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Cal Poly Pomona Experts Guide


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Associate Professor Jessie Vallejo

Jessie Vallejo is a noted Los Angeles mariachi performer, both vocalist and violinist. She has performed alongside of the most prominent figures in mariachi, including Mariachi Los Camperos de Nati Cano, Mariachi Sol de México de José Hernández, Mariachi Nuevo Tecalitlán and Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán. She has also been a member of Mariachi Lindas Mexicanas and Mariachi Tesoro led by Rebecca Gonzales, who was the first woman to play with a professional show mariachi group. She has performed at the Hollywood Bowl, Carnegie Hall, Smithsonian Folklife Festival, the Kennedy Center, the Terrace Theater, John Anson Ford Amphitheater, and Casa de Las Américas’ Ché Guevara Hall.


In 2024, Vallejo was selected one of Yamaha USA’s “40 Under 40” music teachers celebrated for “music education excellence.” The award honors “remarkable educators who bring innovation and passion into their classrooms… who are making a difference in growing and strengthening their music programs.” One recent example was a collaboration with Dr. Julian Saporiti (a.k.a. No-No Boy) on a mariachi arrangement of his song “The Best God Dam Band in Wyoming” for her students. She thought its expression about the overlapping experiences of Asian, Mexican and Central Americans in Pomona over the last century would resonate. That turned into a lengthier collaboration that included a Smithsonian Folklife recording, “La Banda Más Chingón en Wyoming,” and a joint performance with her students in Mariachi Los Broncos and in the Music of Mexico class joining No-No Boy on the CPP Recital Hall stage.


Vallejo’s research focuses on mariachi music, nationalism, and the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. She has also conducted research with Kichwa Otavalan and Kanien’keha musicians and teachers, publishing on cultural and sociolinguistic revitalization projects. Some of her work has focused on integrating ethnomusicological approaches in K-12 music education programs and affordable learning projects, like


Recent Grants and Fellowships:

  • Central Conservatory of Music, Beijing,  1st Music Confucius Institute Summer Program, Selected Participant, 2014
  • UCLA Dissertation Year Fellowship, 2013-2014
  • American Musicological Society, Howard Mayer Brown Fellowship, 2012-2013
  • UCLA Graduate Research Mentorship Academic Year Award, 2011-2012
  • Smithsonian Folkways, Center for Folklife & Cultural Heritage and Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Minority Fellowship Summer Intern, with Daniel Sheehy and Olivia Cadaval, Washington, DC, 2011

Selected Publications:



  • Mariachi USA, Hollywood Bowl, 2022
  • Latin GRAMMY Awards, Mariachi Lindas Mexicanas accompanied Mon La Ferte and Gloria Trevi, 2021
  • Albuquerque Mariachi Spectacular, Mariachi Tesoro, 2015
  • Opener for Mariachi Los Camperos de Nati Cano, 2018
  • Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia’s inauguration, Terrace Theater, 2014
  • Stephenson Memorial Concert Series, Berea, KY, 2016
  • Mexican Baile Folklorico, John Anson Ford Ampitheater, Hollywood, CA, 2012
  • Mexican Baile Folklorico, Alex Theater, Glendale, CA, 2012
  • Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, Washington, DC, 2013
  • Smithsonian Folklife Festival Stage, Washington, DC, 2013
  • Once Upon A Time in Peru, Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, Redondo Beach, CA, 2012
  • Crane Symphony Orchestra, Carnegie Hall, New York City, 2005


B.M., Music Education, Crane School of Music, State University of New York at Potsdam

M.A., Ph.D, Ethnomusicology, University of California Los Angeles


English – native language

Spanish – fluent in reading, writing, and speaking

Kichwa – advanced level in reading, writing, and speaking

Portuguese – intermediate level in reading and writing; beginning level speaking

Korean – basic level in reading, writing, and speaking

Italian – basic level in reading, writing, and speaking

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