Some Articles or sites on Mariachi Music

A Brief History on the Mariachi Tradition
an article by Jonathan Clark
"ETYMOLOGY. The consensus of modern scholars is that the word mariachi is indigenous to Mexico. The now-extinct Coca language of central Jalisco is that most frequently cited as its probable source...."

A History Of Women In Mariachi Music
a pictorial chronology by Dr. Leonor X. Perez and Laura Sobrino
Clarification:  This research documents the participation of female mariachi musicians in Mexico and the United States.  A female mariachi <musician> performs as an instrumentalist  in a mariachi ensemble, with a mariachi uniform matching the rest of the group, on any of the following standard mariachi instruments:  violin, trumpet, vihuela, guitar, guitarra de golpe, guitarrón or acoustic harp.  The gender combination within the mariachi group in the research is based on both mixed-gender and all-female.  The ranchera singer tradition is an entirely different performance tradition, albeit related to the ranchera genre, which includes mariachi performance.  (A ranchera singer is many times accompanied by a mariachi ensemble in live performance.)  A ranchera singer is not considered a member of the mariachi unless performing in the group with an instrument from the above list..."

A Look at the History of Women in Mariachi Music
an article by Laura Sobrino
In the mariachi world, there are currently many claims to "firsts". Since a history of women in mariachi music had never been documented, ignorance and deceptive advertising took reign. In Mexico, there are yellow pages containing ads in which groups call themselves "the first all-female mariachi in the world." Also, in the United States it is common to hear announcers introduce all-female mariachi groups as "the first." However, our work, supported by legitimate documentation, shows a tradition of all-female mariachi groups that started at least fifty years ago.
It is our hope that our documentation will bring to light the importance of women in mariachi music over many years, as well as their participation in this music genre, and to dispel some misinformation that the public is receiving..."

Analyzing Mariachi Traditional and Popular Song Forms
a guide for the mariachi student by Laura Sobrino
"The Son Jaliscience-Perhaps the most traditional song form from the mariachi genre.  Has both instrumental and versed songs in this form, mostly in major keys.  Some minor key sections exist..."

Chicana Traditions, Continuity and Change
Edited by Norma E. Cantú and Olga Nájera-Ramírez University of Illinois, 2002.
"Transgressing the Taboo: A Chicana's Voice in the Mariachi World," by Leonor Xóchitl Pérez, Ph.D., pg. 143.

Conference  Concert at the Degollado Theater: 9th Mariachi Conference in Guadalajara
by Sally Vega
"The concerts were held in the elegant and magnificant Degollado Theatre in the middle of the Historic Center of Guadalajara..."

Guadalajara: 9th Mariachi Conference (pictures and information)
by Sally Vega
"At any time you will see mariachis either playing or standing around waiting to be hired. The plaza is surrounded by CD stores and the Mercado Libertad is next door. Although I went there without incident I was warned by people to be careful in this area though (pick pockets)..."

Mariachi article
by Kate Woods
"The following story is taken from excerpts of an "unpublishable manuscript" that Kate Woods is still working on. The adventures of "Georgia James" are actually the combined real experiences of Kate Woods and Cindy Reifler, possibly the only two white females who for the past decade have made their living playing with mariachis in the cantinas of the Greater Bay Area..."

Mariachi Folk Harp (Arpa Grande de Jalisco)
by Sergio Alonso
An article on the rural, urban and structural characteristics of the traditional Mariachi folk harp by Sergio Alonso of the Mariachi Los Camperos.

The Jalisco harp (arpa jalisciense) is the type of harp traditionally found in Jalisco, Mexico. It has long held two roles: That of being played solo, and that of being part of a mariachi. It is also used in the neighboring state of Michoacán, where, of course, it is called "arpa michoacana" (Michoacán harp). It is but one of many distinct types of harps found in various parts of Mexico, (Jalisco, Michoacán, Veracruz , Zacatecas, Sonora, San Luís Potosí, and Chiapas, to name a few), and throughout Latin America (Paraguay, Ecuador, Perú, Venezuela, Colombia, Guatemala).... more

Mariachi Trumpet Articulation Guide
by Laura Sobrino
I. The Son Jaliscience
The following examples are typical phrase articulations used in standard “licks” for the traditional son jaliscience. Example A illustrates a typical melodic phrase ending, as found in many entradas (song introductions). Example B shows the tonguing for the end of an adorno (melodic embellishment). The articulations used more often in the son jaliscience include “tot”, “ta” and “da”..."

