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The Magic of Mariachi / La Magia del Mariachi
The Magic of Mariachi / La Magia del Mariachi

The Magic of Mariachi / La Magia del Mariachi


64 Pages, 12 x 9

Formats: EPUB, PDF, Mobipocket

PDF, $12.99 (US $12.99) (CA $15.99)

Publication Date: April 2016

ISBN 9781609405083

Rights: WOR

Wings Press (Apr 2016)


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The Magic of Mariachi / La Magia del Mariachi is a fascinating book that combines two disciplines – art and poetry – creating a treasure of lyrical poetry and strikingly beautiful paintings of mariachi musicians. The twenty four poems, written in English and skillfully translated into Spanish, were created in response to each of the twenty-four works of art in the book.


"The Magic of Mariachi / La Magia del Mariachi is an affirmation of life, personal resilience and cultural survival, documenting the power and the symbolism of mariachi music. Based on the actual history of this music and the factual lives of students and musicians who display their mariachi virtuosity and passions to an enchanted audience, the poems and artwork capture the sights, sounds, and emotions of this magical musical experience. This book is a valuable documentation of Mexican and Mexican-American culture along la frontera. Not just art and poetry, it is also history, and a re-claiming of blood, heritage and justicia. It is the heart of mariachi, and of the people who claim it con todo corazón." —Carmen Tafolla, Poet Laureate of Texas

"The Magic of Mariachi / La Magia del Mariachi is a delightful union of Steven Schneider’s vivid, poetic interpretations of his wife Reefka’s true to life paintings and drawings. Inspired by the couple’s encounters with mariachi performance throughout the Southwest, Steven’s narrations give context to Reefka’s images by exploring the music’s roots, its legends, heroes, and U.S. diaspora. The entire work is presented bilingually with a masterful Spanish translation by Edna Ochoa. If you love mariachi, art, and poetry, you’ll love this book!" —Jonathan Clark, mariachi historian; former director of the mariachi programs at San José State and Stanford universities

"Steven and Reefka Schneider have not only captured the magic, poetry and art of mariachi music, they have captured the essence of the Mexican/Chicano people, our cultura, historia of struggle and resistance, our romantic selves and soul." —Juan Tejeda, Tejano/Conjunto musician and Professor of Mexican American Studies & Music at Palo Alto College in San Antonio, Texas

"This is an enticing and bracing book from a vivid writer. Steven Schneider has great talent and a steady aim. Recommended." —Luís Alberto Urrea, Pulitzer Prize finalist, author of The Hummingbird’s Daughter


"The most powerful collaborations in The Magic of Mariachi are centered on (often marginalized) female musicians and singers. Reefka captures perfectly the bittersweet mix of struggle and elation in her subjects’ features and poses, and Steven composes straight from the heart with clear admiration for the women in mariachi . . . . Every poem and image in the book, frankly, is worth close exploration, rewarding multiple readings and viewings with fresh nuances and facets. An important addition to border culture and mariachi studies, The Magic of Mariachi / La magia del mariachi celebrates a vibrant, essential heritage and the people whose lives it enriches." —David Bowles, McAllen Monitor

"Twenty-four bilingual poems, observations, and essays are featured opposite soft-hued portraits of mariachi musicians. The large trim size invites an appreciative perusal of the myriad faces of musical passion . . . . This labor of love will nonetheless be welcomed by mariachi aficionados." —Mary Margaret Mercado, School Library Journal

"Lovely illustrations pair with lyrical poems in The Magic of Mariachi, an homage to the art and tradition of mariachi music. The poems come in all sorts of forms — haiku, free verse, rhyming, dramatic monologues — and are presented side-by-side in Spanish and English. 'He has sunk so deeply into the music/The air around him has turned indigo.' It will transport you. The Magic of Mariachi is about more than the music — it’s an elegant celebration of culture and history." —Jennifer Hiller, San Antonio Express-News

"The Magic of the Mariachi, La Magia del Mariachi, builds cultural, linguistic and artistic bridges. It celebrates the romantic past of this art form, holds up a mirror to the present day border issues, and looks optimistically towards the future. This important addition to American letters illustrates the beauty and the complexity of mariachi music and its contribution to our national identity. With such stunning portraits and beautiful poetry, it’s impossible not to fall in love with both the light and the shadow of the music and the people expertly captured in this collection." —Katherine Hoerth, Tupelo Review

Author Biography

Reefka Schneider is one of the foremost artists of “la frontera,” the binational region of the Rio Grande Valley. She is co-creator of the highly acclaimed traveling exhibit Borderlines: Drawing Border Lives / Fronteras: dibujando las vidas fronterizas, published as a book by Wings Press in 2010. Steven P. Schneider is professor of Creative Writing and Literature and Cultural Studies at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. He is co-creator with his artist wife Reefka of the traveling exhibit and book Borderlines.