Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitalán is founded in Tecalitlán by Don Gaspar Vargas as a quartet.
The group consisted of Manuel Mendoza (harp), Lino Quintero (violin), Refugio Hernández (violin), and
Don Gaspar playing the Guitarra de golpe.
Don Gaspar turns over the leadership of Mariachi Vargas to son, Silvestre.
The group immediately expands to eight musicians, adding a guitar, two violins. and a guitarron.
In 1941, they integrated the trumpet into their sound by way of the famous Miguel Martínez Domînguez, who is considered the creator of the mariachi-style trumpet, as well as the best to ever play.
In 1944, Silvestre asks a young, classically trained, 19-year old Rubén Fuentes to join Mariachi Vargas as a violinist. Two years later, Fuentes influences the musical direction and together, with Silvestre, change the sound and image of Mariachi Vargas.
During this generation they were:
- First Mariachi to “…dress in charros and show up on time (and sober) for performance.”
- Appointed the Official Mariachi of Mexico City Police Department
- Signed to an exclusive recording contract with RCA, and appearing in their first of over 200 motion pictures.
Rubén Fuentes takes over complete control of Mariachi Vargas’ musical direction.
Later, retiring as a performer and becoming Musical Director, ably assisted by Rigoberto Alfaro and Jesús Rodríguez de Hijar. Release of Fuentes’ epic La Negra, followed by the classic La Bikina.
José “Pepe” Martinez is appointed Musical Director in dual leadership with Rubén Fuentes.
The group consists of one harp, vihuela, guitar, guitarron, three trumpets, and six violins. Vargas headlines the first-ever International Mariachi Conference. Fifty recordings are released and widely acclaimed. The Fuentes-Martínez team collaborate with Linda Ronstadt to produce the best-selling, Grammy Award winner Canciones de mi Padre. Vargas celebrates its 100th Anniversary as “El Mejor Mariachi Del Mundo.”
In collaboration with the Querétaro Philharmonic Orchestra brilliantly directed by Maestro José Guadalupe Flores, Vargas releases three ground-breaking recordings of orchestral mariachi: Sinfónico I,II & III. “Pepe” Martínez composes and releases the world’s first two mariachi operas. Famed for their Fuentes-Martínez arrangements, Vargas performs globally with celebrated regional orchestras, including Mexico, United States, France, Spain, Czech Republic, Japan, et al.
El Gran Concierto marks the first time a 65-piece bi-national orchestra accompanies Vargas with its new Musical Director, Carlos Martínez. Their first US album to be recorded and released.