Mariachi Buenaventura / Santa Fe

Joanna Alvarez Reyes: My name is Joanna Alvarez Reyes. We are Mariachi Buenaventura, we’ve been playing in this group 10, almost 11 years now. In September or October I think it will be.

Nishka Gonzales: and I’ve been playing violin for about 15 years and playing with them for about 9….10 years. [Laughing] that’s a long time.

Vanessa Rivera: My name is Vanessa Rivera, I play Guitarron, and have been in the group since the beginning.

Nishka: “in the beginning” [Laughing].

Vanessa: I’m one of the originals, O.G.

Nishka: I’m pretty O.G.

Vanessa: Yeah [Laughing].

Joanna: It’s a funny story how we all started because a long time ago like a lot of us that first started the group, we came from other youth groups here in Santa Fe, some of them kind of like spin off groups from high school groups. Like community groups. So we were all in that for a while and then me and another girl left the group and were trying to start an all-female Mariachi. And it was really hard in the beginning because we couldn’t find enough girls that played or were willing to really be in the band. Like we had a lot of people who would come and wouldn’t show up again, and disappear. It was just hard. And like the guy that was helping us out, he was supposed to be like our director. After a while he … was just like “you guys just need to add boys, or guys, in the group, because it’s not working, we’ll just mix it and whatever.” So we’re like “okay, fine.” So we had some guys for a while…I was playing guitar and the two other girls that were with me they were doing violin. So we were still missing at least a Vihuela, a guitarron, and a trumpet. And we couldn’t find enough girls. So anyways, we got the two guys in the group and that was working out for a little while. We were just starting to get known. We even had a couple little restaurant gigs we were going to on a regular basis. And then one night, the guy who was playing the bass, the guitarron, him and the other violin player got into a little argument and stuff, and he was just like all bugged. And he calls me up that night and he’s like, “I’m gonna quit.” and I was like “shut up” and he was like “no yeah I’m not coming back tomorrow”. I was like “seriously?”  And we have a few gigs still lined up you know, and I was like “oh my God what am I gonna do?” …and him and the guy that played vihuela they were the only guys in the group. We had found other girls to join so it was a bunch of girls and two guys. And so he was like “I don’t know, but I know a girl from Pecos that plays bass. And maybe she can help you out.” I can give you her number later on or whatever, blah blah blah.” I was like “awe great, okay.”

So then we call the other guy that is the vihuela and we say “Joe just quite.”

And he’s like “Don’t lie, he’ll be back”,

And I’m like “No, he really quite.”

And he’s like “What are you guys going to do?”

“We’re gonna try to find somebody who plays bass. He said he knew somebody he can introduce us too.”

And he’s like: “Who that girl?”

And I was like: “well yeah”.

And he says: “I don’t want to be the only guy. If you get that girl I’m gonna quite too.”

And we knew another friend named James and we’re like: “There’s another guy that’s an option, we could ask him.”  

He’s like: “Well if you get him I’ll stay, but if you get that girl I’m not staying. And we’re like “okay”….

So then me and the other girl were thinking… Should we just call James and tell him to join our group? Because he lives here in Santa Fe, and this girl we didn’t know yet, she lived up in Pecos….Well we could just tell him that we tried getting the guy, and then maybe we’ll get him to leave. And we could still start our original plan which was to have an all-female Mariachi. Because the bass is actually what we were missing in the first place.

He lived up in Pecos also, so we went up [to see our vihuela player] there and we’re like: “Oh man, we’re sorry. We tried getting James but he won’t do it” or whatever.

And he’s like: “Well, okay then I don’t want to be the only guy, I don’t want to do it.”

We’re like: “Okay, shoot” you know [Laughing]. So he left the group and then we called the [other] guy that left, the other bass player, and we’re like: “Okay can you give us the number of the girl you said you knew?”

He’s like: “I don’t know her number.”

