The Mariachi Ghost
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The Mariachi Ghost

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2009 | SELF

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada | SELF
Established on Jan, 2009
Band Rock World


This band hasn't logged any future gigs

The Mariachi Ghost @ The Good Will Social Club

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

The Mariachi Ghost @ Bus Stop Theatre (The)

Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

The Mariachi Ghost @ Burton Cummings Theatre

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

The Mariachi Ghost @ The Forks

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

The Mariachi Ghost @ Times Change(d) High and Lonesome Club

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

The Mariachi Ghost @ The Forks

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

The Mariachi Ghost @ Old Market Square - TD Winnipeg International Jazz Festival

Manitoba, Canada

Manitoba, Canada

The Mariachi Ghost @ Times Change(d) High and Lonesome Club

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

The Mariachi Ghost @ Watson Arts Center (The WAC)

Dauphin, Manitoba, Canada

Dauphin, Manitoba, Canada

The Mariachi Ghost @ Hopneri maja

Tallinn, Harjumaa, Estonia

Tallinn, Harjumaa, Estonia

The Mariachi Ghost @ Tallinn Music Week - "The biggest indoor festival in the Baltics"

Tallinn, Harjumaa, Estonia

Tallinn, Harjumaa, Estonia

The Mariachi Ghost @ Tallinn Music Week - "The biggest indoor festival in the Baltics"

Tallinn, Harjumaa, Estonia

Tallinn, Harjumaa, Estonia

The Mariachi Ghost @ Torque Brewing

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

The Mariachi Ghost @ Von Krahli Teater MTÜ

Tallinn, Harjumaa, Estonia

Tallinn, Harjumaa, Estonia

The Mariachi Ghost @ Tallinn Music Week - "The biggest indoor festival in the Baltics"

Tallinn, Harjumaa, Estonia

Tallinn, Harjumaa, Estonia

The Mariachi Ghost @ Festival du Voyageur

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

The Mariachi Ghost @ Mundial Montreal

Quebec, Canada

Quebec, Canada

The Mariachi Ghost @ Times Change(d) High and Lonesome Club

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

The Mariachi Ghost @ The Artful Dodger Cafe & Music Emporium

Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

The Mariachi Ghost @ The Owl - BreakOutWest

Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

The Mariachi Ghost @ West End Cultural Centre

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

The Mariachi Ghost @ The Good Will Social Club

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

The Mariachi Ghost @ Lyric Theatre

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

The Mariachi Ghost @ Harbourfront Centre

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

The Mariachi Ghost @ William Hawrelak Park

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada



By Jillian Groening

It’s tough being a music industry misfit. While most other bands fit neatly into pre-existing scenes, ready for radio play and eager fans, or create work which can be imagined through an erratic list of comparisons, Winnipeg’s The Mariachi Ghost is a little more nebulous. Heck, the band can’t even fit in your average family-size mini-van.

Blending traditional Mexican rhythms with soaring guitar riffs, the eight-piece modern mariachi band has created its own niche market and it couldn’t be more advantageous.

After playing a well-received open mic night at The Lo Pub in 2009, lead vocalist and guitarist Jorge Requena — along with jarana player and pal Gabriel Fields — began to recruit open-minded musicians obsessed with Mexican stylings and The Mariachi Ghost was formed.

“It was a Winnipeg accident,” Requena explains regarding the group’s beginnings. Asked to play a gig at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival promptly following the open mic success, Requena’s vision for the mariachi band got theatrical. “I wanted to really make it a show so I invited as many people as I could orchestrate properly, which was eight, and it hasn’t changed since.”

Rounding out the group is lead guitarist Rafael Reyes, drummer and vocalist Ian Mikita, bassist and vocalist Adam Kroeker, Tim Friesen on keys, trumpet, vocals and quijada, and Bruce Berven on percussion, vocals and guitarra vozarrona. Donning sinister sugar skull makeup and intricate, old-style mariachi suits, the group is a vision on stage. Add contemporary dancer Alexandra Garrido and the experience is unforgettable.

“There is something about a really large group playing and harmonizing on stage that makes me vibrate in a special way,” Requena says. “I think having a lot of people doing their best for a common cause is a beautiful thing to see and that’s partly what’s kept us together. The reaction from that first gig was just so great.”

While creating a striking stage presence, the makeup, costumes and overall ethos of the group was taken from a prose-based graphic novel Requena was working on at the time. Inspired by tales his grandfather and mother would tell him back home in Mexico City, Requena found that adding a physical, kinetic element to the performance aided in storytelling.

“We often sing in Spanish so we needed another way to communicate to the audience,” Requena states. “The movement makes the music so much stronger. People are able to relate not only to the music and how it feels but also to the dance and how it feels.”

Trained in both Mexican traditional dance as well as contemporary dance, Garrido was able to combine improvisation and physical theatre skills along with the percussive foot stomps on the tarima to create a character that embodies everything in the story of the mariachi ghost. Similar to how the band’s music is a melding of cultures, the entire performance creates a symbiotic artistic relationship.

The Mariachi Ghosts’ unique and intelligent stage presence gained the group hype, popularity and a strong, supportive fan base. From sold-out gigs at the Times Changed High & Lonesome Club to the exclusive opportunity to perform on the Winnipeg Art Gallery rooftop for Nuit Blanche to an annual spot at Jazz Fest’s Latin Night lineup at The Cube, The Mariachi Ghost was embracing its strange bird status whole-heartedly.

