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Sound and the Fury

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A week on the scene

Mariachi showdown

At their 10th annual extravaganza held over the weekend, Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán played the part of 'celebrity judge' in selecting the best mariachi ensembles and singers from all over the state. Saturday evening competition winners - including the amazingly talented Monica Martinez from Our Lady of the Lake University, who was named best mariachi vocalist - had the honor of opening for Mariachi Vargas at their concert. In a night full of classic and new tunes, including several crowd-pleasing medleys, the biggest surprise came when the renowned Vicki Carr, a legend in her own right, gave an impromptu performance of "Si Nos Dejan" which brought the audience to its collective feet.

Mariachi Vargas will return to San Antonio next December for their 11th annual visit; in the meantime fans can catch them in March, when they play at UT-Austin, or on one of their more than 60 recordings.

Lovely rita

Although she's considerably older than the woman pictured in the vintage Jax beer advertisements, over the course of nearly five decades since the pinnacle of her singing career, Rita Vidaurri has come out of the shadows and returned to the stage, with a voice that has aged as gracefully as she has.

At one time, Vidaurri shared a spotlight with Celia Cruz and captivated Cantinflas at the historical Teatro Nacional. Now, in her 80th year, she is belatedly releasing her first CD, La Calandria Canta. To celebrate, the Esperanza Center (922 San Pedro) is hosting a release party and concert in honor of Vidaurri on Saturday, December 11, starting at 8 p.m.

Compiled by Alejandro Pérez


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