Mariachi Vargas Discography
by John Vela
Mariachi Vargas:(10 inch 33 1/3 rpm Mono) MKL-3060
Album released early 50's ?
Song Listing:
La Negra
El Maracumbe (also on MKL-1156)
Ciudad Victoria (also on MKL-1224)
Los Machetes
Camino Real de Colima (also on MKL-1156)
El Hidalguense
Las Copetonas
Las Olas..."

Mariachi Vargas History
A history directly from their official website.

Mujeres Mariachi

Mujeres Mariachis: Y ahora, quién es "El rey"?
By Elizabeth Hanly, La Familia de hoy, 09/90
En la música ranchera, México ha tenido grandes figuras femeninas, pero han sido cantantes y no instrumentistas. Esta ha sido una parcel del genero mariachi donde se ha visto a muy pocas mujeres. Y las pocas que se atreven a lanzarse, a veces encuentran resistencia por parte de los hombres de la orquesta, quienes no se acostumbran a la idea de que el musico vecino lleve trenzas y las uñas pintadas..."

"Queen of Mariachi Violin" by M. Simmon
Fiddler Magazine. 
This is an actual scan from the music magazine.

"Recuerdos Del Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán 1925-1939: Fragmentos de Mi Autobiografía"
Por Nicolás Torres Vásquez
Capítulo 1: Tecalitlán
Yo nací en Tecalitlán, Jalisco de una familia humilde y numerosa el 22 de marzo de 1910. Mis padres carnales fueron Altagracia Vásquez y Teófilo Torres. Por parte de mi padre, oriundos de Tecalitlán y por parte de mi madre de Aguijillo, Jalisco. En ese tiempo no había más que cinco años de educación primaria en Tecalitlán. Yo llegué hasta el tercer año. Yo fuí el primer músico..."

Si Señor! Mariachi Imitators Strike a Sour Note
By Mary Jordan
"MEXICO CITY -- At every hour of every day in Garibaldi Plaza, there is a song waiting to be sung for the right price.
Clusters of mariachis -- elaborately dressed, traditional Mexican musicians -- gather near bronze statues of past mariachi stars, hoping to be hired for a birthday party or romantic serenade. The tradition dates back nearly a century, but today there are sour notes amid the soaring sounds of brass and strings in this world-famous plaza...."

The Horn of Plenty
by Judi Blackwell
"WHEN I WAS invited to interview Mexican composer, arranger and performer Miguel Martínez, I was giddy with anticipation. Martínez's notoriety as one of the chief architects of mariachi music as we now know it kicked into high gear with his original solo trumpet work with Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán at the dawn of the 1940s. Before Martínez, most mariachis played a simple, predictable folk music, primarily showcasing only string instruments such as harp, guitar, guitarrón, vihuela (a small, high-pitched guitar) and violin. Martínez's exquisite horn blowing changed all that..."

The Inaugural Parade: 9th Mariachi Conference in Guadalajara
by Sally Vega

"The Mariachi Queen"
by Michael Quintanilla, Los Angeles Times 09/95
Laura Sobrino will not allow herself to be late. Too many kids at an East Los Angeles music school are depending on her master violin lessons. So, from behind the wheel of her Dodge Caravan, she zigzags across three lanes of traffic and eases onto another freeway interchange, clocking 72 m.p.h.
Sobrino drives the way she plays her violin: con mucho gusto.
That's the way of El Mariachi-or in her case-La Mujer Mariachi..."

"The Mexican Corrido"
from "The Soul of a Writer"
"The Mexican Corrido is a form of musical folk ballad that has been a typical expression of Mexican life for well over a century.(1) The corrido encompasses three generic sub-types or qualities: lyric, epic, and narrative..."

The Weekend Warriors of Mariachi"
By Hilda Muñoz, LA Times Staff Writer, 8/28/03

"In his black and white mariachi suit, Robles, a special education assistant for the Los Angeles Unified School District, said he looks forward to performing with El Mariachi Mi Tierra on weekend evenings at El Siete Mares in La Puente..."

Violin & Trumpet Voicing Guide
by Laura Sobrino
A. VIOLINS: In the mariachi style, there are three ways of writing and distributing melodic lines for violins: 1) for a first and second violin part (the more traditional way); 2) for first, second and third violin parts (most popular); and 3) for one unison violin part, regardless of how many players there are, used frequently when there is only one trumpet player, where the violins are playing a second melodic part against the one trumpet melodic line..."

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