“I get goosebumps from being on stage combined with the lightheadedness of screaming and the fact that you’re allowed to scream your thoughts and that people are joyous about them,” Requena says. “That your artistic vision is being respected by other humans is a really big win.”

In November 2013, the modern mariachis released their self-titled debut. Recorded at Private Ear Recording in the Exchange District, the album was engineered by Craig Boychuk (KEN mode, Greg MacPherson) and produced by Benoit Morier (Chic Gamine). Having decided to record live and overdub accordingly, the album was able to capture the essence of the group’s electric live performance.

“It was also necessary to have Alex moving through the space as we recorded,” Requena explains concerning the bustling recording studio energy. “Although you might not be able to hear it, we needed to have that element included. She’s part of our glue.”

The album, which contains a distinct mix of full metal instrumentation, four-part harmonies. and Cuban and Afro-Mexican rhythms, gained radio play across Canada, the Netherlands, France, Australia, and Mexico as well as picking up the World Recording of the Year honour at the 2014 Western Canadian Music Awards.

Following the success of its recording debut, The Mariachi Ghost is getting ready for its biggest summer yet. With the honour of kicking off Main Stage performances at the Winnipeg Folk Festival on Thursday, June 9 to playing at the PanAM & Parapan Am Games in Toronto, not to mention planning two more concept albums and a highly anticipated music video directed by Guy Maddin, The Mariachi Ghost is proof that different is best.

A Little Knowledge Can Go A Long Way: Tricks of the music industry-trade help independent bands gain exposure
After years of navigating the music industry through the power of delegation and eight pairs of hands, The Mariachi Ghost is beginning to embrace business support. By attending one-on-one career consultations with Manitoba Music staff to workshops and January Music Meeting sessions, the rockin’ mariachi’s have been able to apply their independent knowledge of the industry to new-found information to form an unstoppable musical force.

“Because we are different, it’s hard to find anyone who wants to be our champion,” Requena says. “We had to find people who were okay with a complicated act, people that we could talk to who would help us move forward.”

Applying negotiation skills acquired at the January Music Meeting, The Mariachi Ghost was able to plan a hectic year filled with performance obligations at twelve different festivals.

“What we learned at the meeting helped us plan our year with a very intelligent strategy,” Requena states. “We’re able to play all of the festivals we would like without breaking the bank or borrowing money. I think that’s a victory for any band.”

The bands new networking skills enabled them to crystallize relationships with BreakOut West, Paquin Entertainment Group, and The Agency Group. With a lot of Latin American artists on their roster already, The Agency Group will aid The Mariachi Ghost with expanding their audience through performances at both Latin American and European festivals.

“It’s very helpful to have people who are professionals explaining what your options are,” Requena explains. “It’s great to be able to channel the success that we’ve already had, as minor as it may be, into something that will bring us wider success.”

With The Mariachi Ghosts’ first year utilizing music industry-savvy skills packed with 12 different festivals, the concepts and creation of two separate albums, a music video by one of Canada’s most prolific film directors, and the most travel that the band has ever seen, one can only imagine what the prog-rockers will accomplish in year two.

“This summer was the first time we were able to have a choice and we even had to turn down some opportunities,” Requena admits. “We’re always just trying to make our supporters proud and wanting to show everyone new things. We want to always try to deliver a really great show.”

After stumbling into the industry more or less by accident, the group of mariachi’s only problem now is world domination. - Manitoba Music

Published August 17, 2015 - 6:10pm

This week’s Prismatic Arts Festival brings sounds from Europe, Asia and Motown to its stages at downtown Dartmouth’s Alderney Landing. One of its most exotic acts gets its inspiration from south of the border, but actually hails from west of the Canadian Shield.

Winnipeg octet the Mariachi Ghost gives you a hint of what they sound like right in the name, but this isn’t your padre’s mariachi. The traditional Mexican folk music is a launching pad for intense emotion, prog rock flights of fancy and a sense of visual flair with Day of the Dead makeup and regalia that will make its sets stand out at Prismatic.

“At first, we wanted it to be like a Mexican rock band, and there are a lot of them in the whole scene (in Mexico) with some very sophisticated musicians,” says singer Jorge Requena, who first established the concept of the Mariachi Ghost in a graphic novel he had created in 2009. “But then we added a little bit of Canadian prog, while some of the musicians in the band have also played jazz and bluegrass and country, so elements of those are there as everybody puts their mark on the sound.

“The more people we added, the more elaborate the music became. (Guitarist) Rafael (Reyes) was the second-last element to join the band, and his idea of what the sound of the band was fully completed what we wanted. I was very inspired by bands like the Mars Volta and all these crazy prog sounds, but I can’t play them by myself, and Rafael is an expert at soundscaping with the guitar, so that completed everything.”

There are lots of opportunities to experience the Mariachi Ghost’s first trip to the East Coast when the band performs at Prismatic on Wednesday at Alderney Theatre at 7 p.m., Friday on the outdoor mainstage at 7 p.m., Saturday in the activities tent at 1 p.m. and on the outdoor mainstage at 6:30 p.m., and Sunday on the outdoor mainstage at 1 p.m.

