CALEXICO – Dressed in formal attire, 15 young musicians from the Rondalla de Baja California created unforgettable music during a long-awaited recital at the Carmen Durazo Cultural Arts Center Friday evening, where couples of all ages reminisced about special moments.
The concert was sponsored by DEPO Productions in collaboration with the Calexico Arts Commissions, and attracted over 150 people.
The word “rondalla” is from the Spanish word ronda, meaning “serenade.” Rondallas were created in universities by students who wanted to serenade their girlfriends, but generally could not afford to hire mariachis or trios.
By gathering a few students who could sing and play different types of guitar, those enterprising students formed musical groups that they used to surprise their girlfriends in the middle of the night with beautiful romantic music.
Eventually, as the students began moving on to study at other universities, or moved to other states or countries, rondalla music became more diverse and began to include songs from the United States such as “My Way, Angel Baby,” and “Rhythm of the Rain,” among many other.
“When I was dating my husband over years ago, he serenaded me with a rondalla,” said Lupita Torres, a Mexicali resident. “I remember walking out of my door and there was a group of young men dressed in white suites singing like the angels. It was the most romantic experience I have ever lived. This music is truly beautiful.”
The Rondalla de Baja California group was created in 1979 in Mexicali, Baja California by a group of young music lovers and enthusiasts, and has 50 members.
“The group currently has 35 years of experience and six generations of talented members,” explained Pedro Mauricio Fernandez, director of the Rondalla de Baja California “To be a part of this group, you must be a student or young college graduate, know how to play a guitar and sing. We promote education because we want our members to have a bright future.”
The group has participated in “Recitals de Rondallas” in numerous states of Mexico such as Durango, Tecate, Oaxaca, Colima as well as in Sacramento, CA.
“I didn’t know what a rondalla was until one day during a visit to Guanajuato, Mexico, a group of friends took me to see one and I loved it,” said Rosie Fernandez, a Calexico resident. “People don’t understand how beautiful this music is. Listening to it brings out so many feelings and love. It’s excellent.”
DEPO Productions owner Luis Delgado said he wants to bring innovative music to the Imperial Valley, giving residents the opportunity to learn about other music genres.
“My intention is to motivate the community, especially the young generation, teaching about other music genres and cultures,” explained Delgado. “I’m very happy with the number of people who attended tonight. This motivates me to continue the efforts I began three years ago.”
Delgado anticipates featuring another concert with marimba music. The marimba is a percussion instrument consisting of a set of wooden bars struck with mallets to produce musical tones.