FESTIBA 2018 Biographies

Invited Keynote Speakers, Performers and Authors

Jonathan Clark

Jonathan Clark

Shortly after California native Jonathan Clark heard mariachi music for the first time as a student at San José State University in 1975, he began accompanying a local ballet folklórico. In 1977, his desire to learn this music led him to Mexico City, where he received invitations to play with groups in Plaza Garibaldi. After Natividad de Santiago, guitarronist with Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán, became his mentor, he decided to move to Mexico indefinitely.
The next decisive event in Clark’s life occurred in 1979, when he met Silvestre Vargas, retired leader of Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán. After that encounter, he became an intuitive mariachi historian and researcher, interviewing seminal mariachi musicians and collecting testimonies and documents relating to the history of this music. He spent the next 12 years working as a guitarrón player in Plaza Garibaldi and researching mariachi history.
1n 1991, Clark returned to California, where he organized the San José State University Mariachi Workshop, which he directed for 8 years. He later spent two years directing the mariachi program at Stanford University. He frequently publishes articles and gives lectures on different aspects of mariachi history. In 2013, the State of Jalisco granted him the Vicente T. Mendoza award, the highest distinction the Mexican government confers upon researchers for the documentation and analysis of traditional mariachi music.

Alejandro Zambra


ALEJANDRO ZAMBRA is the author of My Documents, which was a finalist for the Frank O’Connor International short Story Award, and three previous novels: Ways of Going Home, The Private Lives of Tress, and Bonsai. His books have been translated into more than ten languages and have received several international prizes. His stories have appeared in the New Yorker, the Paris Review, Harper’s, Tin House, and McSweeney’s, among others. In 2010, he was named on of Grantas’s Best Young Spanish-Language Novelists, and he is a 2015-2016 Cullman Center fellow at the New York Public Library. He teaches literature at Diego Portales University, in Santiago, Chile.

Angela Cervantes


ANGELA CERVANTES is an award-winning author whose debut book, Gaby, Lost and Found, was named Best Youth Chapter book by the International Latino Book Awards and a Bank Street College of Education’s Best Books of 2014. Angela’s second middle grade novel, Allie, First At Last, was released by Scholastic in Spring 2016 and received a starred-review from Kirkus. Angela also authored the junior novelization for Disney/Pixar's animated-film, Coco. Angela's next novel, Me, Frida and the Secret of the Peacock Ring, will be released by Scholastic Press on March 27, 2018. She writes from her home in Kansas City and is presently working on her next middle grade novel to be released by Scholastic in 2019.


Juana Martinezz-Neal


JUANA MARTINEZZ-NEAL is a mixed media, traditional artist born in Lima, the capital of Peru. Alma and How She Got Her Name/Alma y cómo obtuse su nombre is her debut picture book as an author illustrator, will be published by Candlewick Press in April of 2018. Juana is also the illustrator of La Madre Goose (Putnam), La Princesa and the Pea (Putnam), and Swashby and the Sea (forthcoming Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). She was named to the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) Illustration Honor list in 2014, and was awarded the SCBWI Portfolio Showcase Grand Prize in 2012. She lives in Scottsdale, Arizona with her family. Presenting on: La Princesa and the Pea .

Duncan Tonatiuh’s

Duncan Tonatiuh

DUNCAN TONATIUN’s books have won numerous awards: Diego Rivera won the Pura Belpré Illustration Award; Pancho Rabbit won two Pura Belpré Honor awards, for illustration and narrative; Separate Is Never Equal won the prestigious Sibert Honor Award; and Funny Bones won the Sibert Award. Esquivel!: Space-Age Sound Artist and The Princess and the Warrior: A Tale of Two Volcanoes were named Pura Belpré Illustrator Honor Books. He lives in Mexico. Presenting on Danza! Amalia Hernandez and El Ballet Folklórico

Anna Meriano


ANNA MERIANO grew up in Houston with an older brother and a younger brother, but (tragically) no sisters. She graduated from Rice University with a degree in English and earned her MFA in creative writing with an emphasis on writing for children from the New School in New York. She has taught creative writing and high school English and works as a writing tutor. Anna likes reading, knitting, playing full-contact quidditch, and singing along to songs in English, Spanish, and ASL. Anna still lives in Houston with her dog, Cisco. Her favorite baked goods are the kind that don't fly away before you eat them. Presenting on: Love Sugar Magic

Ying Chang Compesine


YING CHANG COMPESTINE grew up in China and now lives in California. She is a popular author of children’s books, cook books and novels. Presenting on: The Chinese Emperor’s New Clothes.