Reyes is looking forward to playing for a new audience that has never seen them before, and is curious about the reaction the band will receive. He says there’s so much going on in their songs that he’s constantly surprised by the comparisons that listeners come up with.

“Some people say, ‘Oh, you guys sound a lot like Pink Floyd,’ and there is a certain element to that,” says the guitarist. “I’m a huge fan of David Gilmour’s guitar playing. But at the same time, some people think we sound like Queens of the Stone Age, which is really high praise because I’m a big fan of their music as well.

“But it doesn’t always come out consciously in the music; it just happens naturally. And there’s quite a bit going on, everybody brings a different influence. Adam (Kroeker), our bassist, he loves Crosby Stills & Nash records, so he brings some of their vocal arrangements into the band, Tim (Friesen), our keyboard player, listens to basically everything in the world, and he’s a great arranger. So that’s how the sound happens.”

The Mariachi Ghost lineup also includes Gabriel Fields on a guitar-like traditional Mexican instrument called the jarana, Bruce Berven on congas and acoustic bass and drummer Ian Mikita.

But the member who usually leaves the most memorable impression is dancer and percussionist Alexandra Garrido, whose elaborate costume and dramatic physical interpretation of the songs gives the audience an experience beyond your typical rock show.

“She brings an element that most acts don’t have, which is a complete visual and emotional grounding,” says Requena. “She travels through the crowd, she uses props, and we work really hard to craft her performance to the story and give you an idea of the universe in which the story exists without being explicit about what you’re listening to.

“We want it to be genuine, and make it so that it is really ourselves onstage, blending and creating harmony, which is one of the most beautiful things that humans can do, working together for a greater purpose.”

For more on the band, and to hear its self-titled debut in full, visit - The Chronicle Herald (Halifax)

“You’ve never seen anything like it,” promises band’s leader.

By Adria Young

After moving from Mexico to Winnipeg in 2004, guitarist and artist Jorge Requena discovered the city's vibrant and thriving Latin American community. By 2009, he was inspired to begin a Day of the Dead-themed graphic novel for Mexico's important national holiday that honours life. This became the blueprint for the group The Mariachi Ghost.

Travelling with seven musicians, one dancer and a make-up artist/manager, The Mariachi Ghost celebrates "the supernatural and the magical of old Mexico, where our story exists," says Requena. "Like many other artists of Latin America, we practice a revivalism of our old symbols. We wear mariachi suits, have sugar-skull makeup and we play prog rock. We celebrate our heritage and bring it into the future."

The culture of Mexico is "a complicated post-colonial cosmogony with a mix of pre-Hispanic religions and Catholicism," he explains. This plays a large role in the band's performance: "In old Mexico, there is such a beautiful collection of traditions, mixed with colonial beliefs, that created a new modern ideal of death. Death is a part of life. There is beauty in accepting that, also, death is a reason to celebrate life.

"The characters in our story onstage all relate to the place between the world of the living and the dead," he says. Eight performers find harmony. "With a high-energy level, we give a concert, a theatre play and a seance all in one," Requena says. "We promise you've never seen anything like it." - The Coast (Halifax)

By: Haley Ryan Metro., Metro Published on Sat Aug 22 2015

The Prismatic Arts Festival may have brought happy, dancing crowds for its weekend performances, but even more magic happened behind the scenes.

Since 2008, Prismatic has been showcasing Aboriginal and culturally diverse music, theatre, spoken-word and dance from artists across Canada and the world, said managing director Maggie Stewart.
“They’re doing super-innovative work because they’re bringing their own cultural perspectives and traditions, and mixing them with other … styles of art,” Stewart said Sunday.

Despite an overcast sky, a crowd of all ages came out to watch the main stage performances at Dartmouth’s Alderney Landing on Sunday afternoon, as Prismatic wrapped up after about 30 artists performed at the venue since Wednesday.

North Preston’s own Sanctified Brothers got people dancing and singing during their gospel set, while kids sat next to Raina the Halifax Mermaid to learn about the ocean.

With the festival’s own rising profile, Stewart said organizers have been able to help expose local talent like North Preston’s Reeny Smith to a wider audience. Smith is a singer who performed with David Myles at Natal Day this year and won artist of the year at the 2015 African Nova Scotian Music Association Awards.

“In our hearts we would like to see a lot of arts festivals look like this in the near future,” Stewart said.

Stewart said many of the artists stick around the Halifax area for the week and collaborate and meet with local talent.

Saturday night saw a bunch of musicians jam with the house band at Celtic Corner, Stewart said, while Iranian artist Mohsen Sharifian was introduced to bagpipe players here.

Sharifian is a master of the ney-anban, a double reed instrument from southern Iran that has similarities to the bagpipes, Stewart said.

“They were comparing their instruments and music and things like that,” Stewart said.

“Having these chances to come together really leads to a lot of new opportunities, especially for our local artists.”

Mariachi Ghost drew many to the main stage as they headlined Sunday afternoon; the band has a singer from Mexico, guitarist from El Salvador and other members from Winnipeg.

The group melds Mexican and prog-rock for a “fantastic” performance of music and dance, Stewart said.

“It’s very different from what you’ve seen but should represent the future of Canadian arts, where you see all these different elements coming and being celebrated,” Stewart said.

