Mariachi outfit and its history
The Mariachi outfit and its history
HISTORY OF MARIACHI MUSIC
Mexicans love music. Everything from intimate moments to public fiestas has its own soundtrack. Before the arrival of the Spaniards in the New World, music, singing, and dancing were a prominent part of social and religious life. Indigenous rulers and priests sponsored community rituals in public plazas accompanied by well-prepared musicians.
Rural Mexican music undoubtedly grew out of these Mesoamerican and European roots, with African traditions mixed in. Like the mestizo people of the country, it is uniquely Mexican.
Full of rhythm, passion, and stories, animistic and primal, it was the source from which sprang modern mariachi music.
We owe almost everything we know about the culture of pre conquest and early colonial times in Mexico for a few men. The primary historian of the period were Bernardino de Sahagun, a Franciscan missionary who recorder everything he learned from the Nahua (Aztecs) he ministered to; Diego Duran, Dominican chronicler with a lively interest in the native population; and Bernal Diaz a conquistador who wrote an eyewitness account.
The instruments of preconquest Mexicans that have survived are the percussive instruments still used in the music of Latin America- drums, rattles, and scrapers- and primitive wind instruments- flutes, clay trumpet. And conch shell horns.
As many as thousand Africans arrived at the port of Veracruz on slave ships during the early colonial period, and with them came the rhythms and musical traditions of western Africa, These slaves became an important part of the Mexican mestizaje(mix of peoples) that created the population from which regional Mexican music forms grew.
THE SPANISH CONTRIBUTION
European music came on the boats with the Spanish invasion of Mexico in 1519. Córtez’s party included musicians who entertained the troops, singing and playing the harp and Spanish vihuela. As the army made its way toward Tenochtitlan, capital of the notoriously fierce and wealthy Nahua empire.
Spanish festivals and saints' days mixed with indigenous ceremonies, quickly becoming an integral part of life in New Spain and occasions for great celebrations.
THE ROOTS OF MARIACHI MUSIC
Provincial mariacheros were villagers who made their living in simple ways. They took their status very seriously, often traveling long distances to play where they were needed. They sometimes slept on the ground after playing day and night for fiestas and saint’s days. Some indigenous mariachis took vows of celibacy in order to be pure enough to receive the gift of music of the gods.
Provincial musicians wore their everyday clothes and, depending on their subregion, used some combination of violin, guitar, guitars de golpe, vihuela, harp, and guitarron. Occasionally groups included wind instruments such as the clarinet, saxophone, or cornet.
Traditional mariachi music developed as part of the mestizo culture but was also adopted by indigenous communities.
Patricia Greathouse, MARIACHI, Gibbs Smith Publishers, 2009