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Mariachi Facts From A To Z

By Gil Sperry
Published by Baja Times

Yes, you’re reasonably certain that mariachi and ballet folklórico are Mexico’s major cultural contributions to the world of music and dance. However, perhaps you’re not really certain about the evolution of these two glorious art forms.

When the Franciscan padres from Spain first met the indigenous indios of Mexico in 1519, the lingua franca was music. You will experience first-hand the excitement felt by the local populace, whose instruments were limited to the drums, gourds, rattles, reeds carved from tree branches, and seashells, when they heard a Spanish guitar for the very first time. Go to

The dance of Spain came next and this will be beautifully performed by the amazing Flamenco Arana. The music had also evolved and you will hear what the citizens of Veracruz experienced in the 17th century with the son jarocho, when Chucumite, featuring pre-mariachi instruments…two arpa jalisciences, the jarana, and the requinto… takes the next step.

Ballet Folklórico Ixtlazihuatl will show you how Spain’s flamenco evolved into Mexico’s folklórico before mariachi, Mexico’s macho music at the time, emerged full-blown, with violins, trumpets, guitar and its two unique voicings , the vihuela and the guitarrón, onto the world’s music stage. Ranchera singers broke the gender barrier first and we have one of the finest, Olga Flores from Tucson, AZ, who will be ably supported by her Friends, playing a combination of jarocho and mariachi instruments as they accompany her on their mellifluent journey. Then Grammy Award-winner Beto Jiménez Maeda takes center stage with his all-male group, Mariachi Espectacular, playing selections from their new best-selling CD, Puro Tradición.

It all comes full circle when the Grammy Award-winning Mariachi Divas conclude the evening’s festivities with a performance featuring the world’s premier all-female ensemble and many of the hits from their seven best selling CDs, including Cielito Lindo Huasteco from their latest effort, Orale. They will be joined by niña cantante-actress-model, Genesis Codina, before concluding the evening with a face-off against the Espectacular guys on the Spanish classic, Ojitos Traidores.

The festivities actually kick-off on Saturday, September 17th (at Noon and again at 6:00 PM) with the premiere showings of the First Festival Film, accompanied by the award-winning short film, Rediscovering Rosarito, in the Salon Mexicano at the Rosarito Beach Hotel . The young film makers, Michelle Hinojo Oceguera and Samuel Paredes Valdespino, will be on hand to answer your questions. The $3 donation to the Club de Ninos y Ninas Seccion Rosarito gains you admittance PLUS free popcorn and soda. There will be another showing at 6:00 PM on Thursday, September 29th, for festival attendees and anyone who missed the September 17th date. If there is anything that wasn’t covered in these events, please speak right up and let us know. No need to be afraid!

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