“When people have that freedom and that space to engage and create, and innovate, they come up with really wicked stuff.” - Metro News (Halifax)

In many ways, Winnipeg can be a divisive city that engenders very strong feelings. People often absolutely love or hate the city, or simultaneously love and hate it. What nobody can deny, though, is that it has one of Canada’s great music scenes. Like with other lists we’ve done, the great number of bands to choose from makes it pretty tough to narrow it down to 15. To help nudge the process along, we’ve once again focused more on up and comers than established acts. We’ve also avoided the city’s thriving punk scene for now – a person could do a list of punk bands alone and I couldn’t decide how many, or which ones, to add to the list. If you want to make that list, or would like us to, let us know!

Without further ado, 15 great Winnipeg bands to listen to this year (In no particular order). If you like what you hear, support the bands by buying some music and/or going to some shows!

1. Boats
This album is an eclectic collection of upbeat indie pop with lots of harmonies and synths. I don’t actually know if they are going to be very active in 2015, but on their facebook page on New Years Eve they said: “Sorry for shitting the bed all through 2014. We’ll try harder.” We’ll take that as hopeful evidence that music is on the way, because these guys are fun and catchy and more music would be awesome.

2. Mahogany Frog
Experimental electric, synth infused, rock – you could probably toss this in the post-rock category if you were into using such terms. Whatever you want to call them, these guys are worth a listen. Long form, noisy rock jams. Fans of See Feel and Do Make Say Think take particular note.

3. French Press
Acoustic indie-trio that has been getting a lot of positive press. Word is that a new album is in the works and will be coming before too long, which is excellent news!. As for now, enjoy two tracks that will leave you wanting more.

4. Last Ditch on the Left
This duo has the folk/Americana feel down pat. Their sound evokes dusty roads and sore luck losers like the best in the genre. As a rule I think it is a good thing that people can’t smoke in bars anymore, but listening to these guys I would want the place smoke filled and smelling of stale beer… in the good way.

5. A la Mode
Another brand new pop entrant here, with only a three song EP to share. Regardless, those songs have a great feel and I’m looking forward to seeing what comes in 2015.

6. Royal Canoe
So maybe this is more of a “what happened in 2014” than a “what is coming up in 2015” choice, though apparently they are in record writing mode as 2015 gets underway. Regardless, they had to be on this list because they need to be on every list. Synth heavy experimental pop, with genres and sounds popping up all over the place. These guys are awesome.

7. The Mariachi Ghost
So this is a band based on a graphic novel character who play traditional Mexican music tinged with jazz and rock and top charts in South America… from Winnipeg. File it away in the “truth is stranger than fiction” category and then give them a listen. Something very different. Winner of the 2014 “best world music album” at the Western Canadian music awards, worth checking out.

8. Slow Leaves
This is really nice folk, singer/songwriter, stuff. Davidson is not reinventing the wheel, and in this case that’s fine – the solid song writing and delivery do all the work that’s needed.

9. Yes We Mystic
Making their first full-length in 2015, for which they are currently in “record writing hibernation.” This is good news. A little bit of Bruce Peninsula in their sound.

10. The Hours
Reminiscent of 60’s psychedelic rock, or psyro as the kids probably call it these days, mixed with 90’s noise rock. There is something eerie about their sound that I very much enjoy. It comes on good authority that we can expect new music soon – stay tuned.

11. Cantor Dust
Cantor Dust’s music strikes me a being the soundtrack to comic books that don’t exist. This is really imaginative and thoroughly bizarre story telling. It is refreshingly different

12. Pocket Change
Bass and vocal driven indie-pop, Pocket Change at times makes you want sit back and listen to the complex instrumentation and at times makes you want to get up and dance.

13. Jenny Berkel
Traditional singer/songwriter, folk, country stylings on this album, with a bit of darkness creeping in around the corners. Jenny Berkel has great voice and there are some really strong tracks here.

Family Bonus! Jenny’s sister Kay just released an EP of tunes written and produced by Daniel Romano. Kay’s not based in Winnipeg, but the album is too great not to mention somewhere, so the family connection will do.

14. Sebastian Owl
Sebastian Owl reminds me of endless fields and open skies. This is comfort music, it’s open, relaxed, easy to listen to, enjoyable, and it just feels good to have it on the stereo.

15. The Crooked Brothers
The Crooked Brothers have a bluesy rockcountry feel. The unique vocal style and driving beats push the music forward and make you want to keep nodding to the beat. They are also capable of pulling it back and delivering a more traditional, slower-paced country ballad. They’re a versatile band with a lot going on. - Quirks & Quiddities

Primero nació el relato sobre un charro fantasma, un misterioso jinete mexicano que no se sabe si está vivo o está muerto. Con el tiempo, el personaje se transformó en un cuento y después dio paso a un concepto musical definido bajo el nombre de The Mariachi Ghost, una banda de rock distinta, considerada revelación en Canadá y que cuenta entre sus filas con el talento del salvadoreño Rafael Reyes.

Críticas musicales internacionales destacan el sonido de The Mariachi Ghost por su envoltura de folclor mexicano, pero con una interesante esencia que mezcla rock progresivo, arreglos instrumentales, jazz y hasta el espíritu del spaghetti western. Y si la música no es suficiente, las letras son capaces de impresionar y entretener con sus relatos oscuros sobre el charro fantasma, la santa muerte, chamanes, lucifer y otros elementos inspirados en la mitología mesoamericana.