Ana Aranda


ANA ARANDA was born and raised in Mexico City, where she studied design. From there, she moved to France, where she completed her undergraduate studies in illustration. She now lives in San Francisco, where she obtained her MFA in Illustration. Ana’s work has been featured in galleries and museums in the United States, France, Mexico, and Italy. In San Francisco, she has painted murals in the Mission District, for the Consulate General of Mexico, and for the prestigious de Young Museum. Her illustrations can be found in picture books published in France and Italy. Ana’s US debut picture book The Chupacabra Ate the Candelabra(written by Marc Tyler Nobleman, Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin) was released March 2017. Presenting on: The Chupacabra Ate the Candelabra

Rene Colato Lainez


RENÉ COLATO LAÍNEZ, the author of three bilingual picture books for children, was born in El Salvador, but moved to the United States in 1985. He was inspired to be a writer by his great uncle, Jorge Buenaventrua Laínez, at whose house he first learned the word “escritor.” He began writing as a child, putting in to words stories about his toys and school. As he grew older, civil war broke out in El Salvador and his family was forced to leave the country. On their difficult road to the United States, Colato Laínez wrote about his dreams, desires, and adventures.
René is a graduate of the Vermont College MFA program in Writing for Children & Young Adults and a bilingual elementary teacher at Fernangeles Elementary School in the Los Angeles Unified School District. René is a children’s literature columnist for LA BLOGA, the blog for Latino literature; LOS BLOGUITOS, the blog for children who are learning to speak Spanish; and Revista Iguana, a Spanish-language children’s magazine. He was named one of the “Top Ten New Latino Authors to Watch (and Read)” by latinostories.com. His website is www.renecolatolainez.com.
Presenting on: I am René the Boy/Soy René el niño

Xavier Garza


Born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley, XAVIER GARZA is a prolific author, artist and storyteller whose work focuses primarily on his experiences growing up in the small border town of Rio Grande City. He graduated from the University of Texas – Pan American in 1994 with a BFA. Xavier Garza’s stories and illustrations have appeared in such magazines and newspapers as El Mañana, The Monitor, TABE, The Mesquite Review, The Corpus Christi Caller Times, and The Milwaukee Spanish Journal. He has been included in the anthologies Aztlanahuac Project: Cantos al Sexto Sol (Wings Press, 2002), Penn English: Chicano Writings (Penn State, 2001) and Once Upon a Cuento (Curbstone Press, 2003). Presenting on: The Donkey Lady Fights La Llorona and Other Stories


Michael Austin


MICHAEL AUSTIN is an Assistant Professor of Media, Journalism, and Film at Howard University in Washington, D.C. where he serves as coordinator of the Interdisciplinary Studies Program in the Cathy Hughes School of Communications. He holds an interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Humanities - Aesthetic Studies (now offered as a Ph.D. in Arts and Technology) from the University of Texas at Dallas and music degrees from UT-Austin and UT-San Antonio. Austin is editor of the anthology Music Video Games: Performance, Politics, and Play, and his research focuses on music and sound in interactive, emerging, and social media. He is currently co-Editor-and-Chief of the philosophy journal Evental Aesthetics, and he serves on the editorial boards of the College Music Society's journal College Music Symposium (book reviews) and its Cultural Expressions in Music book series. He also serves as founding secretary of the international Society for the Study of Sound and Music in Games. His presentation will be: Mariachi Mario: Translating Video Game Music Transculturally in Online Cover Videos



ARTRAGEOUS, THE INTERACTIVE ART AND MUSIC EXPERIENCE Get ready to experience art and music gone wild with the interactive troupe Artrageous! Artrageous blends popular music, dance, onstage performance, art, theater, and a rollicking spirit that will delight the audience! Artists on stage create giant portraits at lighting speed using their hands and brushes. (Purchase tickets at patron.utrgv.edu; call 956-665-3881 for more information)


NU FLAMENCO Dance & Guitar Concert
NIURCA MARQUEZ has an extremely wide range, as a creator and performer in flamenco and other contemporary dance forms. JOSE LUIS DE LA PAZ is an award-winning guitarist, recognized in all the disciplines of the Flamenco Art. (Purchase tickets at patron.utrgv.edu; call 956-665-3881 for more information)

Mariachi Sol de Mexico

JOSÉ HERNÁNDEZ is the founder of Mariachi Sol de México and Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles. He is considered the mariachi leader in the United States, has worked with many famous musicians in Latin music, and is recognized internationally as an innovative force behind mariachi music in the last thirty years, both musically as well as in mariachi education. With Mariachi Sol de México, José Hernández tours and performs throughout Europe, Asia and Latin America. He has recorded with the most respected and recognized names in the industry, including Selena, Vicente Fernandez, Luis Miguel, Bryan Adams and the Beach Boys, and has received four Grammy nominations.