Divulgando la cultura en dos idiómas.

Women’s History Month: Claudia Banda

Banda connects to roots through music

Each March, to observe Women’s History Month, Dos Mundos honors Latinas whose accomplishments have helped and/or inspired the community. One of this year’s eight honorees is musician and native Texan Claudia Banda.
Banda, whose parents are from Celaya, Guanajuato, Mexico, arrived a few months ago in the Kansas City area to pursue a degree in marketing and international business at the University of Kansas in Lawrence. One of her activities outside of academics is playing in Mariachi Estrella.
Since childhood, Banda has had a passion for music, she said. She started playing the violin at age 9 and played during middle school and high school. At age 15, she started playing mariachi music.
“I was in high school when I joined the school mariachi club,” Banda recalled. “My Spanish teacher invited me to join the club. Once I joined the club, I was practicing and getting to know everyone; and then, we looked for a teacher who knew a lot of mariachi music. And since then, I … (have been) a mariachi (musician).”
Since joining Mariachi Estrella in 2021, Banda has performed at Arrowhead Stadium and other venues around the Kansas City area. She is pleased to be recognized as a female mariachi musician in the community.
“When people recognize me and congratulate me for playing Mexican music, (it) gives me joy and I feel very proud of it,” Banda said.
Of the many joyful moments Banda has experienced during her music career, the one she cherishes the most is playing for the first time for an audience, she said.
“I had a mentor who helped me a lot,” she said. “His name is Isaac Ortiz and he helped me as a musician and as a person. He pushed me to sing, and the first time I performed in front of an audience, he helped me tremendously. I owe to him the trust that I have in myself to perform in front of people.”
However, being a woman in the mariachi world has its challenges, Banda acknowledged.
“As women, we need to be careful,” she said. “We perform in different places and around people we don’t know. We gotta take care of ourselves and watch for the comments that people make. Also, sometimes people request that the mariachis that perform are just men.”
There is more to Banda’s musical life than mariachi music. She loves listening to classical music and playing in the community orchestra in Overland Park, Kansas, she said. She also enjoys playing for her church choir.
Banda’s role models are her parents because they have motivated her to fight for what she wants, she said.
“They have taught me to … (not) give up and to work to reach my goals,” Banda said.
In observance of Women’s History Month, Banda offers some words of positivity to the women in the community.
“Chicas, yes we can,” she said. “We as women are powerful and can do everything we want.”

Banda usa la música para conectarse a sus raíces

Cada marzo, para celebrar el Mes de la Historia de la Mujer, Dos Mundos honra a las latinas cuyos logros han ayudado y/o inspirado a la comunidad. Una de las ocho mujeres celebradas este año es la cantante y nativa de Texas, Claudia Banda.
Banda, cuyos padres son de Celaya, Guanajuato, México, llegó a Kansas City hace unos meses para conseguir un título en marketing y negocios internacionales en la Universidad de Kansas en Lawrence. Una de sus actividades extracurriculares es tocar en el Mariachi Estrella.
Desde que era niña, Banda siempre tuvo pasión por la música. Comenzó a tocar el violín a los 9 años y lo continuó haciendo en la escuela intermedia y secundaria. A los 15 años, comenzó a tocar música de mariachi.
“Estaba en la secundaria cuando me uní al club de mariachi de la escuela”, recordó Banda. “Mi maestra de español me invitó a unirme. Una vez parte de él, empecé a conocer a todos y luego buscamos a un maestro que supiera música de mariachi. Y desde entonces, he sido parte de los mariachis”.
Desde que se unió al Mariachi Estrella en 2021, Banda ha tocado en el Arrowhead Stadium y otros lugares en el área de Kansas City. Le enorgullece ser reconocida como parte de los mariachis en la comunidad.
“Cuando la gente me reconoce y me felicita por tocar música mexicana, me da alegría y me siento muy orgullosa de mi trabajo”, dijo.
Uno de los momentos más felices que ha experimentado en su carrera es la primera vez que tocó en frente de un público, dijo.
“Tuve un mentor que me ayudó bastante”, dijo. “Su nombre es Isaac Ortiz y me ayudó como músico y como persona. Me empujó a cantar y la primera vez que toqué en frente de un público, me ayudó tremendamente. Le debo la confianza que tengo cuando tocó en frente del público”.
Sin embargo, ser una mujer en el mundo del mariachi tiene sus desafíos, reconoce Banda.
“Como mujer, necesitamos ser cuidadosas”, dijo. “Tocamos en lugares diferentes y frente a gente que no conocemos. Tenemos que cuidarnos y tener cuidado con los comentarios que la gente hace. También, a veces las personas piden que los mariachis que toquen sólo sean hombres”.
Pero hay más en la vida musical de Banda que la música de mariachi. Le gusta escuchar música clásica y tocar en la orquestra comunitaria en Overland Park, Kansas, dijo. También disfruta tocar para el coro de su iglesia.
Sus modelos a seguir son sus padres porque la motivan a pelear por lo que quiere, dijo.
“Me enseñaron a no rendirme y a trabajar para alcanzar mis metas”, dijo.
En celebración del Mes de la Historia de la Mujer, Banda ofrece algunas palabras de positividad a las mujeres de la comunidad.
“Chicas, sí podemos”, dijo. “Como mujeres, somos muy poderosas y podemos hacer todo lo que queramos”.


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