Las ideas surgen de la cabeza de Jorge Requena, voz principal y responsable de la guitarra eléctrica rítmica, quien además de basarse en la cultura de su país de origen, México, tiene influencia de escritores como Juan Rulfo, Franz Kafka y Gabriel García Márquez, según comentó a LA PRENSA GRÁFICA. “Utilizamos simbología prehispánica y literatura latinoamericana para explicar la importancia que tiene la muerte como un símbolo cultural”, especifica Jorge.

En El Salvador se dieron a conocer con “Cempazuchitl”, entendida como la flor de la muerte y una canción que narra las tribulaciones del charro fantasma. Este tema logró entrar a la lista de las mejores canciones de radio Femenina 102.5 FM y además es una muestra de la forma en que el grupo fusiona instrumentos tradicionales con los modernos.

Christian Müller, uno de los locutores más experimentados de radio Femenina, califica como “magistral” la fusión presentada por The Mariachi Ghost. “La fusión de géneros es magistral, la calidad musical de su trabajo en estudio es notable, al igual que la ejecución de instrumentos. Utilizan elementos musicales que realmente trascienden en sus canciones”, opina Müller.

“Más allá de la musicalización, algo que fortalece y refleja sus raíces de folk mexicano es la óptica de sus letras, su temática oscura no pasa desapercibida y despierta el interés”, agregó.

Con cinco años de trayectoria y un disco homónimo, la música de The Mariachi Ghost comenzó a llamar poco a poco la atención del público, medios de comunicación y los críticos de Canadá, hasta lograr ser nominada a los Western Canadian Music Awards, en la categoría de World Recording of the Year, los cuales serán entregados en octubre. - La Prensa Grafica (El Salvador)

Periódico La Jornada
Jueves 23 de octubre de 2014, p. a11

Música tradicional mexicana, son jarocho y rock progresivo se mezclan en los temas que interpreta el grupo Mariachi Ghost, cuyo disco homónimo ganó hace unos días el Western Canadian Music Award, reconocimiento que otorga cada año la industria musical del oeste de Canadá.

El galardón fue en la categoría World Music, aunque en re-alidad habríamos podido competir en varios rubros, señala en entrevista con La Jornada Jorge Requena, fundador de la agrupación, que ha desarrollado su carrera principalmente en aquel país y en Europa.

El cantante y músico explica que el disco premiado es una producción “totalmente independiente. En Canadá, la mayoría de los músicos exitosos reciben apoyo de instituciones gubernamentales, pero nosotros lo hicimos todo por nuestra cuenta y sin ayuda de fondos o préstamos, por lo cual el premio nos entusiasma mucho.

Para una banda como la nuestra, lograr el reconocimiento de la industria y los medios no es fácil. No tenemos agentes que nos hagan promoción, por eso, que la industria canadiense nos haya seleccionado de entre una montaña de gente talentosa, es un gran honor.

Proyecto de un chilango

Mariachi Ghost es un proyecto accidental de un migrante chilango, añade Requena: “llegué a Winnipeg para estudiar cine hace 10 años, me encantó el paso relajado y creativo de la ciudad. Encontré una tremenda inspiración y desde que llegué he estado creando películas y música.

“La banda surgió a raíz del cómic El Charro Fantasma, que comenzaba a escribir. La poesía que escribí poco a poco se empezó a mezclar con mis ideas musicales y con canciones tradicionales que tocábamos por diversión.

“Fue así que accidentalmente creamos un proyecto musical divertido al tocar en un evento con unos amigos. Como era por diversión decidí agregar elementos visuales y experimentar con danza contemporánea, telas, luces, video y otras cosas que estaba usando en mis cortos. La respuesta fue súper positiva, así que decidimos tocar más y de repente estábamos en escenarios importantes, en los periódicos y con invitaciones a diversos estudios para grabar demos.

“Crecí en el Distrito Federal escuchando a Café Tacvba, Fobia, Soda Stereo, Radiohead y Muse. A pesar de que mi sueño guajiro siempre había sido ser rockstar nunca me imaginé en una ceremonia de premios, validada por músicos veteranos. Crecer en la ciudad de México me dio una cultura musical ecléctica y la ciudad de Winnipeg, reconocida por su escena artística, nos dio la oportunidad de mezclar medios y generar algo nuevo y chido.”

México, la meta

Entre los músicos de Mariachi Ghost se encuentra el canadiense Gabriel Fields, “quien se ha entrenado en el son jarocho con Los Cojolites y Son de Madera, en Jaltipan, la cuna de ese género musical. Ahora es un experto intérprete de jarana.

Es nuestro primer premio importante, ahora nos toca seguir. Nuestra meta es tocar en México, además de las ofertas que ya tenemos para ir a El Salvador, por ejemplo. Espero que nuestro grupo guste en nuestro país y que reconozcan el valor de nuestro folclor utilizado de una forma nueva, concluye Requena. - La Jornada (Mexico)

The members of Mariachi Ghost drift through the throng in the Times Change(d) High and Lonesome Club on a recent Friday night looking half-dead.
The octet are preparing to hit the stage, all with one side of their faces painted as if their skulls are missing skin. It visualizes a fictional early 1900s Mexican cowboy lead singer Jorge Requena invented for a graphic novel he was writing. Mariachi Ghost, as Requena dubbed him, survived a traumatic upbringing that leaves him questioning whether he is dead or alive. - Winnipeg Free Press

Outside the West End Cultural Centre, a cool breeze announces the impending arrival of fall.

