Sure, it’s a mostly manufactured holiday. But Cinco de Mayo can still mean big business here in D.C. — particularly for the well-connected musicians in Mariachi Los Amigos.
The band of rotating performers — an aide to House Democratic Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra of California said the current troupe has been in place since late 2007; clips on their Facebook page suggest some iteration of the group has been enchanting fiesta-goers since at least 2001 — includes Daniel Herrera (violinist), who currently serves as deputy communications director for the House Democratic Caucus; Lorenzo Olvera (guitar), a former Becerra staffer; and Lorenzo’s brother Roberto Olvera (trumpet).
Monday was a big day for the boys; the band had been booked for four nearly back-to-back gigs, beginning with a dignitary-packed breakfast hosted by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. at the United States Naval Observatory.
Mariachi Los Amigos helped set the mood while guests — including Becerra and Rep. Rubén Hinojosa, D-Texas — helped themselves to a buffet spread featuring avocado, chorizo, egg and cheese casserole; cinnamon-dusted, apple-filled empanadas; and rice pudding seeded with raisins and sliced almonds.
“A five-piece mariachi band is performing for guests. We are holding for remarks,” White House pooler Zeke Miller of Time noted of the early morning pick-me-up, adding, “No Corvette sightings.”
The crew appears comfortable playing gigs big or small. They’ve performed in venues as intimate as the Loudoun County Public Library.
But their proximity to power keeps them in demand at high-profile affairs as well. Team Becerra said the group has done its thing at the Mexican Consulate, and has played at Cinco de Mayo events hosted by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., in the past.
This year, they capped off a whirlwind day by plucking and wailing for guests at a White House soiree.
Bien hecho, amigos.