Nov 23, 2022 - News

Utah's mariachi child prodigies take the stage

A girl in a colorful dress with a hoop skirt sings in front of children in an elementary school gymnasium.

Kaylee Bucio, 11, sings in front of an admiring audience at Emerson Elementary in Salt Lake City. Photo: Erin Alberty/Axios

Utah is home to a disproportionate number of children and, arguably, an unusual density of talent in the performing arts.

  • So when I went to an elementary school festival earlier this month, maybe I shouldn't have been so surprised to stumble upon the best child singers I've ever heard.

What's happening: Salt Lake County is home to two rising stars of mariachi, and they are just 11 and 12 years old.

  • But if they were 18 and 19, I still would have fallen out of my chair when they started singing.

Details: Kimberly Jaramillo, 12, sounds like a Disney princess come to life. Little girls in the front row were literally reaching up in adoration, trying to touch her flowing skirts as she sang.

  • In fact, the Magna singer is now recording an album of Disney songs in mariachi style.
  • Her father, also a musician, began taking her to band practices when she was about 5, she said. "He showed me my first mariachi song: La Chancla," Jaramillo told Axios.

Meanwhile: Kaylee Bucio and her enormous voice burst onto the national stage three years ago. At age 8, she was named grand champion of the prestigious Mariachi Vargas competition in San Antonio.

  • Bucio said her mom noticed she could recognize and repeat melodies before she was a year old, and she began studying when she was 4.
  • The West Jordan tween also has recordings on Amazon and has performed around the country. You should watch this kid work a crowd.

Of note: Both girls study with Martha Chavez, a longtime Utah vocal coach and professional singer.

What we're watching: Honestly, it would be great to see them someday represent Salt Lake during the national anthem at a Super Bowl or on a Broadway stage.

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