Los Cenzontles Timeline

25 Years of Crossing Barriers and Building Bridges

1989

1989

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

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1989

1989

Los Cenzontles records at Dolby Labs in San Francisco.

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1989

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.

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1991

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.

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1992

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.

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1993

1993

Los Cenzontles meet Linda Ronstadt who supports the group’s travel to the youth music and dance camp in Veracruz.

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1993

1993

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

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1994

1994

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

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1994

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.

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1994

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.

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1995

1995

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

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1995

1995

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

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1995

1995

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.

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1995

1995

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

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1997

1997

Los Cenzontles releases You’ll Come Flying CD, a collection of traditional and original music in an array of styles.

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1997

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.

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1997

1997

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.

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1998

1998

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

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1998

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.

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1999

1999

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

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1999

1999

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.

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1999

1999

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

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2000

2000

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

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2000

2000

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

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2000

2000

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

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2001

2001

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.

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2001

2001

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

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2001

2001

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

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2002

2002

Los Cenzontles receives the Coming Up Taller Award from the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities.

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2002

2002

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.

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2002

2002

Los Cenzontles opens for Los Lobos at the California State Fair.

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2002

2002

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.

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2003

2003

Los Cenzontles Academy is awarded the East Bay Express’ “Best After-School Program”

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2003

2003

Los Cenzontles is featured in the Contra Costa Times

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2003

2003

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.

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2004

2004

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

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2004

2004

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.

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2005

2005

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

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2005

2005

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.

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2005

2005

Banda Los Cenzontles tours California with Los Lobos.

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2006

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.

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2006

2006

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

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2006

2006

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

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2006

2006

Los Cenzontles is featured in the West County Times

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2006

2006

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

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2006

2006

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.

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2007

2007

Los Cenzontles launches its YouTube channel.Los Cenzontles on YouTube

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2007

2007

Documentary Fandango, Searching for the White Monkey broadcast on PBS

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2007

2007

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

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2007

2007

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

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2008

2008

Vivir is broadcast on Public Television

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2008

2008

Los Cenzontles initiate a partnership with California Migrant Education to provide workshops in the cultural arts statewide.

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2008

2008

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.

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2009

2009

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

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2009

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.

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2010

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.

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2010

2010

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

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2010

2010

Los Cenzontles initiate the Routes of Resilience video short series.

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2010

2010

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.”

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2010

2010

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

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2010

2010

Los Cenzontles perform with the Chieftains in Glasgow.

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2010

2010

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

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2010

2010

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.

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2011

2011

Los Cenzontles tours the Dominican Republic sponsored by the US State Department.

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2011

2011

Academy launches its first two-week summer camp.

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2011

2011

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

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2011

2011

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

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2011

2011

Los Cenzontles performs at Arhoolie Records 50th Anniversary Concert

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2011

2011

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.

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2012

2012

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

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2012

2012

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

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2012

2012

Los Cenzontles releases the CD Regeneration, an album of mostly original music in celebration of the Latinization of America.

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2013

2013

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.

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2013

2013

Eugene Rodriguez is awarded a United States Artists Oliver Fellowship. With Tim Robbins (left) and David Hildago (right)

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2013

2013

Los Cenzontles headlines at SFJazz.

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2014

2014

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.

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2014

2014

Los Cenzontles Teen Jarocho Ensemble perform at the Oakland Museum Dia de los Muertos

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2014

2014

Initiate Noche Cultural music and culture series

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2014

2014

Monsignor Anthony Valdivia blesses our newly added space

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2014

2014

Los Cenzontles Facebook page tops 9,000 fans. Los Cenzontles on Facebook

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2015

2015

Shades of Brown CD Release – the Mexican Zydeco Connection

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2015

2015

Los Cenzontles Traditional Mariachi included in the LA Plaza Museum Exhibit

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2015

2015

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

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2015

2015

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

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2017

2017

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.

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2017

2017

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.

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2017

2017

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.

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2017

2017

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

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2017

2017

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

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2017

2017

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

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2017

2017

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

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2017

2017

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

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2017

2017

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

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2017

2017

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

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2017

2017

Linda Ronstadt hosts the Folk Art in Motion Fashion Show of Los Cenzontles’s costumes.

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2017

2017

Releases singles La Pelota and Valor Latino.

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2017

2017

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.

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2017

2017

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

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2017

2017

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

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2017

2017

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.

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2017

2017

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

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2017

2017

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

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2017

2017

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

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2017

2017

Los Cenzontles release A Pair of Brown Eyes

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2017

2017

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

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2017

2017

Los Cenzontles release new pirekua videos by Los Cenzontles and Atilano Lopez Patricio

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2017

2017

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

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2017

2017

Los Cenzontles Academy students record “La Sarna” Video

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2017

2017

Executive Director, Eugene Rodriguez, named a “Playmaker” by the Superbowl 50 Host Committee.

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2017

2017

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

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