marketplace.org – By Robert Garrova – The sun was setting in Los Angeles as a mariachi band took to the streets in protest. They performed a few staples on foot, leading demonstrators to what’s known as Mariachi Plaza. For more than half a century, the space has been a meeting ground for mariachi musicians. It’s a cultural spot in Los Angeles — a setting where these musicians live, work and have roots going back generations. Mariachis like Luis Valdivia, who explained why he was there. “The rent has gone up for some 60, 70 percent. For us it has gone up 80 percent,” Valdivia said. For Valdivia, who’s lived here for more than 20 years, that means his rent had increased by $800 a month. Valdivia makes a modest living here, usually charging about $300 a gig (to be split between him and his band). He notes wryly that he can’t afford to live in the place named for his profession.