And we’re like: “What are you talking about?” And he’s like “I don’t how to get a hold of her.” and we’re like, “You told us you did!”

And he’s like: “The only thing I know about is that she works at Dairy Queen.”

So there I am in the phone book looking for all the Diary Queens I can find, you know before everybody in the world had smart phones we all had flip hones…. otherwise I could’ve just googled it or just something… so I find the one Dairy Queen, I call. And sure enough she answers the phone, Vanessa….so I start telling her the whole bit…we’re trying to start a whole girl group and this and this, and she thought a friend was playing a joke on her. She didn’t really believe me at first.”

Vanessa: Yeah. It’s because she was inviting me to join a group. And I had just moved from Utah. I’m Hispanic but I’d never heard Mariachi; I didn’t know you could take it as a class; I didn’t like the Guitarron, I played Bass. I didn’t like that you had to carry it. So when she called I was like “uh, what?” [Laughing]

Joanna: So after that, we asked if we could go pick her up one day from Pecos and bring her back to Santa Fe to practice with her. She said yeah, so me and the other girl went and picked her up and brought her back to Santa Fe. But at the time Vanessa was just starting on the Guitarron and just knew like 8 songs tops.

Vanessa: I could read music fine. I just didn’t know the style. I didn’t know the patterns. Pero…

Joanna: And then to at least fill an hour it takes at least like 16, 17 songs. And then of course everyone expects a Mariachi to be like a juke box. So they ask for requests…..So she came and we were like: “Shoot, well we’ll just play what you know, and then we’ll take your stand around with us with your music and then you can use your music stand so you can play with it.”…

Vanessa: The first gig we did was with Rachel remember?…Good thing it was a huge venue because I repeated the same 8 songs for whole, what?, 5 hours. [Laughing]

Joanna: Well see we got lucky because the guys, when they quit, they left us hanging with a two hour gig. And luckily that the gig we were supposed to do was for a wedding. And the place was in a huge hall. Super loud….So we get there, and lucky enough it’s so loud and so big we played the same 8 songs that she knew in all different sections and no body snapped so we got through it and were like: “yes!” So it was okay, you know. We were all, all of us, super nervous in the beginning. We were like: “crap we don’t have enough songs, we don’t know what we’re gonna do.”  Like lucky enough it was that big, nobody really snapped there was too much commotion. So like it worked out. And I mean after that that’s how it started.

Vanessa: May I just say, that gig embarrassed me so much. It inspired me to get super awesome from 0 to 10 in a few months. It was embarrassing….I had never heard [the songs].  I didn’t know what a Mariachi was. I didn’t know what it consisted of.

Nishka: Even STILL we don’t know songs, or there are song we’ve never heard. It’s insane.

Vanessa: Yeah but it’s different when you know nothing about it.

Nishka: Over time it was someone who knew someone type of thing.

Joanna: Like here at the restaurant we play the three of us because it’s kind of small and that’s what the owner wanted. He just wanted a small group of people. On Tuesdays at Tomasita’s there’s like 7 of us that go. And our large group there’s ten of us in total. Most of the time when we’re doing gig on the weekends and stuff there’s anywhere from 5-7 of us….

We do it to break up the group a little bit too. Like if people don’t want a big ol’ band they can get like a trio, like us, or like a quartet, or the whole shebang. I mean that’s kind of how we do it. And I mean as far as goals or like what we’ve continued to do is like, back then it was just a matter of trying to get tight enough to be like a good group finally. A tight and like solid group. And now after like ten years, it’s just mostly everybody is trying to…we…I don’t know….I wouldn’t compare myself to say, the great Mariachis, like Mariachi Vargas or something like that, but that’s kind of what we strive for. Something bigger like that.

Vanessa: You know I think our energy helps a lot. Because we have played with actually Mariachi Vargas and opened for them. And although we know, technically they are better than we are, locally whatever, instrument wise they are better than we are, the people from here were telling us, “you guys, they opened for you!” [Laughing], we’re like “oh my gosh”.

