Award winning performer and East Boston community leader Veronica Robles and her all-female Mariachi band recorded a performance in East Boston for an upcoming virtual benefit for Boston Harbor Now’s Our Harbor, Our Home. The virtual event will be held on Thursday, August 27 and streamed on YouTube.
Our Harbor, Our Home is a celebration of Boston’s waterfront and Harbor Islands and the unique virtual experience will treat viewers to an exciting program highlighting the work of Boston Harbor Now.
Sponsors will enjoy a gourmet meal delivered to their home the day of the event along with a curated gift bag.
Funds raised through Our Harbor, Our Home will allow Boston Harbor Now to offer free and low cost access for underserved communities like Eastie to enjoy the Islands and waterfront, prepare for the impacts of climate change, and support Boston’s working port.
Robles, well known by her fans as La Mera, Mera or ‘The Real One,’ has been performing since she was very young and is recognized as the most authentic representative of Mexican music and culture in the New England region.
This summer Robles, through her East Boston based Veronica Robles Cultural Center, began a new project that is breaking down cultural barriers and empowering women through music.
“This year, I made a big investment bringing five female mariachi musicians from Mexico to kick off my project ‘Veronica Robles All Women Mariachi,’” said Robles. “It is an honor to have all these amazing ladies playing with me as part of my project presenting the first ever all woman mariachi band in New England.”
It was in Mexico City’s Plaza Garibaldi, the cradle of Mariachi music, where Robles was introduced to Mariachi music as a teen. So it was here she tapped five Mexican nationals to be part of her project.
Through a cultural grant from the City of Boston and raising money through a GoFundMe page Robles invested roughly $13,000 in legal fees, flight tickets, food, lodging and a stipend for the musicians to bring her dream of an all-female mariachi band to the region.
With national anti-immigrant rhetoric being spewed constantly by conservatives, Robles hopes seeing an all female Mexican band performing songs that many people recognize will bring communities together through music.
Robles has been giving back to her community since arriving from Mexico in the 1990s and later founded the Veronica Robles Cultural Center in Eastie. Parts of the cultural center are innovative and educational after-school programs where students ultimately perform in schools and community events that expose other youths and adults to new cultures and traditions.
“Culture empowers youth and makes our communities stronger has been my mantra,” she said.
In the long term, Robles hopes the all-female mariachi group will inspire more young girls to get involved in what has been historically a male-dominated musical scene.
“I hope someday I can open a mariachi music school and give youth the opportunity to learn the music and instruments within the mariachi genre like they would in other music schools,” she said.
To learn more about the upcoming virtual show visit https://www.bostonharbornow.org/ourharborourhome/.