Over 30 years of crossing barriers and building bridges

The Los Cenzontles Timeline

Scroll and click through our interactive timeline to view highlights and most pivotal moments of our trajectory. From neighborhood fundraisers to performing around the world, our story centers first-voice storytelling, cross-cultural connections and community centered programming.

1989

Los Cenzontles is Founded

Los Cenzontles is Founded

Los Cenzontles begins as a youth group, led by Eugene Rodriguez and Bernice Zuñiga.

1990

Los Cenzontles heads to the Studio

Los Cenzontles heads to the Studio

Los Cenzontles students record their first cassette at Dolby Labs in San Francisco as a learning and fundraising tool. The cassette tapes were later turned into CD’s! Available for purchase in our Tienda.

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1992

The Fandango Project

The Fandango Project

Eugene initiates The Fandango Project to establish the traditional community celebration of Fandangos in California. With music and dance workshops organized with Son Jarocho master Gilberto Gutierrez, Eugene’s goal is to reinvigorate Mexican music in Chicano communities.

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1993

Los Cenzontles meet Linda Ronstadt

Los Cenzontles meet Linda Ronstadt

Los Cenzontles meet Linda Ronstadt while busking for change to travel to Mexico. Linda supports the group and begins a long-standing relationship with them.

1994

Los Cenzontles Mexican Arts Center becomes a Non-profit organization

Eugene incorporates Los Cenzontles Mexican Arts Center as a non-profit organization, with Alicia Marines 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…

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1995

Con Su Permiso, Señores

Con Su Permiso, Señores

Los Cenzontles appears on their first CD on Arhoolie Records, Con Su Permiso, Señores, a youthful production that includes a range of styles from son jarocho to modern banda.

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1995

Performance at Arhoolie Records

Performance at Arhoolie Records

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

1995

Papa’s Dream

Papa’s Dream

The legendary Los Lobos and Lalo Guerrero release their children’s album Papa’s Dream, which features Los Cenzontles’s musicians and singers. Produced by Eugene Rodriguez, the album is nominated for a Grammy.

1995

Bay Area Grammy Party

Bay Area Grammy Party

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

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1997

You’ll Come Flying

You’ll Come Flying

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

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1997

Festival of Youth in the Tradition

Los Cenzontles produce the Festival of Youth in the Tradition featuring youth groups and master artists of mariachi, banda, and 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…

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1998

Los Cenzontles in Veracruz

Los Cenzontles in Veracruz

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

1998

Designing Our Home

Designing Our Home

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 will continue here for the next decades.

1999

Volando en los Cafetales

Volando en los Cafetales

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

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1999

Hypnotizada

Hypnotizada

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

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1999

Amor Paz y Sinceridad

Amor Paz y Sinceridad

Los Cenzontles release Amor Paz y Sinceridad, an album of acapella alabanzas, songs of praise to the virgin of Guadalupe, patron saint of Mexico. Features Gisela Farías Luna.

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2000

Cancionero

Cancionero

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

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2000

Los Cenzontles Leaders

Los Cenzontles Leaders

The young people of Los Cenzontles assume administrative positions, expanding the organization’s “Grow Your Own” methodology of cultivating administrative leadership from within our community.  

2000

De Una Bonita

De Una Bonita

Arhoolie Records releases De Una Bonita, a compilation album by Los Cenzontles playing various music styles.  

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2000

Maestro Atilano López Patricio

Maestro Atilano López Patricio

Los Cenzontles meet master artist Atilano López from Jarácuaro, Michoacán and begin to learn pirekuas and sones abajeños, traditional to the indigenous P’urhépecha communities.

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2001

Maestro Julian Gonzalez

Maestro Julian Gonzalez

Los Cenzontles meet traditional mariachi practitioner Julian Gonzalez and begin weekly workshops to revive the lost music and dance style of son abajeño.

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2001

Cuatro Maestros

Cuatro Maestros

Los Cenzontles produce the 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. Los Cenzontles release the Cuatro Maestros CD that includes collaborations with master artists…

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2001

Media Vida

Media Vida

Los Cenzontles release Media Vida, a collection of rancheras, sones jarochos, pirekuas and more.

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2002

“Coming Up Taller” Award

“Coming Up Taller” Award

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

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2002

Dia de los Muertos

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

Los Lobos and Los Cenzontles

Los Lobos and Los Cenzontles

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

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2002

Plan de la Villa

Plan de la Villa

Los Cenzontles release Plan de la Villa, the first of four albums of traditional sones abajenos of the traditional mariachi with Julián González.

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2002

Danza de los Copetones

In the San Pablo Civic Center, Los Cenzontles present a Danza de Los Copetones reenactment taught by master folk artist Julian Gonzalez.