Inside, the aroma of warm tostadas from the BMC Market welcome those anxiously waiting for the ghost to appear. As they say, the air’s electric: it feels like you’re in a Tim Burton-directed western. Surreal, in a way. It’s September 16th. Mexican Independence Day. Mariachi Ghost wants to mark the almost-200-year-old celebration in their own way.

The Winnipeg band, which blends traditional music styles and songs from Mexico with roots and rock, are known for performing in Day of The Dead-inspired costumes and makeup. As a result, the band has justifiably earned a reputation for its captivating live shows.

The first short set leans heavily towards the folk roots of the music and the band itself, featuring a three-piece horn section. The audience of just over 200 is so quiet, the crickets take notice. But as soon as the last note of the first song fades, the crowd erupts in what can only be described as a sitting ovation.

In the theatre entrance, with a flower and bow in her hair, six-year-old Ezri Schafer blissfully dances. She’s oblivious to the world around her, aside from the music.

“I don’t know,” she replies when asked what inspires her to dance. “It’s just good.”

As quickly as she could twirl away, Ezri returns to dancing.

Intermission rolls around. The aroma of fresh Mexican fare proves to be more enticing than the bar for most. Heading for the bar first seemed to be the smart move, although the food runs out before the lineup does.

Oh well, at least the beer line’s short.

Although it’s probably for the best, the lack of tequila’s a bit of a downer. Dos Equis it is. Viva Mexico! Viva! Viva! Viva!

Mexico marks its independence on the day the revolution began, rather than the day insurgents officially overthrew the rulers 11 years later. There’s perhaps no better way to celebrate than with a pinata contest.

“Viva Mexico! Viva!” cheers lead Ghost, Jorge Requena.

“Viva Mexico! Viva!” the crowd replies.

“Viva Mariachi Ghost! Viva!” is maybe what they’re really thinking. What
they’re feeling.

The first batsman plucked from the audience spills the skull pinata in just a few wild swings, sending its candy brains scurrying across the floor. The act swiftly turns spectators into participants.

A giant skull pinata presides over the stage like the Wizard of Oz as the second set begins with an intense wall of sound. Dancer Alexandra Garrido’s whirling, twirling, haunting interpretation keeps all eyes on her, as she transforms music into motion.

With an entire room to herself, aside for a half-dozen broken pinatas, Ezri dances.

“I didn’t even know what the words meant in another language, but did not care,” says Gloria Dignazio, the founder of Phantompalooza. “Their music just hit home. And the dancer, the dancer ... She was mesmerizing!”

“Viva Mexico!” Requena shouts again.

“Viva Mexico!” we respond. - The Uniter

Si les dijéramos que existe una banda que fusiona música tradicional mexicana con rock progresivo, jazz y arreglos instrumentales que nos recuerdan al Spaghetti Western, muy probablemente imaginarían que se trata de una agrupación mexicana enamorada de sus raíces con ganas de experimentar, sin embargo la sorpresa nos la llevamos nosotr@s al descubrir que The Mariachi Ghost es una banda con un origen geográfica y culturalmente distante… unos cuantos cientos de kilómetros al norte, en Canadá.

The Mariachi Ghost es una banda integrada por ocho personas, su centro de actividades está ubicado en Winnipeg, Canadá, y desde hace poco más de cinco años vienen experimentando con diferentes sonidos: trompetas, tarimas, jarana, congas, tambores, instrumentos eléctricos e incluso la quijada de burro, el tradicional instrumento de percusión usado en muchos de los ritmos latinoamericanos.

The Mariachi Ghost ha conquistado numerosos escenarios en Manioba, además de incorporar números dancísticos en sus presentaciones en vivo, cuentan con un EP de producción independiente llamado Machete que alcanzó el cuarto lugar en los College Radio Charts en Canadá, además de contar con más de 10 000 visitas en sus videos Mariachi Ghost Youtube.

A pesar de ser un proyecto precedido de bastantes años de trabajo, la agrupación canadiense está decidida a compartir su propuesta musical con el mundo y lanzar su primer álbum de larga duración de manera independiente, a cargo de Benoit Morier, el productor ganador del premio Juno, reconocimiento otorgado por The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.

Con este proyecto en mente, la banda ha decidido emprender una campaña que pretende recaudar fondos para costear los gastos de la producción del material discográfico. A cambio de la aportación, el grupo ofrece copias de la edición limitada del EP, además de un cajón de percusión hecho a mano por uno de los integrantes.

Sin duda, The Mariachi Ghost es un proyecto al que vale la pena escuchar y darle seguimiento, puesto que no todos los días vemos bandas extrajeras interesadas en difundir la música tradicional de nuestro país dándole un toque más moderno y experimental. Además de la destacable paradoja de que mientras muchas bandas nacionales enfocan sus esfuerzos en emular los proyectos anglosajones, sea justo una banda canadiense quien sucumba ante el embrujo de la música “folk” mexicana. - FREIM

“Mexican comic book music.”