Joanna:…they are like the king of Mariachis… I guess we have pretty good energy cuz people are always “oh you did [a good job].” And sometimes it freaks me out how they’ll be like, we could be playing with a larger group or more you know crazy groups and they’ll be like “oh you guys did just as great” or “you were better.”

Nishka: And we got on stage shaking we’re so scared.

Joanna: And I’m like “are you biased? or from New Mexico or something?” [laughing] but I don’t know. That’s kinda what we try and strive for. We see those types of groups and that’s kinda the direction we try and head in.

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When we first started, and we still use it today, we’re Buenaventura, Santa Fe’s first all-female Mariachi. And so we’ve always tagged that to ourselves. And that’s kind of helped us out. I do remember we did, just this past December, a Christmas concert and we were all done and stuff, and some little old lady, she stops me and she said “oh you guys did great” and I said “thank you!” and she said “you guys are the pride of Santa Fe” or something like that. So..I mean..there are a lot of people who do snap to us when we’re just around town or something.

Nishka: And we do get work out of town, surprisingly, quite often.

Joanna: In Santa Fe, I mean we’re not like all massive famous or whatever, but we do get recognized quite a bit. Like “oh you’re that Mariachi girl” or “oh you play Mariachi.”

Vanessa: Even in Pajamas. Joanna went out to eat with me one day after working out and they recognized us, like oh my gosh. [Laughing]

Nishka: What I think it is is that Santa Fe is so small and everybody knows everybody. They’re not looking at us like were famous or anything, but it’s more like a family thing. Like “oh I know her, she played at my….sister’s wedding, brother’s….birthday” so everybody just kind of knows us.

Vanessa: It didn’t start out that way. Do you remember Jo?…Because we were all female, people were a little sketchy… I mean correct me if I’m wrong Jo, I do have one of them meanest gritos…this side of the Pecos [Laughing] no I’m just kidding.

Joanna: In the beginning too, like how I told you how our groups all formed, spin off of high school groups. A lot of us here in town that still have groups, we all started in the same youth groups and school groups and now some of them play with older groups or they started their own new ones. And I remember at the beginning it was just us girls, there were a few other girls who were like….. I don’t think they were threatened by us, but we don’t even know how they became kind of like rival groups in the beginning. I mean not now, not today.

Nishka: Now we all play with each other.

Joanna: But before they were kind of like funny with us or like …idk….especially one group here in town they used to kind of give us a lot of grief about a lot of things.

Vanessa: They used to call us the “Cumbia Queens”.

Joanna: Yeah they used to call us the Cumbia Queens because we do… mean to this day we do have big repertoire of cumbias. But we used play them because people really liked them. We’d go to a party and they would be like “play the cumbia we want to dance” or something. So we did a bunch, you know what I mean.

Nishka: Or like, “play Selena We want to DANCE”

Joanna: And this other particular group I mean at the time they were doing a lot of advanced stuff like real harder things and things like that. But like if you asked the people, who they liked better, they would say us. You know what I mean. And it’d be like well, maybe you guys are doing your hard crazy stuff but they seem to like what we’re doing so whatever you know. But yeah.

Nishka: The fact of the matter is, I almost joined that group.

Joanna: Before she joined this group.

Nishka: Yeah because. I was in the youth group and it was getting too…plain for me. They weren’t learning fast and I know all the songs and I’m bored you know. And then all of the sudden it was like…well my friend played with the youth group with me but she played with like 4 other Mariachis, Cynthia, one of the other violinist. And yeah she head that I was going over there. I went over for one practice and next day I started school and she was like: “no, no, no. come to our practice.” She’s like “I’ll have my mom call your mom”.

Joanna: We were only like 14 at the time…..I was 21 when I started at the time.

Vanessa: I was 17.

Nishka: I was 11…when I started Mariachi in general.

