Mex legends Flaco Jimenez and Max Baca at SF Jazz

Timeline photographs by: Mike Melnyk, Craig Sherod, Armando Quintero and members of Los Cenzontles.