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Six-year-old Pueblo girl leads Mariachi Diamante

Phoenix Benavidez leads her family mariachi band
Posted at 7:25 AM, Jan 25, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-26 10:46:10-04

Phoenix Benavidez is more than just a six-year-old who loves school and Disney.

Her powerful voice leads Mariachi Diamante in Pueblo.

"She hears music, and she finds her little toy piano in the corner. She feels the need to figure out the melody on the toy piano with no sheet music, no nothing," said Kahla Benavidez, the six-year-olds mom.

Phoenix said her favorite things about mariachi is that it makes money and is beautiful.

Both her parents said it was natural that she began singing by the age of three-years-old.

"[Her dad] was always practicing. We were dancing. We were listening to the music. So she's just always been around it," said Kahla.

Phoenix's dad, David, said he and his wife never discouraged expressiveness as their daughter was growing up.

"We never discouraged loud noises, even if she was [drumming] on pots and pans and singing Disney songs. I joke that she has a very powerful voice because we never gave her a binky," said David.

For him, mariachi is a way for his family to reconnect with their Mexican roots.

"We're more American than anything. I've just reclaimed what has been our heritage, or what my namesake is," said David.

The group performs at events outside of weddings and birthday parties.

Between national and international performances, the family said the stakes can be high; even emotionally challenging.

"To really honor [mariachi], you have to give up your life. We've played for people as it's been their last days. It's heavy on your heart when you get that phone call and they say, 'please, can you come over today? The doctor says this person can leave any moment,'" said David.

Phoenix dedicates nearly 16 hours a week to practice split between the violin, trumpet, vihuela, and singing.

"All of it is so important because it just gives you a really warm feeling," said Kahla.

When she grows up, Phoenix said, she aspires to be a mariachi.

"Mariachi makes me feel happy and with people, not alone," said Phoenix.

The family is now in residence at Los Girasoles Restaurant in Pueblo, performing every Thursday night from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.