Mariachi is splendor, a taste
of Mexico, musical harmony, an emblem that unites all people
to proclaim their joy to the world and proudly preserve
their roots. At times mischievous, at other times melancholy,
the valiant mariachi includes guitars, violins, harps, vihuelas
(a rhythm guitar), and trumpets which lift up notes and
rhythms to produce a contingent of colors. Mariachi is the
voice that accompanies profound emotion. It is contagious
to all who hear its songs.
origin of the word mariachi has spawned different versions
throughout history. Some point at the French word for marriage,
but other studies proved it could be traced in the Nahualt
term MARIA CE SON, found in a prayer to the Virgin of Pila
and that was mispronounced as Maria-she or Maria-shi. In
the early days mariachis didn’t have brass instruments,
but back in the 1930’s trumpets broke in and in 1949
Pedro Iturralde became the first man ever to record a mariachi
song using two trumpets.
One of the world’s best-known mariachi
bands is the Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan, founded by Silvestre
Vargas with a bunch of relatives and friends that he taught
to read music scores. That was quite an about-face because
until then mariachi musicians used to play only by ear.
He was the first to dress performers with campirano uniforms,
pants and shirts made of blankets that eventually got a
new lease on life with many of the greatest singers of the
past century. Those uniforms resembled the charro garment
with long lines of buttons, spats, and boots. Mariachis
are linked to the state of Jalisco, though they now are
found throughout the country. One thing is certain: they
all croon to the purest and hottest feelings of the soul,
from love and happiness to broken hearts and sorrow.
of strength and happiness, mariachi is elegant and vivacious.
In an evening festival, a magical concert, or accompanying
your meal on the beach or in a restaurant, the brilliance
and heat of a town belts in unison with the traditional
melodies of the mariachi. Mariachi music is a town’s
ambassador of smiles and pain, a banner of national sentiment.
The maricachi imbues every poem with heaven, valleys, mountains,
lakes, and flowers. Listening to it, living it, and enjoying
it are pleasures that Mexicans share with the entire world.
While in Cancun you will encounter roving
mariachi bands offering to play for you on the beach or
in restaurants. The work of a mariachi is held in high regard
here, not at all akin to how some people might consider
'street musicians' in the U.S. or Canada. No decent party
or celebration in this part of Mexico is considered complete
without a mariachi band, and you'll often hear this boistrous
music coming from houses and backyards of families celebrating
a birthday, graduation, coming-of-age party for a daughter,