2003

Pocas Palabras

Pocas Palabras

Los Cenzontles release Pocas Palabras, an album that connects musical traditions with contemporary sounds.

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2003

Los Cenzontles in Jalisco – El Pasajero

Los Cenzontles in Jalisco – El Pasajero

Los Cenzontles travel to Jalisco, México, with master of traditional mariachi Julián González, to reintroduce the traditional mariachi in its homeland. Los Cenzontles release El Pasajero, its second album of traditional sones abajeños and rancheras of the traditional mariachi with Julián González.  

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2003

Los Cenzontles Mexican Arts Center: Best After-School Program

Los Cenzontles Mexican Arts Center: Best After-School Program

Our academy is awarded the East Bay Express’ “Best After-School Program”

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2003

A Cultural Treasure

A Cultural Treasure

Los Cenzontles appears in the Contra Costa Times.

2004

Visiting Maestro Atilano in Jaracuaro, Michoacan

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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2004

El Chivo

El Chivo

Los Cenzontles release El Chivo, Traditional Mariachi Volume III, its third album of sones abajeños and rancheras of the traditional mariachi with Julián González.

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2005

Los Cenzontles in Veracruz

Los Cenzontles in Veracruz

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

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2005

Los Lobos and Banda Los Cenzontles

Banda Los Cenzontles tours California with Los Lobos.

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2006

“Pedagogy of Intangible Heritage”

“Pedagogy of Intangible Heritage”

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

Mariachis aim to preserve stories

Mariachis aim to preserve stories

Los Cenzontles is featured in the West County Times

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2006

Dia de los Muertos

Dia de los Muertos

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

2006

El Toro Viejo

El Toro Viejo

Los Cenzontles release El Toro Viejo Traditional Mariachi Volume IV, its fourth album of sones abajeños and rancheras of the traditional mariachi with Julian Gonzalez.

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2007

Los senn-sont-less

Los senn-sont-less

Los Cenzontles release Los senn-sont-less, an album of original music featuring guest artists David Hidalgo, Bobby Black, and Bill Evans.

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2007

Dia de los Muertos

Dia de los Muertos

Los Cenzontles presents its annual Dia de los Muertos event. Each year, Marie-Astrid Do-Rodriguez creates an altar using different art mediums.

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2008

Vivir

Vivir

Los Cenzontles release the documentary Vivir (To Live, a portrait of Los Cenzontles’ cultural work with immigrant families. Vivir (To Live) is broadcast on Public Television later that year.

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2008

California Migrant Education

California Migrant Education

Los Cenzontles initiates a partnership with California Migrant Education to provide cultural arts workshops statewide.

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2008

Songs of Wood and Steel

Songs of Wood and Steel

Los Cenzontles release Songs of Wood & Steel, an album of music blending traditional, popular and original music. It is Los Cenzontles’s first full album collaborating with David Hidalgo.

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2008

Fundraiser at Los Cenzontles with Taj Mahal, Linda Ronstadt and Los Lobos

2009

Los Cenzontles at the Hollywood Bowl

Los Cenzontles at the Hollywood Bowl

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

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2009

American Horizon

American Horizon

Los Cenzontles release American Horizon, an album of original Mexican and African American music in collaboration with David Hidalgo and Taj Mahal and funded by the Creative Work Fund.

2010

San Patricio

San Patricio

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

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2010

Los Cenzontles tour in the United Kingdom

Los Cenzontles tour in the United Kingdom

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

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2010

Roots of Resilience

Roots of Resilience

Los Cenzontles initiates the Roots of Resilience video short series.

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2010

This is How We Work

This is How We Work

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

Soy Mexico Americano

Premiere of Soy Mexico Americano (I’m Mexican American).

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2010

Los Cenzontles with the Chieftans

Los Cenzontles with the Chieftans

Los Cenzontles perform with the Chieftains in various California cities.

2010

Raza de Oro

Raza de Oro

Los Cenzontles release Raza de Oro, an album of traditional, popular and original music. 

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2010

Estado de Vergüenza

Estado de Vergüenza

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

Good Morning Aztlan

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

2011

Folk Art in Motion Fashion Show

Linda Ronstadt hosts the Folk Art in Motion Fashion Show in which Los Cenzontles presents the handmade costumes used by the group and made by Marie-Astrid Do-Rodriguez and France Do.

2011

La Pelota & Valor Latino

La Pelota & Valor Latino

Los Cenzontles releases singles La Pelota and Valor Latino, as part of the VALOR LATINO project to promote Latino cultural pride, educational engagement, consumer awareness, and civic action. Los Cenzontles initiates a program of cultural consultation to encourage other communities to engage the Latino immigrant community.

