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Los Changuitos Feos de Tucson asks for public’s help taking on new project to tell their story

Published: Jul. 13, 2021 at 10:36 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The first mariachi youth group in the U.S. was formed in Tucson, and now they’re looking to the community to bring a new project to life.

If you know mariachi music, you’ve almost certainly heard of Los Changuitos Feos de Tucson. The group was formed in 1964 and has become world renowned. But now some original members are ready to tell their stories.

To many, mariachi music is the heart and soul of Tucson.

And in the Old Pueblo, that music is synonymous with Los Changuitos Feos, which translates to “the ugly little monkeys.”

“The musical genius of young people that got together way back in 64 and decided their culture was valuable and music was part of our bloodline and so we decided you know, if this could happen--a band was put together and all of us joined in,” says Original Member Francisco Escobar.

And the band has withstood the test of time, with generations of youth continuing to play.

But now the Changuitos are taking on another project, reuniting the original members to re-record music and creating a film about the rich culture.

It’s called “Ugly Little Monkeys.”

“If we look at what’s happening today in Tucson with the whole youth mariachi movement, we can attribute all of that to what these boys started back then and a lot of people don’t know that,” says Executive Producer David Valdez.

But the story of the group’s success does come with a dark side. An Irish priest led the Changuitos, and allegations of sexual assault were made.

“There was rumor that one individual had been approached by the priest, and we can sugar coat it and continue to sweep it under the rug like it has been for 55 years but its a documentary and in order to be true, sometimes those bad things that happened, they have to be told,” says Valdez.

But Valdez says this is not an attack on the church, and though it will be talked about in this project, he will focus on the triumph and giving credit where it is due--to the musicians.

“Give them the support, applaud for them because they need to be recognized, not only from a community level, a Tucson level, but national level and worldwide level as well. these men need that credit.”

The group is now asking for donations from the public to help bring this plan to fruition. If you’d like to donate, click here.

Copyright 2021 KOLD News 13. All rights reserved.