Joanna: I was 21, the girl that was forming it with me, she stayed in the group for the first three years, then she left. She moved away to New York…I was 21 and she was 19 when we were forming it. And then Vanessa was 17, she was barely gonna graduate. Her other girl was also 17 who played the violin. And then Cynthia was 13 when I met her and then Nishka was 14. And that was already almost 11 years ago.

Vanessa: And they’re all still in the group.

Joanna: I’m from Santa Fe

Nishka: I mean I’ve lived here 15 years so…

Vanessa: We do have 2 girls from Chihuahua, Mexico…

Joanna(to Vanessa): You’re from New Mexico but you went to Utah and then came back right?… everybody else is from New Mexico just like the other two girls that we have are from Chihuahua, Mexico.

Vanessa: …we do for the most part, all have daughters, so…

Nishka: It’s gonna be a dynasty. I think it will happen.

Joanna: Like some people also ask us like are we an organization? Do we teach kids? Or do we have recruits waiting to come in, do we hold auditions to the public?

Nishka: And the reality is that we’re a bunch of friends

Joanna: Or like I’ve been asked stuff like that. Or like do you have auditions. Or people will come up and be like “oh my daughter loves to sing, how can she get into your group?” and it’s like…well uh… here’s the thing… [Laughing] even though we’re not necessarily…I have to tell people like we’re not a community or we’re not like a school group. Or an organizations or anything. We’re just a professional Mariachi, female Mariachi. So we don’t technically bring people into the group only if say like if we were to lose or get rid of a member, then we would probably have to replace that person or whatever… but yeah she [Nishka] actually does give violin lessons to kids but as far as us go we’re not like part of a school or organizations. That’s what I have to tell people because sometimes they think like “oh my daughter sings, and wants to be part of your group” and I’m like “oh well ..no” [Laughing]. It’s a professional Mariachi.

Joanna: Because when you see a bunch of guys out playing at a restaurant or at a gig or whatever, they never get the same questions when they do anything like that. I think it is because we’re all female, people just think we’re just part of a community thing or whatever and I’m like “no”….We’ve been asked stuff like that it’s funny, are you part of a school? You part of a church?

Nishka: We’re like do we look like we’re in school?

Vanessa: Some lady asked if we were a high school group….Yeah we are. Yes we are. Thank you very much. [Laughing]…

Nishka: I’ve been asked that several times.

Vanessa: We’ve gotten funky questions. They asked if one time we were dancers. I’m a little voluptuous to be spinning on my toes but yeah [Laughing].  

Joanna & Nishka: Oh we get that all the time!

Joanna: But like we’re just running into the store or whatever and we’re like all dressed and things like that, so where are you dancing? Are you dancers?

Nishka: When we’re holding our instruments [Laughing], they feel bad.

Vanessa: One lady remember, it was September she asked, “Is it Cinco de Mayo?” [Laughing]

Joanna: We’re like uhhhh…no [Laughing]

Nishka: Or they’re like look it’s Cinco de Mayo the mariachis are out.

Vanessa: They called us flamingos.

Joanna: ..For the most part, people will come to us, yeah they called us flamingos once…for the most part people will come up to us and be like “where are you playing? Did you just finish playing?” and we’ll be like “oh yeah, we got to go do a private event” or “we’re gonna be downtown” or whatever. But sometimes we do get those funny questions. Like one lady just came up and was like, “I love your costume, what are you?” And I’m like “Well, I’m a Mariachi”. But like I guess it surprises me sometimes how many people in SF don’t recognize that. I guess it’s not SUPER traditional without the conchas on the side, so maybe they don’t snap as much but…the guys are like “what are you doing? Are you going to dance or what?” and I’m like “no, Mariachi”.

Nishka: They do look a little like the dancers that the men wear.

….

Vanessa: Kids flock to us too. We always just let them touch our instruments, play with them, bang them. I think too because we are most of us, mothers. We’re used to it. So people are like “I’m so sorry” I’m like “it’s okay, my instrument has taken a beating.”

