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Mariachis and Charros

Mariachis & Charros - Music & tradition

The mariachis music and bands are an important mexican symbol. Find out information about the mariachis & charros music and tradition.

The mariachi band is one of Mexico's symbols. Although they originated in Jalisco state, today one can enjoy their music anywhere in the country. They are easily recognizable with their large wide brim sombrero hats and embroidered “charro” outfits. The mariachi band is often heard in popular Mexican celebrations and the genre contributed to the fame of actors and authors such as Rubén Fuentes and José Alfredo Jiménez.

The origin of the word “Mariachi”, according to tradition, is from the French language and goes back to 1862 when France invaded Mexico. The legend claims that some French soldiers witnessed a Mexican rural wedding in which there was a group playing songs. One of the soldiers asked the translator “What is it?” and the translator responded “ç´est un mariage”. And so the word “mariage” became popular and eventually evolved into the word “mariachi”.

Originally the mariachis wore traditional rural costumes from Jalisco which consisted of cotton blankets and straw or palm leaf sombreros but later they took on the “charro” (cowboy/horse rider) look. The formal “charro” costume is made up of a short jacket and high tight black pants but the mariachi bands have also incorporated a white variation of the suit.

Most likely the “charro” costumes originate from the Spanish city of Salamanca, whose habitants are also called “charros”. In the province of Salamanca between the Tormes river and Ciudad Rodrigo is a region called Campo Charro in which the typical cowboy suit was black with a short suit jacket and riding boots. The sombreros used, although very similar to the Mexican ones, had much smaller brims.

Nowadays you can find Mariachi bands in many countries outside of Mexico such as Venezuela, where they are quite famous. In the United States many bands have formed given the large number of Mexican immigrants who live there. They are also quite popular in Spain where you may find groups in various cities playing and singing typical songs while animating the streets of the city.

If you really are interested in living Spanish in Mexico then you definitely cannot miss a Mariachi concert or party where you undoubtedly enjoy their “Corridos” (Mexican Ballad), “rancheras” (traditional Mexican music with one person and one guitar), polk songs, or whatever type of music that they have in their repertoire. ¡Viva Méjico!