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MARIACHI HIGH presents a year in the life of top-ranked members of Zapata High Schools championship ensemble Mariachi Halcon in the South Texas border town. This is an exuberant coming-of-age documentary about the brightest, most driven and talented Mexican American teenagers never seen on screen. Part of the 2012 PBS Summer Arts Festival.
Zapata, Texas (population 5089) is a small Texas town on the Rio Grande, 200 miles south of San Antonio and 400 miles southwest of Houston. The population is 95% Latino, and, interestingly, boasts the most hangliding world records in the world. The visual tour starts here.
Alma Llanera, sung by Eloy Martinez in Mariachi High, is a famous mariachi song written in 1914. Recorded by many vocalists including Placido Domingo, it’s considered the unofficial “second anthem” of Venezuela, and is often sung at parties and social gatherings. Sing along with Eloy and Mariachi Halcon as the lyrics come up on the screen.
Tex meets Mex at the annual Zapata County Fair, where the town shows off its rural heart. Mariachi students Eloy Martinez and Jennifer Santos demonstrate another extracurricular side as they participate in the Future Farmers of America auction, selling their hand-raised farm animals to the highest bidder.
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