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2011

Keynote speech by Eugene Rodriguez and Linda Ronstadt with David Hidalgo

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.

2011

Los Cenzontles in the Dominican Republic

Los Cenzontles in the Dominican Republic

Los Cenzontles tours the Dominican Republic sponsored by the US State Department. We performed three concerts in three cities: Santo Domingo, San Pedro de Macoris and Santiago. Plus we did three outreach events. The concerts were in celebration of the Fourth of July with dignitaries including Ambassador Raul Yasguirre and…

2011

Our first summer camp

Our first summer camp

Academy launches its first two-week summer camp. All students participate in dance, arts & crafts, and music classes each day, ending the camp with a performance for the families.

2012

Los Cenzontles in Hawaii

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

2012

The Silence

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

2012

Dia de los Muertos

Dia de los Muertos

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

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2012

Old School LP – Puro Jam

Old School LP – Puro Jam

Los Cenzontles release their first LP, Puro Jam, with David Hidalgo.

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2012

Regeneration

Regeneration

Los Cenzontles release Regeneration, an album bringing together Latino roots music and sounds from the late 60’s and early 70’s in celebration of the Latinization of The United States.  

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2013

Our home gets bigger

Our home gets bigger

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

United States Oliver Fellowship

United States Oliver Fellowship

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

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2013

Party at the Craneway

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

2013

American Roulette EP

Los Cenzontles release the EP American Roulette featuring “American Roulette,” “Cortez the Killer” (with David Hidalgo), “Invisible Man,” “No Tortillas” and “El Mexicano.”  

2014

La Mula y el Arriero

2014

A Pair of Brown Eyes

Los Cenzontles release a mariachi version of Shane Macgowan’s “A Pair of Brown Eyes”. The music video was directed by Tudor Stanley.

2014

Tata’s Gift

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.

2014

Los Cenzontles Juvenil at the Oakland Museum

Los Cenzontles Juvenil at the Oakland Museum

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

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2015

The Dreamer

Los Cenzontles and Jackson Browne release “The Dreamer”, song and music video highlighting the plight of DACA youth. The music video directed by Mark Kohr, follows the lives of our neighborhood youth, who’s stories are depicted through the music.

2015

La Sarna – Los Cenzontles Juvenil

Los Cenzontles Juvenil record La Sarna, a song in the style of son jarocho.

2015

Los Cenzontles Huapango Benefit

Academy students and their families organize a huapango fundraiser for Los Cenzontles in Marin City.

2016

Covers

Covers

Los Cenzontles release Covers, an album of classic rock songs with Latin American instruments and rhythms on CD and Vinyl. Features compositions by Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Joni Mitchell, Randy Newman, ELO, Jimi Hendrix, The Killers, Robert Palmer, The Pogues & Sixto Rodríguez. Buy your CD here!/button]

2016

My Father’s Accordion

Los Cenzontles record with Flaco Jimenez & Max Baca at Los Cenzontles Studios.

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2017

Convivencia de Grupos de Arpa Grande

Convivencia de Grupos de Arpa Grande, Modesto, 2017 is released, sharing a two-hour concert video featuring six Modesto based groups performing in the Arpa Grande tradition from the Tierra Caliente region of Michoacan. The video already has enjoyed nearly 1 million views on YouTube, and even more views on Facebook….

2017

Carta Jugada

Carta Jugada

Los Cenzontles release Carta Jugada, a collaborative album of classic songs with San Antonio-based Los Texmaniacs and accordion legend Flaco Jiménez.

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2017

La Manta – Los Cenzontles Juvenil

Los Cenzontles Juvenil film La Manta, a lively and colorful traditional son Jarocho from Veracruz, Mexico.

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2017

Noche de P’urhépecha

Master folk artist Atilano Lopez Patricio from Jaracuara, Michoacan, with whom Los Cenzontles have collaborated since 2000, joined us for a full week, and Los Cenzontles presented a performance of unique and beautiful pirekuas and sones abajeños in the traditional style of the P’urhépecha people, native to the Mexican state…

2018

Covers 2

Covers 2

Los Cenzontles release a new album of cover songs – Covers 2 – Infusing Latin sounds into classic American rock songs.

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2018

Los Cenzontles and SF Jazz

Los Cenzontles perform with Preservation Hall Jazz Band at SFJAZZ, blending the music of Mexico and New Orleans live on stage.

2018

Con Mucho Sentimiento

Con Mucho Sentimiento

Los Cenzontles Juvenil release their album Con Mucho Sentimiento, recorded and produced at Los Cenzontles Studio, and perform their album release show.

