© Dawn Kish
Leticia Elias is something of a pioneer in the arena of girl bands. In 1989, Elias, her sisters and a cousin founded Mariachi Las Perlitas Tapatias, an all-female mariachi band in Guadalajara, Mexico. "We had a love for mariachi since we were little," Elias says. Despite growing up with the sounds of mariachi all around them, the girls hadn't touched musical instruments until they started the group. And if that weren't daunting enough, they faced another hurdle: breaking into a world dominated by men. "We had a hard time at the beginning," Elias admits. "Now, the men recognize our work." Today, Elias lives in Chandler with her husband and two children, and she directs another group called Mariachi Tierra Linda. "We have boys, too," she points out. An older sister keeps the Las Perlitas torch lit. "Music for me is everything; it's my therapy," Elias says. "When I sing and play and I see the people's faces, I am so happy."
— Kathy Ritchie
For more information about Mariachi Tierra Linda, call 480-227-4062 or visit www.mariachitierralinda.net.