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Mariachi & Cinco de Mayo

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This is my last post for LAist.

What It’s Like To Be A Mariachi Performer on Cinco de Mayo

In the grand U.S. tradition of co-opting ethnic pride as an excuse to get totally blotto, this weekend bars and dorm rooms across the United States have been celebrating the Mexican Army’s 1862 defeat of invading French imperial forces (nevermind Mexico’s subsequent defeat and status as French colony for three years). Drinko de Mayo, Gringo de Mayo, whatever you call it, is what Gustavo Arellano calls a “mestizo St. Patrick’s Day.” This weekend will be the only time of year mainstream U.S. will want to be Mexican, putting on fake bushy mustaches, wearing sombreros and listening to Antonio Aguilar lament about being away from his homeland.


Written by soledadenmasa

May 6, 2013 at 7:58 pm

Mariachi Divas, Chicago, Illinois, 28 August 2012

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Mariachi Divas at Pritzker Pavilion, 28 August 2012, Chicago, Illinois.

Mariachi Divas
Pritzker Pavilion, Chicago, Illinois
28 agosto 2012

  1. (Mariachi Divas, Mariachi Perla de México & Mariachi Real de México) El niño perdido
  2. (Mariachi Divas) La negra/La bamba/Guadalajara
  3. No lastimes más
  4. Cielito lindo huasteco
  5. La Malagueña
  6. Popurrí Mujeres de la Revolución (Yo me muero donde quiera/Juana Gallo/La Adelita/La rielera)
  7. Popurrí (Gema/Piel canela/Noche azul)
  8. Quando, quando, quando
  9. Creí
  10. Popurrí José Alfredo Jiménez (La que se fue/Amanecí en tus brazos/Si nos dejan)
  11. El són del mariachi/Ay, ¡Jalisco no te rajes!
  12. I Will Always Love You
  13. Popurrí de cumbias (El mariachi loco/La pollera colorá/Mi cucu/La bomba/¡Ay! Papacito/Rosa María/La cucaracha/Yo no fui/Capullo y sorullo/Oye (Sonora Dinamita)
  14. (Mariachi Divas, Mariachi Perla de México & Mariachi Real de México, with ballet folklórico) El jarabe tapatío
  15. (Mariachi Divas, Mariachi Perla de México & Mariachi Real de México) Amor de los dos
  16. (Mariachi Divas, Mariachi Perla de México & Mariachi Real de México with ballet folkórico) Jesusita en Chihuahua
  17. (Mariachi Divas, Mariachi Perla de México & Mariachi Real de México) El rey/Volver, volver
  18. (Mariachi Divas, Mariachi Perla de México & Mariachi Real de México with ballet folklórico) El són de la negra
  19. Encore/pilón: (I have no idea what the first song of the encore was, I believe it is an original song by Mariachi Divas)
  20. (Mariachi Divas) La vida es un carnaval


Written by soledadenmasa

September 11, 2012 at 7:30 pm

Posted in Mariachi, Summer, Travel

Vicente Fernández, Santiago de Chile, 8 julio 2012

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I spent June and July in Santiago, Chile. In that time Vicente Fernández gave his first and only concert in Chile in Santiago de Chile on 8 July 2012. Of course I attended. Below is the setlist I wrote down during the concert.

Vicente Fernández
Movistar Arena, Santiago de Chile
8 julio 2012

Opener: Pipe Bueno (from Colombia, sang with backing track). Went onstage around 6:20 pm, went offstage around 6:45 pm.

Vicente Fernández went onstage at 6:55 pm.

  1. Juan Charrasqueado
  2. Por tu maldito amor
  3. Me voy a quitar de en medio
  4. Lástima que seas ajena
  5. Que te vaya bonito
  6. El ultimo beso
  7. Nos estorbó la ropa
  8. Un millón de primaveras
  9. La derrota
  10. Urge (The audience was quiet during this song, this must not be one of his biggest hits). After this song, Vicente Fernández went offstage and his son, Vicente Fernández, Jr., took the stage and started singing:
  11. Canta, canta, canta
  12. Tatuajes
  13. Sin papeles
  14. Tristes recuerdos
  15. Un puño de tierra
  16. Secreto de amor
  17. (With VIcente Fernández) Vamos a cuidarla más
  18. (With Vicente Fernández) Amor de los dos (VF Jr. goes offstage)
  19. Para siempre
  20. Estos celos
  21. Qué de raro tiene
  22. Acá entre nos (massive applause)
  23. Gracias
  24. Bohemio de afición
  25. La diferencia
  26. A mi manera
  27. No me sé rajar
  28. Cruz de olvido
  29. Ella
  30. Nuesto juramento
  31. Mujeres divinas
  32. Perdón
  33. (I couldn’t figure out the name of this song, but it goes “Es tu voz… aqui me muero”).
  34. Guadalajara
  35. Hay unos ojos/Cielito lindo huasteco
  36. Yo vendo unos ojos negros
  37. Cuando manda el corazón
  38. El andariego
  39. Contigo en la distancia
  40. La ley del monte
  41. México lindo y querido
  42. De 7 a 9
  43. El hombre que más te amo
  44. Volver, volver
  45. Que me toquen las golondrinas

