Mariachi: 7 Historical Facts and Best Mariachi Bands 2020

  • AUTHOR: midhat
  • POSTED ON: November 24, 2020

Google doodle is celebrating the most classical element of Mexico’s rich cultural heritage and the country’s most celebrated musical genre – The Mariachis…

Celebrating Mariachi

If your curiosity has driven you here, it’s very likely that you already have a taste for the lively and unique format of mariachi music.

But do you know that Mexico’s iconic music has a rich and fascinating history?

Mariachi music is widely considered as Mexico’s most symbolic legacies to the world. On this day in 2011, UNESCO recognized this musical genre as an Intangible Heritage for Humanity.

In honor of this, we have gathered seven lesser-known interesting facts about Mariachi’s history:

1. It has Religious Origins

Source: wikipedia

No matter how magnificent it may sound, the first rhythms related to these famous musicians had their roots from the chants devoted to the Virgin Mary of the River. It has been widely believed that when the missionaries entered Cocula, Jalisco, it was discovered that the Chimalhuacan indigenous people’s descendants, known as ‘Cocas’ had rich and great musical traditions.

Cocas were skilled harmonious rhythms’ interpreters with instruments carved and created by them. The friars also utilize the music to proselytize the community, which began to use violins and guitars mixed with shells’ sounds, reed-made flutes, and other Mesoamerican origin’s instruments such the teponaztlis – carved in wood, one-piece drums.

It marked the origin of a new genre, comprising the guitarron and the vihuela afterward, two of the significant mariachi music tones.

2. Where the term ‘Mariachi’ driven from?

While this word’s origin ‘mariachi’ is widely disputed, it traced back to everything from the indigenous name for a tree species to the French language. Some believe that this word has driven from the word in French ‘mariage’, (marriage) as the mariachi group used to perform mostly in weddings occurring during the French intervention. Other claims that it’s the name of an indigenous tree species of Michoacán and Jalisco.

As per the most accepted theory, the word is drawn from the song of the Cocas to the Virgin Mary of the River, which is known as “the song of Mary.” Or “Maria ce son.”

3. The music was disdained by the aristocracy

It was widely considered as rural music at the 20th-century beginning. Mexican jetsetters regarded mariachi music as non-appealing and not dignitary to played in the big cities. The music started to find a place among the precious Mexican folklore when its songs were part of the music repertoire to rejoice the 75th birthday of President Porfirio Diaz’s in 1905.

After two years, the Mariachi wore his iconic suit for the first time during the offered feast to the US Secretary of State Elihu Root. The typical mariachi suit includes a jacket and trousers with a bow tie, delicate embroidery, silver and gold button placket, a sombrero and boots. Because of many similarities, the mariachi suit is mostly mistaken with the outfit of charro. The shape of the Mariachi’s crown has two pedradas or dents on the sides, whereas the charro’s has four for protection while handling the cattle.

4. Rancheras was sang by Queen Isabel

The Mexican movies of the fifties and forties have been significant in promoting the Mariachi’s image. It’s inevitable for movie actors to be ranchera singers (famous Mexican music) and sing along with the mariachis’ group in order to be successful. Actors like Jorge Negrete or Pedro Infante have made a successful career like this.

Chilean writer, Hernan Riveria Letelier, depicts in his novel “La Reina Isabel cantaba rancheras” (also translated as “Queen Isabel sang songs of love), the sordid world of saltprete exploitation in northern Chile, through a character named Queen Isabel, a prostitute with many gifted talents including music ranchera’s pronounced taste.

The cultural significance of Mexican music is not a secluded phenomenon confined to specific geography; in fact, there is an unbelievable admiration for this music in regions and countries such as Peru, Columbia or Venezuela. It’s a customary tradition in such countries and several others in Latin America that people must pay for the group of mariachis’ services to “give the serenata” to brides to create an environment in every kind of ceremony.

5. Garibaldi, the great legends’ cradle

Source: Pinterest

In Mexico City’s historical center, Garibaldi is the most crucial forum mariachis in the Mexican capital. People can visit the plaza and engage with the bands playing songs in exchange for an affordable amount of money. Many people visit this place to get some tequila shots and enjoy the mesmerizing music that connects them with the love life.

This place has given rise to many legends of Mexican popular music, including Alfredo Jimenez and Chavela Vargas- the two legendary products of Garibaldi.

Alfredo Jimenez is a well-known Mexican popular music composer and regarded as the founder of a style influenced by emotionality and passion. His songs’ lyrics are mostly based on love and heartbreak. He mostly talked about alcohol, as men weeping can only be described through drunkenness. He died when he was 48 and left much iconic music, such as “Paloma Negra,” “No Violence,” “Ella” and “Si nos Dejan.”

Chavela Vargas, another legend who came out from Garibaldi, was a close companion of Jimenez. She is mostly known for her rendition of Mexican rancheras, and for her contribution to other popular Latin American music. She has an iconic style, string vocals that make her songs even more influential and heartbreaking.

6. Dancing and Mariachis – an enchanting duo

Source: Pinterest

Mariachi is not only played but also danced! The mariachi music mostly goes along with traditional for of dances associated with the “son jalicuense” and the “son jarocho,” the “zapateado,” a form of dancing with Spanish origins. In the “zapateado” style, the dancer hits their boot heels to the floor, producing rapid rhythms and a few syncopations, which serve as another instrument in the music. Dancers, nowadays, dance with the glass of water in their hands to show their balance and absolute control.

7. The World’s best Mariachi!

Tecalitlan’s Mariachi Vargas is considered the world’s best Mariachi, as he was the first Mariachi to perform at the United Nations Palace in a major concert. 

The most popular Mexico Mariachi Bands

·         Mariachi Vargas de Tecatitlán.

·         Mariachi Internacional Guadalajara.

·         Mariachi Mexico de Pepe Villa.

·         Mariachi Cobre.

·         Mariachi Nuevo Tecalitlán.

·         Mariachi Tepaltepec.

·         Mariachi Los Camperos.

Updated November 24, 2020
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