Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Music (MM)



First Advisor

Dr. Andrés R. Amado

Second Advisor

Dr. Susan Hurley-Glowa

Third Advisor

Dr. Margaret Dorsey


Since the 1990s, the popularity of all-female mariachis has grown in the United States. These ensembles push the boundaries, both socially and stylistically, of a genre which has traditionally disregarded female participation. In this thesis, I study two all-female mariachi groups in the Southwest in which I have participated: Mariachi Buenaventura from Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Mariachi Margaritas from Brownsville, Texas. These two groups struggle to establish their reputation and aspire towards equal recognition to their male counterparts on the basis of musicality. Based on musical analysis and ethnographic reflections, I argue that the mariachi tradition embodies patriarchal values that inhibit the formation of feminine mariachi identity. Even so, by challenging the masculine identity of mariachi music, female mariachis advance gender discourse in the tradition.


Copyright 2017 Erika J. Soveranes. All Rights Reserved.