Joanna: I don’t know if it’s just cuz we’re all women or whatever, but we do get some funny, either funny questions or funny reactions or whatever. Especially from guy Mariachis.

Nishka: We get good and bad reactions.

Joanna: Some of them are like awesome! Cool! Others ones are kind of like…lame…

Nishka: Some of them think we suck just because we’re not like…male.

Nishka: Yeah it’s something psychological…sorry [Laughing]. No offense….Well it’s just cuz it’s such a male dominated thing that they start to get all hot headed about it.

Joanna: Yeah [Laughing].

Vanessa: It is intimidating, I remember too, I don’t know if you remember it…

Nishka: Some guy tried to tell me that Emily couldn’t play trumpet as well because she’s female.

Vanessa: Yeah but she’s awesome. Our trumpeter, her daughter too, super awesome….Men get intimidated. There were two boys that played bass with me, and I hadn’t even played that long. And they told the director of the Mariachi – I hadn’t even joined the group! I stayed in the practice room the whole time – if I was gonna play they were gonna quit. And one of them was the main singer. I didn’t speak Spanish, I couldn’t sing at the time, so of course I wasn’t gonna sing…so no one was advocating for me but, yeah…..

Joanna: It kinda chilled out more than it used to be. But when we first started the group everybody used to give us…crap. [Laughing]. Not really anymore; here and there but…

Nishka: [Mariachi] is super international. There’s people in China, Japan…

Vanessa: You know, just like math, doesn’t have a language, and as long as you’re just contributing and learning, developing the technique, cuz it is different it’s not the same…

Nishka: And even though the music is all migrated to Mexico in these weird ways that I don’t really know how to explain to you, but it comes from Mexico right? But there’s people in…Lima Peru, there’s groups everywhere! When we went to Spain there were Mariachi groups, Japanese [groups], they are awesome! It doesn’t matter. and that’s why sometimes I feel like some Mariachis get shut down, not all, the whole group, but personally they feel like you need to be Mexican to understand it but I just really don’t see that. It’s just music and it’s the love for it….yeah cuz people have come up to me and “you’re not Mexican. Why? How? What?” and it’s like whoa! Okay! [Laughing] Chill out! [Laughing] I love it! I couldn’t stop staring the first time I saw Mariachi. I was on the edge of my chair at the concert. It was at the opera when I was young, like 9. I was already a violinist for a little. I was 9 or 10 years old when I first saw Mariachi.

Nishka: Yeah the people in Spain even seriously thought we all needed to be Mexican.

Joanna: It’ funny.  There were a few Mariachis there when we went to Madrid. They were playing the plazas and stuff like that. A lot of the people thought, well Madrid is such a big city there’s people from like South American countries and stuff so everybody’s from Peru or somewhere else, something like that. And then one guy came up to us and asked us. He said “you guys are great!” and he put some money in [our tips]. Well of course in Spanish. But he was like “you guys are great that was awesome” and this and this and he’s like “where are you from?” And I was like “New Mexico” and he was like “New Mexico? Where’s that? In Mexico?” and I was like “no it’s New Mexico.” I told him “it’s actually not in Mexico its part of the United States” and he said “what! You’re a bunch of imposters!” and he took off all mad….

Nishka: And so we all pretended we were Mexican after that.

Joanna: We were like whatever we’re just tell everybody we’re from Mexico and it’ll be fine. I mean anyways we all spoke Spanish so…..It’s funny how a lot of people from…as far as New Mexico goes and I know Texas, Arizona, California, Mariachi’s just part of it. You don’t find the difference. As far as I know. Since I was a kid I’ve seen it for as long as I can remember. I love Mariachi of course, but I never had that moment of like oh what is this?

Nishka: I guess before I was Mariachi I imagined the little Cinco de Mayo parties with the little fake maracas and sombreros but I didn’t…..

