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The Mariachi

AMBASSADOR OF THE MEXICAN

The mariachi reeks and sounds in every corner of the country and its music and costumes represent us in the world. No one disputes that in just 120 years, it has become one of the emblems of Mexico.

However, its origin is still a source of controversial waters. The researchers can not agree where it came from and, above all, who baptized it. Although Jorge Negrete has said it, not everyone agrees on the following sentence:
For some, the term mariachi comes from the French word mariage meaning marriage. The story goes that during the French occupation some soldiers of the invading army approached a party in Jalisco and when asking about the music they entertained, someone told them: it is a wedding. That is, a mariage. The soldiers spread the word and the name spread.

But for other researchers, this is a myth, because there are testimonies of the term mariachi before the French arrived. This version maintains that it was the Cocas Indians who settled in Coculán who gave rise to the tradition, because when assimilating the musical influences of the missionaries who tried to evangelize them, they soon built instruments similar to the Europeans and adapted them to their own music. They invented the vihuela and guitarrón, and included them in a group that played the music for their religious and pagan celebrations.

One of those songs, was dedicated to the Virgin Mary of the River and in a paragraph said: "Maria ce son" that according to scholars means "the Song of Mary". When pronouncing "Maria Ce..." it seemed that they said "María Shi" or "María She" that sounds like "mariachi".

Regardless of its origin, the tradition of mariachi music grew slowly in popular taste, especially during the nineteenth century and in the region formed by Jalisco, Nayarit, Colima, Michoacán and Guerrero. However, as a product of the rural, it was not well seen within the Francophile aristocratic sphere of that time, until President Porfirio Diaz took a mariachi to liven up his birthday and then included it in the reception of the American ambassador. The mariachi happened then, little by little, to be a picturesque group, accepted within the urban circles.

Later, Lázaro Cárdenas invited Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán to accompany him throughout the country in his campaign for the presidency. It is said that it was there that the musicians changed the costumes of muleteers for the traditional clothing of the charros.

However, what undoubtedly represented the definitive impulse of the mariachi in Mexican culture was the cinema...

After the war, when the country tried to reorganize and change the subject, the films used mariachi music as the soundtrack of national cinema. Figures like Pedro Infante, Jorge Negrete, Javier Solís, Miguel Aceves Mejía and later Vicente Fernández, were popularized with the help of the mariachi and helped the mariachi to become popular.

The figure of the Mexican charro was imbedded in the unconscious of a country and of a whole continent. Ranchera music became the main reflection of everything Mexican and mariachi crossed our borders and traveled as far as India, Japan, Russia and Australia.

A question is common among those who seek to become more familiar with the subject: what is a mariachi?

The technique says that it is a musical group that plays sones, rancheras, corridos, huapangos, boleros and even cumbias. It usually has twelve members and its instruments are the violin, the vihuela, the guitarrón, the guitar and the trumpets.

The non-technical explanation tells us that mariachi is the music that accompanies us as a nation, in good times and bad. The mariachi is a reinterpretation of the world through the mestizo fruit that we are ... The mariachi is our blues, our tango, our classical music, and our classical music.

El Mariachi

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El Mariachi

All you must know about The Mariachi here, in our audio guide

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