Las Rancheritas y su Mariachi
Among treasured findings is the FIRST US all-female, Las Rancheritas y su Mariachi (1964-1980) who were supported by US House of Representatives Eligio “Kika” de la Garza, II. He even sent them to entertain the troops at the very heart of the front lines of the Vietnam war zone. Fatigues and all!
Queta y Cookie, "Las Rancheritas," first started as "Hermanitas Elizondo" when Queta was about 11 or 12 and "Cookie" was about 5 or 6. Their father, Rafael Elizondo, played a variety of instruments and as a result taught Queta to play guitar and vihuela, and Cookie to play the upright double bass. Cookie later switched from the upright double bass to play the guitarron. The 3 of them (Queta on guitar and vocals, Cookie on Upright Bass and vocals, and Rafael on either Piano Accordion or Violin) performed all over South Texas. Many of the songs they performed were composed by Rafael Elizondo. One of his more famous compositions are "Alma Enamorada," and "Te Quiero Mas."
Years later when Elvira and Criola were of age, they joined in the family group each playing the trumpet. The group was now complete with a Violinist, Guitar, Guitarron and 2 Trumpets. They stopped performing when their father passed away in 1962, but a few years later after many requests, as well as being invited to perform at the White House they formed a full mariachi complete with several violinists from a local symphony orchestra. The 4 sisters decided not to take the violinists to Vietnam in 1968 due to the severity of the war, but the "mariachi" was never broken up. "Las Rancheritas" were part of a USO Tour with Comedic Actress, Martha Raye.
Hope you enjoy the rare photos from their collection.