Nishka: Me neither. Yeah I guess I always thought it was something sort of…what they put in Party City and you can get Cinco de Mayo decorations.

Vanessa: With every sombrero you can get a free Mariachi! [Laughter]

Joanna: For me it was…I knew what it was, it was like a normal thing for me…

Nishka: Well I mean I was born in the United States but my dad’s side of the family is Spanish and my mom’s side is from the Czech Republic. She’s not from there but that’s where…[my name comes from]…So just, I’m European.

Joanna: To me, if anybody ever came up to me and said “Mexico’s not part of your culture.” I would have been like “Yes it is” I’ve known it my whole life so how could it not be? You would have to be from California, Arizona, Texas, New Mexico, to understand that it is part of the people here. That it’s not only Mexico it’s here too. It’s a big part.

…Cultural stuff is kind of funny here in New Mexico to me….say for example “you’re either Mexican or Hispanic” and to me a lot of the times I’m like “there’s not a big difference.”…I have a lot of family from California and they just consider themselves flat out Mexican. They don’t really find the difference. For them when they come to New Mexico they are like “you’re Mexican”. Here they make like a big deal out of trying to combine the difference. “I’m NEW MEXICAN, I’m Chicano, Hispanic or not Mexican”.

Vanessa: I always tell them if you smelt fresh tortillas when you came after school and your grandma’s Spanish and no English you’re Mexican. If you got hit with a sandal fly swatter or anything in sight, you’re Mexican….my sisters, they don’t speak a word of Spanish but…

Joanna: I mean technically I’m not a citizen of Mexico but I mean we’re all pretty much the same thing. Sometimes I even have trouble  identifying myself….like if I say I’m Mexican, even Mexican people will  be like well you’re not born in Mexico, you’re not from Mexico”.

Vanessa: Or your accent

Joanna: I guess I’m just New Mexican Chicana or something. What do you call us peeps that live here in Arizona, New Mexico and all these states?

Vanessa: we’re OTMs. Other than Mexicans [laughing]

Joanna: I was in Mexico this past December and my mother in law she has a big ol’ shelf of books and…Actually there was a book called Chicanos and I took it from there because it give a definition and talks about the whole history of Chicanos. And I was like “cool! Imma go read this and I’ll finally know what to call myself or whatever I am”.

When we started the group there were different reactions but people still kind of see us in a novelty and I think that brought us a lot of gigs.

Vanessa: I think too in the beginning it wasn’t all positive, but it was some of the negative that helped. Even just showing them up that we can do it…and just cuz we are all female it’s different, it’s nice. All dolled up. You know most people, men Mariachis are overweight, bellies sticking out, big ol’ mustaches.

Joanna: We’re not the typical vision of a Mariachi.

Vanessa: We got flowers, hair done, make up, glamorous. Dancing. Fun.

Joanna: I mean, each of these southern states kind has girl groups it’s just not as popular I guess because we still get a lot of people that come in here and are like  “I’ve never seen an all-female Mariachi. This is crazy.”

Vanessa: Or they are like minutes away from where we know of a few female Mariachis.

Joanna: [close to] some of the biggest female Mariachis…

Even just gender can make a whole different twist on the music itself, I guess.

Vanessa: Like I said like the comments it’s not always, like, sometimes it’s degrading. Sometimes it’s not “oh you guys are awesome” it’s “oh you guys are beautiful” “oh you guys are cute”. Oh yeah you got to listen to this.

Joanna: In the beginning too it was hard like a lot of the times even when it was me, I was trying to collect our payment after a gig or trying to talk to people or make a deal or whatever, people would think they had the rights to talk down to me or just use our group how they needed us. Like “oh it’s just those girls, we can get them to do this or that”. I used to think that they would never, say like the bigger groups in Albuquerque, the guy groups, they would probably never ever talk to them in that manner. We don’t get it as much now, because I guess it’s been a long time and I’ve learned a lot more. But in the beginning people used to just be kinda, think they could be like that with us.

