Meet Mariachi Arcoiris: L.A.'s First LGBTQ Mariachi Group

Los Angeles is home to the first ever LGBTQ mariachi group and we are totally here for it! 

In a recent interview with Billboard, members of the "rainbow" group passionately talked about their journey to becoming the first all-queer mariachi group. 

Known today as Mariachis Los Arcoiris de Los Angeles - which translates to The Rainbow Mariachi of Los Angeles - is a safe space  for people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer AND of course have a deep passion for music. 

The musical group was founded by Carlos Samaniego and Natalia Melendez, who is known as the first transgender female in the history of mariachis. In the Billboard article, the founders recall starting as a gig at a night club which eventually flourished into an "empowering musical movement".

Check out their group shot. I mean look how spiffy they all look, and the RAINBOWS! 


The idea to form a LGBTQ mariachi group came from Carlos. In his interview with Billboard, he mentions being fed up with the discrimination in the work field, and decided to give this idea a shot. Carlos was 19 years old when their first club gig happened. 

"The manager at that club owned a gay club and he offered us a job to perform there. We were very young, still in college, so we faded out after a couple of shows. About 10 years later, in 2014, we picked up the group again. We have a vision. This is our baby."

As the first transgender woman in mariachi, Natalia Melendez told Billboard that she wants to show the masses you can be a transgender woman and be successful.

"I took a lot of shots at the negativity and have a bigger vision now, to be visible and positive in people’s lives in general. Life is hard, but when you have a dream, you can be whatever you want."

The group takes great pride in being the first and only LGBTQ mariachi group. It is evident in their attire, especially their belts. Check out their traditional Mexican-styled belt, which has their name on the buckle in rainbow!


So inspiring and amazing! If you're looking forward to see them soon, you're chance is coming up very soon. Hispanic Heritage Month is here, and they have an upcoming show on September 15th at El Grito Festival in Los Angeles! 

If you're interested in knowing more about them, watch their interview with Fusion TV below:  


Photos: Instagram 

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