Mariachi: Just an observation

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Chasarms, May 6, 2003.

  1. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    This weekend, I ran across a film on PBS hosted by Placido Domingo about a festival of Mariachi bands and musicians.

    This was a gathering of seemingly the best Mariachi groups in word, and I have to say, I was absolutely fascinated. I watched the whole thing.

    The musicianship was phenomenal and the vocal talent was absolutely amazing. They incorporated harp and a variety of different range guitars that I hadn't ever seen before.

    The most impressive thing to be me was how tight they were. Often there were 6-10 violins in unison and they sounded like one.

    The orchestration was excellent. The blend of their folk music and classical elements was so unique.

    I also saw some players blazing on those giant fretless bass guitars, the guitarron. :bassist:

    All and all, it was a wonderful view of their culture and a great eye-opener. It is very easy to often stereotype certain styles and fail to appreciate them.

    I am not sure of the purpose of this post, other than to say, it was way cool.

  2. Taylor Livingston

    Taylor Livingston Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    Louisiana, US
    Owner, Iron Ether Electronics
    If I understand you, you're saying that this is a kind of music you would never really listen to if you hadn't stumbled across it? I had a very similar experience just a few weeks ago. I flipped by one of the local cable stations, and came across two Guatamalan guys playing classical guitar and singing. They blew my mind. The more "lead" guitar player was playing left-handed, on a right-hand guitar (right-hand string order and everything), and he was just nuts. Their harmonies were beautiful. They weren't mariachi, I don't know what they were really. I'm almost entirely ignorant of Latin styles, so I'm not sure.

    They were really soulful, and had a folk feel, but it was unmistakably Latin. I'm certainly not the first to say this, but musicians would be really well-served listening to stuff they normally wouldn't. You'd be surprised how much you could really relate to, but that you will never hear if you don't seek it out. This goes for folks who think good music stopped being written after the 70s, too.
  3. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    i know a ton of mariachi musicians in san antonio and i have a high level of respect for a lot of them - awesome players - the really good ones will ask you what key you sing the tune in and automatically adjust the arrangement.

    you really have to "live" in the music to be able to play it correctly.
  4. When I discovered the Mariachi-esque band Calexico a couple of years ago, I was amazed!

    The first time I saw them, it was a random late-night TV show, they were an 11-piece band at that point, but the sound was so clear - when things were in unison, they were perfectly in unison, but when they started branching out, playing stuff in harmony and the like - especially the horns - it was just wonderful.

    Finally, after digging their CDs for ages, I saw them live last Friday..... Even better. Down to a 6 piece band (less mariachi, more .... focussed, I suppose), they were still amazing.

    Makes me want to go to South America.

    Anyway, slightly more on-topic, I really want to check out more like this, especially the more traditional styles - Chasarms' post even more so, but I don't know where to start.

    Anybody got any suggestions?
  5. baba

    baba Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2002
    3rd stone from the sun
    I love mariachi!

    I had a 9 piece band at my wedding and they blew everyone's mind. My wife and her father actually sang with them on a couple songs. Very cool.
  6. Dave Castelo

    Dave Castelo

    Apr 19, 2000
    Don't go that far, man...

    Guadalajara, Mexico is THE capital of Mariachi (and Tequila), you should come down here

    I used to ignore this kind of music (because it's literally everywhere here) but since i become a bassist and started to see thru what the musicians are doing and my respect for it grew...

    Now there are mariachi bands all over the world! I was amazed when i learned that there's a "Mariachi Competition" in Japan! :eek:
  7. Dave Castelo

    Dave Castelo

    Apr 19, 2000
    I don't have any group in mind, but you might want to get one of the many compilations out there(they have them at as cheap as 5 bucks)

    Check the left navigation bar in this site for more
  8. slapster


    Sep 23, 2003
    Does anyone know a good site for mariachi scales and similar information?