This award was generously supported by The Rockefeller Foundation. _
Born in Jalisco, Mexico, into a family of mariachi musicians, Natividad Cano is recognized by many as one of the masters of his genre. He came to Los Angeles in 1957 as a member of Mariachi Chapala when it was one of two mariachi ensembles in the city. In 1961 he founded Los Camperos, a mariachi group, which is still in existence. He toured with the group for eight years and finally opened the restaurant La Fonda as a financially viable way to perform while staying at home; this restaurant, which he still owns, is a Los Angeles institution. Los Camperos has recorded 10 albums and was nominated for a Grammy for its most recent effort,Llegaron Los Camperos/The Camperos Have Arrived. Cano is almost single-handedly responsible for the wide reach of mariachi music in the United States and has done much to preserve, perpetuate, and innovate in this genre of music over his 50-year career. He received a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1990.