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2018

A La Mar

A La Mar

Los Cenzontles release A La Mar, an album reconnecting early European and Mexican Roots, created in collaboration with Shira Kammen.

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2018

Alma P’urhépecha

Alma P’urhépecha

Release of musical album Alma P’urhépecha with maestro Atilano López Patricio. Features pirekuas and sones abajeños of Indigenous Michoacán.

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2018

Los Cenzontles in New Orleans, Louisiana

Los Cenzontles in New Orleans, Louisiana

For one week in December, 2018, Los Cenzontles was hosted by the famous New Orleans institution, Preservation Hall, as their artist-in-residence. Documenting the week-long collaboration with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, as well as other local arts and culture organizations, was filmmaker James Hall. James edited the wonderful photomontage video…

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2019

Los Cenzontles in the State Capital

Los Cenzontles in the State Capital

Los Cenzontles performs on the steps of the State Capitol in Sacramento at California Governor Gavin Newsom’s Inauguration.

2019

Los Cenzontles on the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage

Los Cenzontles on the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage

Los Cenzontles performed on the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage and at the Library of Congress with support from the American Folklife Center. It was a wonderful recognition of our 30 years of promoting Mexican traditions.

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2019

Los Cenzontles in Sonora, Mexico

Los Cenzontles in Sonora, Mexico

The Los Cenzontles Touring Band and 17 academy students traveled with Linda Ronstadt, Jackson Browne, and a documentary film crew, to the Rio Sonora Valley in Sonora, Mexico, to perform a variety of traditional Mexican music in the pueblos of Banamichi and Arizpe.  The Sunday edition of the L.A. Times…

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2020

Puntos de Vida (Threads of Life)

Puntos de Vida (Threads of Life)

Marie-Astrid Do-Rodriguez and two of her advanced jewelry/art students, Joeceline Garcia and Isabel Reyes, travel to various Mayan villages in Yucatan to learn traditional weaving practices. They each take a camera to document their journey, later edited by James Hall into award-winning documentary, Puntos de Vida.

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2020

Front Porch Sessions, Backyard Sessions and El Colas

Los Cenzontles produces a series of video projects from the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. Videos highlight our students and artist community. Backyard Sessions Front Porch Sessions El Colas  

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2020

Linda and the Mockingbirds hits the BIG SCREEN!

Linda and the Mockingbirds hits the BIG SCREEN!

Linda and the Mockingbirds airs on HBO!

2020

Dia de los Muertos: Living Altars

Dia de los Muertos: Living Altars

In place of our annual in-person event, Los Cenzontles produces Living Altars, a short film in which artists Marie-Astrid Do-Rodriguez and Eli Reyes present altars that they wear on their body. They describe how their altars connect to their grieving and healing process.

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2021

Joy in Music

Joy in Music

Los Cenzontles produces Joy in Music, a short music documentary that shows the transference of arts practice across generations. The film celebrates resilience and growth among young people.

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2021

Celebrando la Cultura

Celebrando la Cultura

Los Cenzontles partners with the Watsonville Film Festival and the McEvoy Foundation for the Arts to produce a 3-part hybrid event including a virtual film festival of 8 Los Cenzontles productions, a panel discussion with the filmmakers, and a live music event at the Watsonville City Plaza.

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2021

Fashion & Cultura

Fashion & Cultura

Los Cenzontles launches its first photostory-blog in which academy student Joeceline Garcia shares how she interacts with fashion to express her cultural pride. Check out the our Fashion & Cultura blog post!

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2021

Juntos a la Distancia

Juntos a la Distancia

Juntos a la Distancia is a collection of songs recorded during the first 18 months of the Covid-19 pandemic. It is a symbol of how music brings connection, consolation, and comfort.

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2022

Sustaining our Mission – Fundraiser with Los Lobos

Los Cenzontles hosted a fundraiser-birthday event, celebrating Executive Director Eugene Rodriguez’s 60th birthday with great music and community care. Los Cenzontles started the event with traditional son Jarocho, and were followed by the legendary Chicano rock band, Los Lobos. Taj Mahal, Pete Sears, La Marisoul and Los Cenzontles joined Los…

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2022

P’urhépecha Uékani

P’urhépecha Uékani

Los Cenzontles release P’urhépecha Uékani, a short documentary depicting two young singers visiting their elder maestro in his Indigenous Mexican pueblo. Fabiola Trujillo and Lucina Rodriguez, of Mexican American roots group Los Cenzontles, began studying traditional P’urhépecha music with Atilano López Patricio at their cultural arts academy in San Pablo,…

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