Vanessa: Or not want to pay us. I remember we played at a grocery store…remember?

Joanna: Oh yeah, we played at a grocery store. And the general manager had hired us. And then he’s like “oh I’ll have your check within a few days” and we’re like “uh we’re supposed to have our payment today, what is this?” And then I had to call and call and call and call and we never got paid. And then I think the way he kind of made up for was a year passed and we remembered it and we were like “hey you never paid us, can you at least help us out with a fundraiser? We’re trying to sell food and stuff for a concert we’re having. Can you donate the food?” At least he was nice enough to donate all the stuff to make Frito pies or whatever…

Vanessa: And what sucked we gave up a father’s day to be there and like we could have been with our [families] you know?

Joanna: So Vanessa has a part-time job. She works at the Boys and Girls Club. And then me, as of now I don’t have any other job besides this but sometimes in the summer time when it’s good enough you can just make it on this.

Vanessa: Honestly, not even just summer. ..Just recently – I’ve only been there for three years, so 17 – 26 was only Mariachi. This was my first job ever….I mean I work 20 hours a week….I have a daughter…

Joanna: In the beginning that was always our goal. Let’s get so good and awesome at this that we don’t have to go out and do anything else. With time it does get hard and it weighs on you, and you’re just like oh my god I need money or bills or whatever and you have to get a second job to supplement it. Some of the other girls have their other jobs and stuff like that. But I think what’s helped us a lot is that there’s a few more groups in Santa Fe, and almost all of them have their other main jobs. And I’ve talked to them, and I think….I don’t if they believe in it as much – I mean I know they love the music and they love what they do and stuff, but I don’t think they believe that you can make it on this….

Vanessa: Sometimes you just have to sacrifice.

Joanna: You’ve got to. I mean sometimes when we don’t have no gig we go and make the gigs. We just go downtown and play for this, tips and stuff.

Vanessa: I remember, before children, when I was in high school and I didn’t have a car at that time, I used to spend the night at Joanna’s house for the weekends. You know Sunday would come we would finish the gigs, Monday would come, “I gotta get back to school, I gotta go home”. No, we’d go talk to restaurants. Tuesdays would come, and I would end up staying the whole week! It was already Friday again [laughing]….I used to build my schedule around Mariachi. Like if it was a class, I’d be like ” I can’t I have to play at Tomasitas” and then I even tried to join the Mariachi from Highlands and that was a no-go. I had [so many] gigs…even my senior prom I took a gig.

Joanna: I remember thinking back when I was younger I was in a community group…and our director had another job and stuff and he was talking to somebody else and they were like “well I had to get a side job” and he was like ” yeah you can’t really live off this, you do this you love it, it’s your passion and everything, but it’s not really.. Realistic.” I remember since then in my brain I was like I’m gonna make it realistic. Even some of the girls will say “I’m dying for money I gotta go pay this” and we’ll just go downtown for a while and play for tips or something and we’ll make enough and we’ll all separate the portion, and kinda just do stuff like that to keep it flowing you know? Cuz I mean if you just always constantly rely on the fact that somebody gonna constantly call…

Vanessa: Although fortunately we get a lot of gigs.  We stay steady.

Joanna: Yeah we stay really steady but you know you gotta pass out those cards, get yourself exposed all the time.

Vanessa: Something I do too, I remember the faces and the songs they want, I tell them “hello thanks for coming again”. The fact that you make is personal, they don’t mind giving you a tip for coming back. Aand honestly it’s nice. Like just a little while ago, I don’t know if you guys noticed, but we played a song. The mother and the daughter started tearing up. Like for me that’s like…they think I’m that great and awesome if they’re gonna cry. I mean something to them…and we’re having fun. We’re always having fun. It’s very rare where we don’t have a gig where we’re laughing.

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