Although California is rich in history, few are aware of it's beginning which led up to the Gold Rush of 1849. Until this population-boom came, the life styles were formed as ranchos and their social gatherings took place in the haciendas which were at far distances since many ranchos were 50,000 acres and larger. A few days journey were required so the visits were on special occasions and for days at a time.
Of course these fiestas were a time for everyone to gather to socialize, sing and dance with the music inspired by their different cultural backgrounds. In the early days of California the residents were from many lands such as Spain, step-mother Mexico and European countries including France, Austria, Ireland and Poland.
In the description of early California music, Journalist and Folklorist Charles F. Lummis said "There were songs of the soil and songs of poets and of troubadours in this far, lone, beautiful, happy land."
Jose Arias who at an early age grew-up with and was friends with many of the pioneer families that settled here in their California ranchos. He developed a group of musicians who projected the spirit and flavor of California. He included his brothers-In Law, Antonio, Alberto, Hilario and Jesus Corral. This group was the Arias Troubadours.
The Corral/Arias families have maintained their involvement with the "Arias Troubadours" for more almost 100 years. Over the years more than 20 family members have played with the group. The members now include the fifth generation of Arias and Corral families. Jose Arias was insistent that his "Troubadours" would be faithful to the music of early California and to it's many influences not only from Mexico but from Spain and Europe. He added singers and dancers and became the foremost proponents of this music. The group has often been sent by State and Southern California local governments and organizations such as the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, the Lions Club and other service organizations as official ambassadors to represent California, its music, songs and dances. They also performed on the Orpheum-Keith Vaudeville circuit, San Francisco Worlds Fair in 1937.
That tradition continued with his sons Alfonso and Antonio ("Tony") as the Arias Troubadours played at the historic Mission Inn in Riverside, Ca. during the late 50's and through most of the 60's. At the same time the group was recording(The recording of "Tomas Dooley" was listed on the hits list) and appearing on popular television programs such as "Route 66", "The George Burns Show. Today the Arias Troubadours are one of only a few exponents of this early California music. The personality of the culture is performed in the traditional flavor of this music, certainly no other group has the history of maintaining this rich cultural asset of California.