East Boston’s own Veronica Robles, a celebrated Mariachi singer and founder of the Veronica Robles Cultural Center on Meridian Street, will be performing virtually as part of the Global Roots Series hosted by Club Passim.
Robles, and her All Female Mariachi Band, will stream live for Club Passim on Monday, November 23 at 7:00 pm. Robles’s Global Roots Series performance celebrates Boston’s diverse international community. The performance will be streamed on Passim.org as well as Passim’s Facebook and YouTube pages. The concert is free, but viewers are asked to make a contribution to Club Passim, an interactive live musical non-profit in Harvard Square.
Robles is a Mariachi singer by trade, but has become a cultural icon for Latinos in Boston. She has effectively utilized the power of arts and culture to bring the community together by raising awareness on the importance of diversity and she has empowered youth by employing them and teaching them about their roots and culture.
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.
Last 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.
“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.
Robles has been giving back to her community since arriving from Mexico in the 1990s and 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.