Songs I want to hear mariachis play more often
I’ve meant to feature the following songs in individual posts, but I’ve decided to turn them into one post featuring all the songs. Enjoy!
José Hernández’ arrangements are some of the best for show mariachis (those you hear at restaurants and typically at competitions, not so much at backyards), though I think his recent arrangements are not as great as his early work. Here’s his “Popurri Roberto Cantoral” with Mariachi Los Galleros de Pedro Rey (Pedro Rey is José Hernández’s brother and was a member of Mariachi Los Camperos de Nati Cano before starting Los Galleros; Los Galleros was one of José’s group before starting Sol de México). Sol de México recorded José’s arrangement of the first song, “La barca,” for their first album (same year this video is from – 1984) but Sol de México did not record the whole popurrí in the studio until sometime in the last five years. This popurrí is one of my favorites.
“La voz” is a song not commonly performed by mariachis. I first heard it in a popurrí Mariachi Vargas plays called “Las voces de Fuentes,” a popurrí composed in honor of one of the most important people in the growth of the mariachi sound in México and Mariachi Vargas’ director for over half a century, Rubén Fuentes. It’s very short, but it’s one of my favorite songs. I’ve looked for the sheet music for a while. Ideally, I’d use this song as the opening song for a performance, especially in a concert hall.
“Botella envenenada” is a song by Cornelio Reyna. I’ve heard it performed in only two ways: ranchera lenta (how it is performed by Cornelio Reyna) and Francisco “Charro” Avitia’s awesome rock-and-roll-style rendition.
Here’s where my lack of formal musical education begins to show. This song is “Alegria” by el Mariachi 2000 de Cutberto Pérez (the trumpet player in the foreground of the stage). According to YouTube comments, it’s Bach’s “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring”. This arrangement greatly features the trumpet and is a pretty fast version of Bach’s piece. Often mariachis will play other pieces of European classical music to feature their musical prowess and I think this song deserves to grow in prominence.
“El milagro de tus ojos” is a cover of Donald’s song of the same name. I don’t know if it’s a cover of an English-language song (it might be), but it’s an example of the more recent theme of taking songs from other genres and bringing them into the mariachi repertoire, rather than mariachi songs joining other’s repertoires. I also really like the changes between the keys of G major and E major.