Union Station, Metro Art Presents

Metro Art Presents x The Autry Versos y Besos with Las Colibrí

About the Event

All-female mariachi ensemble Las Colibrí is the centerpiece of this original Mother’s Day performance of Versos y Besos (verses and kisses), which reimagines living archives and women’s history linking poetry, place and sound.

Inspired by archival materials of the composer and singer, Manuela C. Garcia (1867-1931), currently on display as part of What’s Her Story: Women in the Archives at the Autry Museum of the American West, the filmed performance is presented in partnership with Autry After Hours and staged in Union Station’s historic Ticketing Hall on Sunday, May 9, 2021 at 7PM.

Garcia was born on Los Angeles Street to a family of musicians and lived much of her life in the vicinity of Downtown Los Angeles. From memory, she recorded to wax cylinder more than 100 songs for the journalist and ethnographer Charles Fletcher Lummis which are now recognized as mariachi standards, sharing a sonic legacy that resounds today.

The program also includes a reading of an original poem by Amy Shimshon-Santoaccompanied by musician Nancy Sanchezwhich reflects on Garcia’s life and recovered story.

Portrait of Manuela C. Garcia, cyan photograph by Charles Fletcher Lummis, Early 20th century from Braun Research Library Collection, Autry Museum; P.32319

Portrait of Manuela C. Garcia, cyan photograph by Charles Fletcher Lummis, Early 20th century from Braun Research Library Collection, Autry Museum; P.32319

Las Colibrí will also perform their original take on time-honored classics including “Cielito Lindo” and “La Bamba” alongside original songs too.

Celebrate mothers and the day with the powerful voices of Las Colibrí and Shimshon-Santo as they creatively return Manuela Garcia’s story to the heart of downtown Los Angeles.

Cover of the Manuela Garcia songbook,1901. Includes 149 Spanish songs handwritten and transcribed by Garcia from Braun Research Library Collection, Autry Museum; MS.1.5.1

Watch the Performance


About the Partner

The Autry Museum of the American West is dedicated to exploring and sharing the stories, experiences, and perceptions of the diverse peoples of the American West, connecting the past to the present to inspire our shared future. The museum presents a wide range of exhibitions and public programs—including lectures, film, theatre, festivals, family events, and music—and performs scholarship, research, and educational outreach. Visit TheAutry.org to learn about programs, exhibitions, and other online content. For the most up-to-date information and content, follow the Autry on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter.

Featured Artists

Las Colibrí or “The Hummingbirds,” have a passion for music, beauty, and girl power. These women are flying into new territory as  one of the most unique ensembles of its genre by returning  to the all-string instrumentation of the early 20th  century mariachi tradition and the colorful, feminine costumes of the Mexican cinematic divas of the 40’s and 50’s. After years of achieving much success individually as instrumentalists and vocalists in various professional arenas, these women have come together to form a stringed ensemble that is like no other in it’s genre. Aside from their unique interpretation of  traditional sones, huapangos, and rancheras, audiences will also recognize sounds of jazz, rock, oldies, and R&B through their innovative arrangements.  With a lovely blend of vocal harmonies, beautiful smiles, and traditional mariachi instrumentation consisting of a Guitarrón (Bass), Guitar, Vihuela (Soprano Guitar), and Violins, Las Colibrí will be sure to get you laughing, crying, singing and even dancing to their contagious beats and melodies.

The Versos y Besos Collective was spearheaded to better understand the life and story of Manuela Garcia. For more on their work, visit the project site on the ASAP Journal platform.