9:55 pm

Written by soledadenmasa

September 9, 2012 at 3:09 pm

Posted in Mariachi, Music, Summer, Travel

Tagged with , ,

Songs I want to hear mariachis play more often

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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.

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Written by soledadenmasa

February 10, 2010 at 11:00 am

Posted in Mariachi, Music

Arpa grande

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La música de conjuntos de arpa grande debería ser más popular. Es una de las bases de la música popular mexicana reconocida como mariachi y al alejarse de esa música típica se pierde la herencia músical. Me da igual lo que haga el Vargas o cualquier otro mariachi popular. No se comparan a los conjuntos de arpa grande.

Me gustaría que las estaciones de radio de Los Ángeles, en especial La Ranchera 930, tocarán esta música. Es una lástima que no toquen esta música.

Para escuchar música de arpa grande, visita esta página en YouTube.

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December 23, 2009 at 7:00 am

Posted in Mariachi, Music

Ricardo Falcón

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Oriundo de Tepatitlán de Morelos, Jalisco.

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December 15, 2009 at 7:30 am

Posted in Mariachi, Music

La negra

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Yesterday, I read an article in the San Antonio Express-News that the Today show asked Mariachi Campanas de America not to play the mariachi’s anthem, “El són de la negra.” Here’s a bit from the article:

That popular folk song, whose title translates to “The Song of the Black Woman,” was the renowned mariachis’ first choice for their performance Wednesday on the “Today” show. But the show’s producers asked Campanas de America not to sing it when “Today” broadcasts from the Arneson River Theater next week.

“It’s the mariachi national anthem,” said Belle Ortiz, manager of Campanas de America. “We always play ‘El Son de La Negra.’ Everybody plays it.”

The reason for rejecting it? “Because they didn’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings because of the name of the song,” Ortiz said.

A show spokeswoman said this was not a case of political correctness.

“The song ‘El Son de La Negra’ was by no means deemed too controversial for ‘Today,’” publicist Megan Kopf said via e-mail.

“We always consider several song choices for our musical performance segments on the ‘Today’ show. For this particular segment, we decided to go with a song selection that is both appropriate for our wide-ranging ‘Today’ show audience and that also keeps with mariachi tradition.”

This is clearly the Today show worrying too much about offending a group of people over a song that is not offensive at all. I don’t but the Today’s show explanation at all. If I were put in the position Campanas was put in, I would rather lose the work than not be allowed to play this song. “La negra” is an essential part of the mariachi repertoire and is universally recognized. It is synonymous with mariachis and México.

Another aspect of this situation is the actual meaning of “La negra.” The most commonly accepted meaning is that the song is about a woman, “La negra”, the black one. This analysis hinges on the lyrics “Negrita de mis pesares/ojos de papel volando” (“Black one of my sorrows/eyes of paper flying). Those verses don’t make any sense. The proper lyrics (which fell out of fashion, for some reason) are “Negrita de mis pesares/hojas de papel volando” (Black one of my sorrows/Sheets of paper flying).

A few weeks back, this very topic was discussed over at El There is no definite interpretation of “La negra” because the song is from the mid-to-late 1800s. The meaning that I prefer is that “la negra” refers to a train. The beginning of the song is that of a train picking up steam and the train is “la negrita de mis pesares,” which brings sorrow to the author because his love has not come on the train. As the train passes, the wind picks up sheets of paper.

Other parts of the songs don’t fit well into this intepretation, but that is probably because of the time that has passed since the song was first written. Everyone interprets the song differently, but interpreting the song as inappropriate because its “kind of saucy” is insincere, considering the airplay that other, more objectifying, songs receive from T.V. shows.

Written by soledadenmasa

July 30, 2009 at 3:00 am

Posted in Mariachi, Politics