Silenced by COVID, mariachi Mass returns to Tucson cathedral

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — A blast of trumpet flourishes and guitarrón bass breaks the solemn hush of Mass on a torrid August desert morning. Decked out in gold-embroidered suits, nine musicians pick, strum and trumpet the entrance hymn under tall stained-glass windows. After more than a year of silence due to the pandemic, mariachis are back playing Sunday services at Tucson’s St. Augustine Cathedral, where the colorful and sonorous tradition dates back a half-century and fuses Roman Catholicism with Mexican American pride. For the hundreds of worshipers gathered in this Spanish colonial church, and other congregations across the Southwest, the unique sound of mariachi liturgy evokes a borderlands identity blending spirituality with folk music.