Latino Music in Omaha, 1920 - Present
Barrientos Brothers arrive in 1926
Juan, Vidal and Pánfilo come from a long line of family musicians that date back to the late 1800s.
Cultural and musical traditions were kept alive during the 1930s by a small population of native Mexican immigrants to South Omaha. Life revolved around hard work in the packing plants, building families and re-enacting holiday celebrations; such as Mexican Independence Day and Cinco de Mayo. Festivities began in home gatherings and moved to neighborhood fiestas and street fairs. Everyone participated in these events featuring traditional hand-made costumes, regional dances and musical ballads.
Mexican immigration to South Omaha continued at a steady pace during the 1940s as relatives came to experience the thriving meat packing and service industries. Families grew as a second and third generation American baby boom arrived. The Hollywood musical influence captivated traditional Mexican music forms, creating bands of musicians and singers. Cuban and South American compositions became popular; however, the traditional Mexican folk sound emanating from elaborately costumed “charros” could be heard in most main stream events. Some ambitious and gifted performers began to use music as a livelihood.
Musicians during this time period: Juan, Vidal & Epifano Barrientos, Arturo & Jay Huerta, Leo Deloa, Trini Huerta Barrientos, Leo Barajas, Frank ‘Chico’ Gómez.
Places played at: house gatherings, halls and special events.
The Mexican community was now firmly established in South Omaha. With the popularity of the ‘I Love Lucy’ show which featured a Cuban musician and singer, Desi Arnaz, Mexican restaurants, clubs and social establishments added to neighborhood economic development. A new generation of young people from the founding families continued the musical traditions of their fathers. Now there were diverse and emerging venues for these experiences, away from home and into public spaces. The popularity of ethnic festivals and celebrations provided outlets for the music, song and dance expressions of Mexican performers. The development of social societies centered on community activities and provided employment, as well as entertainment.
Musicians during this time period were Juan, Vidal & Pánfilo Barrientos, Arturo & Jay Huerta, Trini Huerta Barrientos, Leo Barajas, Gilbert Buso, Frank ‘Chico’ Gómez, Louie Magallanes, Ernie Martínez, Francis García Reyes and Ruth Francis ‘Betty’ Martin.
Musicians performed at Tampico (1955-1965), George’s (also known as Carmona’s), German American Hall, Jalisco, Stockyard’s Exchange Building, Our Lady of Guadalupe, house gatherings, halls, special events and programs.
Musicians during this time period: Juan, Vidal & Epifano Barrientos, Arturo & Jay Huerta, Trini Huerta Barrientos, Gilbert Buso, David Castro, John Martinez, Frank ‘Chico’ Gómez, Joe Cabral
Places played at: Tampico (1955-1965), George’s (also known as ‘Carmona’s), German American Hall, Garcia’s , Tropicana, Shubert’s, Stockyard’s Exchange Building, Our Lady of Guadalupe, house gatherings, halls and special events.
Performance Venues: George's (VIP), Stockyard's Exchange Bldg, Tropicana, Shubert's, Garcia's
Musicians & Groups during this time period: Tequila Sunrise, Cervantes Brothers
Performance Venues: Howard's Charro Café, Wright Place
Musicians during this time period: Revelations, Don Juans, Echo
Performance Venues: Double Tree Hotel, Howard's Charro Café, Colleges, Special & Private Events.
Estrellitas de Omaha
Performed at: Guacamaya, Howard's Charro Café, Sokol Hall, Arthur's, Schools, Colleges, Festivals, Private Events.
Mariachi Luna y Sol
Tamborazo de Zacatecas
Banda Santa Cruz
Son del Llano
Marcos & Sabor
Performance Venues: Tquila, Bere's Hall, Millinium Hall, El Toro
Mariachi Las Cecilias