Mariachi is Mexican ranchera music sung by bands or orchestras dressed in fancy charro (gentleman cowboy) outfits. It is one of the Regional Mexican forms, the most popular category of Latin music in the United States.
Friday, March 20, 2020
Purchase, New York
(near White Plains)
The 2020 Grammy winner for Best Regional Mexican Music Album is the orchestra that took mariachi out of the cantina, to La Fonda mariachi theater, and then onto the world’s greatest stages.
Sunday, June 21, 2020
CARNEGIE HALL CITYWIDE
NYC’s Latin Grammy-winning All-Woman Mariachi plays a FREE concert
Mariachi and ranchera are related. Rancheras are Mexican folk songs. They are usually sung solo with a simple guitar accompaniment. Mariachis are bands or orchestras. They play wearing fancy charro gentleman cowboy outfits.
From simple roots in the cantina (small town Mexican bar), mariachi has grown into a festive party music popular across the Latin world. It’s traditional to have mariachi for big birthdays and weddings. Mariachi songs are also popular in karaoke which is often the only entertainment in small towns.
The typical mariachi group has guitars, violins and trumpets. The guitars include the iconic guitarrón bass guitar and a vihuela for leads.
Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán is one of Mexico’s oldest and most famous mariachis. The band was founded in the late 1890s by Gaspar Vargas. It backed many famous singers like Lola Beltrán and appeared in many movies. The son Silvestre Vargas and music director Ruben Fuentes standardized many mariachi arrangements.
Mariachi Los Camperos is one of the most famous mariachis in the United States. They founded the first mariachi dinner theater, La Fonda, in Los Angeles. There they trained two generations of mariachis in the United States. Los Camperos were one of the orchestra’s behind Linda Ronstadt’s iconic album “Canciones de mi Padre” (1987). They were also the orchestra for New York City Opera’s first mariachi opera “Cruzar la cara de la luna” (Crossing the face of the moon) in 2018.
Flor de Toloache is one of New York City’s most famous mariachis. The all-woman band has won a Latin Grammy.
“La Cucaracha” (The Cockroach) is one of the most famous mariachi songs. “Las Mañanitas” is played for birthdays and patron saint festivals.
Mariachi’s origins are lost in the haze of time, but rancheras are country music. The rural form developed an urban form in Guadalajara, Jalisco. In the 1920s, radio was just coming of age. After the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920) the new Mexican government promoted mariachi in an effort to forge a Mexican identity.
Mariachi in New York City
Saturday, October 5, 2019
PROSPECT PARK, Brooklyn ~ Carnegie Hall Citywide has the fiercely independent folk singer bring her post-Mariachi style to a Latinx Pride celebration at First Saturdays at the Brooklyn Museum. FREE
New York City Opera
Jazz at Lincoln Center
Time Warner Center
Broadway at 60th St
Thursday – Sunday
January 25 – 28, 2018