That’s how Mariachi Ghost lead vocalist/guitarist Jorge Requena describes his band.

“The premise is that we explore traditional Mexican songs and ideas that have been played for hundreds of years and translate them into our culture,” bassist Adam Kroeker says.

The group’s self-titled debut LP will be released with a show on November 2 at the West End Cultural Centre.

Formed in 2009, The Mariachi Ghost is comprised of Raquena, Kroeker, Alexandra Garrido, Rafael Reyes, Ian Mikita, Bruce Berven, Tim Friesen and Gabriel Fields.

With eight members, recording an album proved to be a challenge.

“Onstage, we play with eight people. On the record, the skills of everybody doubled because everybody plays more than one instrument, so there’s even more layers (to the music),” Requena says.

“The studio had to rent more channels for our base tracks. There’s also more voices, a lot of choir arrangements,” Requena explains.

Fans of Garrido’s dancing on the tarima, a Mexican stomp box and a staple of The Mariachi Ghost’s live performances, don’t need to worry about missing it on the album.

“Alexandra danced on the tarima in the recording studio,” Requena says. “The microphones are arranged so you’ll actually be able to hear Alexandra dancing. You can hear her chains. All those elements are still there.”

The album wouldn’t have happened without the band’s Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign.

“We went over our goal of $10,000 by a thousand bucks,” Requena says. “The people who invested in our album will be listed as producers in the credits.”

Ayah Norris leads marketing and community programs for Indiegogo in Canada. She says that The Mariachi Ghost’s campaign was a success because they saw it as a way to connect with their fans.

“By participating and contributing to a campaign, you’re now part of the creation process.” Norris says. “They did a really good job at building a compelling story and keeping the momentum going.”

The campaign has allowed the band to cast a wide local net, and play more local shows and festivals, which Requena notes is a dream they’ve all collectively shared since they were teenagers.

“Our guitar player Rafael was saying that he had dreams when he was 16 about going to festivals like Harvest Moon and playing the shows,” Requena says.

“It’s hard to find shitty musicians in Winnipeg. When you go to a festival, you get to hear some kick ass bands. Now we’re playing with them.”

The band makes good use of Manitoba weather, playing festivals during the summer and working on their music through the winter.

“It’s either winter or festivals in Manitoba,” jarana player Fields adds.

For Kroeker, the cold weather makes a good muse.

“It gives us an opportunity to create songs like ‘Frostbite’, where we rage against something,” he says.

“The winter is always something to fall back to. You know its coming. It’s always fucking coming,” Requena adds.

After the album release party, The Mariachi Ghost plans to start touring.

“Now that we actually have an album, we’re going to be able to cast a net worldwide,” Requena says.

Mikita, the band’s drummer, sums it all up.

“First we conquer Manitoba, then Canada, then the world.” - The Uniter

When guitarist/singer Jorge Requena formed The Mariachi Ghost three years ago, he didn’t think he was starting a band.

"Originally, I just wanted to play a Fringe show," he says with a laugh. "I’m very fond of the Fringe and have been since I came here from Mexico. I wasn’t in a play that year and I had all this music, so I decided to put it to use. My friend Gabriel (Fields, jarana/guitar), who is in the band, and I had been playing a couple songs with his band and we knew all these musicians. We were able to call on eight musicians for the show, and it just stuck."

Since then, the genre-spanning collective has been wowing local crowds with an incendiary live show that blends music, visual art, dance and theatre. The Mariachi Ghost’s multidisciplinary bent isn’t surprising considering its frontman’s diverse creative pursuits; Requena, 29, moved from Mexico to Winnipeg in 2004 to study film at the University of Winnipeg and, in addition to being a filmmaker and musician, is also an accomplished graphic novelist. - Uptown magazine

Mariachi Ghost is getting serious.

The Winnipeg band has been thrilling local audiences with its unique blend of Mexican folklore, prog-rock and theatrical flare for five years, but are only now releasing its first full-length album.

Mariachi Ghost founder and frontman Jorge Requena recently sat down with SCENE: On Air host Bruce Laden to talk about how far the company has come.

“We realized that it was time to get serious with it,” said Requena. “And we gave ourselves a deadline to release our first full-length album on the day of the dead.”

But the band quickly realized that releasing an album isn’t quite as easy as it sounds.

“We had no idea where we were going to record the album, where the money was going to come from, or how we were going to pull it off - nothing,” laughed Requena.

The group decided to turn to their fans, and launched a hugely successful IndieGogo campaign to finance the disc. Requena now says there are plans to release the album outside of Canada - including in Mexico.

“This has been a dream of everybody for a long time, we just didn’t know we could achieve it.”

In its signature dramatic style, the group will celebrate its self-titled debut with an album release party at the West End Cultural Centre on Saturday, Nov. 2. Promising a “magical, mystical” show, that will feature dance, projections and poetry, it’s the first chance local audiences will get to experience the resurgent band and their new music.

Five things you didn't know about Mariachi Ghost, according to Jorge Requena:

1. Everything in Mariachi Ghost is based around the moon: the duality between dark and light, dead and alive - and it's presence as the light of the night.

2. The Mariachi ghost was started accidentally when I realized I was in Winnipeg and with so many good musicians it was stupid not to play shows.

