Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles have the rare distinction of being not only an excellent band, but a one that has made history, to boot. The group started in South El Monte, CA in 1994 after José Hernández, a board member of the non-profit Mariachi Heritage Society, noticed that the younger members taking music lessons were very skilled at playing traditional mariachi instruments like the violin, trumpet, and guitarrón mexicano. Knowing that female musicians have few female role models to look up to in mariachi music (women tended to only be singers in the genre), Hernández created Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles from the girls and women (early teens to mid-thirties) who were taking lessons at the Heritage Society, forming the first American all-female mariachi band. In the years since its inception, some original bandmembers still remain, and ones who have left have been replaced. The group tries to keep the number of players in the group at about a dozen.
Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles' profile has continuously increased since 1994. The group tours nationally, as well as throughout Mexico. They've released three albums, 1996's Solo Tuya, 2002's El Mejor Mariachi Femenino del Mundo, and 2009's Latin and American Grammy-nominated Compañeras, also appearing on the soundtrack to the 2003 film Seabiscuit. The group has also played for celebrities like John Travolta, Tom Petty, and George Harrison. In 2009, the group performed for President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House's Cinco de Mayo celebration.