Traditional mariachi music


 Traditional mariachi music 


In Mexico, like in many countries around the world, the most popular music is international pop influenced by what’s played in the US, and the average Mexican is no more an expert in their country’s musical traditions than you are in bluegrass. Just like everywhere else, you’ll hear rock, pop, and rap in bars. However, there are many forms of traditional Mexican music. The most well-known of these is undoubtedly Mariachi


You’re probably unfamiliar with ranchera and huapango, but you’ve likely heard of mariachi before. It refers to a style of music as much as to the band that plays it, which is generally made up of guitarists, violinists, and trumpet players. Although five or six musicians are enough to form a band, it’s not uncommon to see groups of several dozen musicians. The lyrics are usually about love, adventure, or Mexico’s revolutionary history, and celebrate good-natured mustached machismo.


For a long time, the word “mariachi” was thought to be derived from the French word “mariage,” due to French intervention in Mexico in the 1860s and the common presence of bands at weddings. While the word’s origin remains open to debate, it is now agreed that it predates the second half of the 19th century and has nothing to do with France. 


Mariachi is probably the best-known Mexican musical style in the world, and some of its leading musicians hail from Latin America or the southern United States. These days, any song in any style can be performed mariachi-style, but most of the repertoire consists of songs written and composed especially for mariachi. Many are anonymous, and their origins have been lost in the magma of undocumented folk traditions. Even today, classics such as “La Negra” are played by almost every mariachi band. Musicians generally know hundreds of tunes, and at weddings and other celebrations, audiences will request particular songs.



Every year, the International Mariachi Festival in Guadalajara brings together the top bands from Mexico and beyond. But you won’t have to look far in any Mexican city to find a restaurant or club featuring live music. And if your feet are itching and you’ve had a little tequila, you can try to imitate those who are doing the zapateado, the dance generally associated with mariachi music. Be careful you don’t tire yourself out too quickly, though, because it’s fast!