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Banda Brillo de San Miguel Cuevas
Banda Brillo de San Miguel Cuevas, Fresno, 2016.
Banda Brillo de San Miguel Cuevas, Fresno, 2016.
Photo by Amy Kitchener, courtesy of the Alliance for California Traditional Arts

Based in the San Joaquin Valley, Banda Brillo de San Miguel Cuevas is a ten-piece wind band formed in 2005 by Emiliano Bernardino Flores, an immigrant farmworker in Fresno.

Flores named the band for his memory of the brilliant rays of sun shining through the windows of his childhood church. The name also suggests how the band, comprised of many family members, represents the village of San Miguel Cuevas in the Juxtlahuaca district of the Mixteca Baja in northern Oaxaca, Mexico. Every town in this region supports at least one wind band that plays a central role at town celebrations for Catholic feast days, birthdays, funerals, quinceañeras, día de los muertos, and other occasions.

Photo by Amy Kitchener, courtesy of the Alliance for California Traditional Arts
Photo by Amy Kitchener, courtesy of the Alliance for California Traditional Arts

The group’s repertoire includes the most popular Mixtec dance rhythm, the chilena, plus a wide range of traditional regional Mexican and Oaxacan music, including rancheras, boleros, marches, and polkas. As players learn by ear without notation, playing the repertoire and passing it onto the next generation is critical to preserving their music.

The band members live in Fresno, Selma, Kerman, and Madera, where many of their San Miguel Cuevas townspeople reside.

Musicians

  • Emiliano Flores, bandleader, saxophonist
  • Eric Flores, trombonist
  • Pedro Flores, sousaphone player
  • Raúl López, trumpeter
  • Felix Morales, bass drummer
  • Juan Carlos Morales, timbales and snare drum player
  • Jose Luis Ramos, clarinetist

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