3. The day of the dead is our largest deadly celebration. It's an offering to my grandfather who taught me to love music.

4. We have always had a day of the dead altar on our day of the dead shows - It's an important part of Mexican culture.

5. Our make up is actually modelled after Mexican candy.

Hear Bruce’s full interview with Mariachi Ghost’s Jorge Requena on SCENE: On Air, Nov. 2 at 5:00 p.m. on CBC Radio One 89.3 FM/990 AM/97.9 FM in Brandon. Their release show is at the West End Cultural Centre the same evening, starting at 8:00 p.m. - CBC SCENE

While Fringe Fest enthusiasts will be basking this week in the comedies, dramas, and all the weird and whacky shows that make it such a spectacle, one must not forget the music.

And we're telling you, one of the shows not to miss will be happening tonight, July 19 at 9 p.m. at the Cube.

You'll see a full band replete with dancers and a brass section, dressed in black, with skull painted faces, singing in Spanish. You'll see the ebb and flow of life and death played out musically on stage. You'll be seeing Mariachi Ghost, easily one of the most intriguing and original live acts to come out of Winnipeg in quite some time. - CBC SCENE

Mariachi Ghost, un nom qui frappe comme celui d’un super héros. Une musique qui sonne comme la bande-son d’un western spaghetti à la sauce Tarantino. Conceptuel donc, car le Mariachi Ghost est avant tout un projet artistique à la géométrie variable. Imaginez-vous: sept musiciens vêtus de noir et arborant un masque de la mort peint au le visage, chantant en espagnol et accompagné d’une danseuse performeuse et, si possible, sur un toit d’immeuble et entourés d’écrans qui projettent en même temps des films. À mi-chemin entre le groupe de rock alternatif et l’orchestre traditionnel mexicain, Mariachi Ghost est certainement l’un des groupes les plus surprenants et talentueux de la scène winnipegoise. - BRBR - TVO

Mariachi-Ghost met La Liberté MIC à l’heure mexicaine, pour une neuvième émission explosive!

Retrouvez le célèbre groupe winnipégois composé de ses sept talentueux musiciens, avec Chaman et Sal, deux compositions de leur propre cru, et Suertudo, un cover totalement inédit de Lucky, de Radiohead, spécialement traduit et réarrangé musicalement par le groupe, pour La Liberté MIC. - La Liberté

MARTIN: All right, so let's get to the music. This is a festival that attracts fans from all over the U.S. and Latin America in particular. So which country are we going to focus on first? What Latin American hotspot?


MARTIN: Canada? No.

CONTRERAS: Yes. I saw it a band called Mariachi Ghost. They're from Winnipeg, Canada, and here's their back story. You know, they were started by a guy from Mexico City. His name was Jorge Requena. He tried to make a name for himself in Mexico, but, you know, that music market is just so overwhelming. He's also a filmmaker. And he took a job in Winnipeg doing some film work and the lightbulb went off. He said, hey, I could start a band up here. So he started a band with some Canadians and another guys from El Salvador, and their sound is a cross of Son Jarocho from Vera Cruz and rock. So after I saw them last night, they really impressed me with their performance - very energetic - they sent me an audio file of a new song from an upcoming album, so this is the Alt Latino and WEEKEND EDITION SUNDAY premier of their song "Susana."


MARIACHI GHOST: (Singing in Spanish).

MARTIN: OK, "Susana," there it is - the premier. - NPR


  • 2011 - Machete EP
  • 2013 - The Mariachi Ghost
  • 2015 - Pedro Páramo Demos
  • 2016 - Susana (Páramo Sessions)



From driving rhythms and soaring melodies, to brooding synths and dreamy vocal breaks, The Mariachi Ghost fuses traditional Mexican song, progressive rock, and a flair for the dramatic, to ignite the world of their namesake's tenuous existence.

The band was formed in 2009, based on a graphic novel that lead-singer Jorge Requena was writing at the time. In it the principal character struggles to find purpose in a life that has been torn apart by violence and hardship. He eventually turns his anguish outwards, believing to have been ordained by a higher power to punish those that prey on the weak.

Their writing explores the mythos of this justice-seeking Charro. Seven musicians interweave diverse genres and rhythms to create a soundscape that is dramatic, haunting, and explosive. They're joined on stage by dancer and band-mate Alexandra Garrido, who acts as a conduit of the music, expertly assuming its auras of sorrow, reflection, and rage. The result is a rich mixture somewhere between Pink Floyd and a traditional serenata, infused with contemporary dance; a ballet for the dead.

The band released their debut album in November 2013, which has reached radio stations in France, the Netherlands, Australia, and Mexico, while also making its way through the college charts in Canada. Most recently, The Mariachi Ghost won the award for "Best World Music Album" at the Western Canadian Music Awards.

The band is currently in the process of writing their second album inspired by the seminal work of Mexican literature "Pedro Páramo" by Juan Rulfo. The book looks at the cultural maladies of a small turn-of-the-century Mexican town. Pedro Pรกramo turns the town into a ghost town where every archetypical character must remain forever in the cycle of their "sin" and become the sin itself. The band is exploring more traditional Mexican styles and pushing the boundaries of their skills to create a new sound, a new visual style and a new form of stagecraft that conveys the intricacies of Pedro Páramo.

Band Members