- Donald A. Henriques
Musical tradition originating in western Mexico. Mariachi refers to a rural music and dance tradition from Mexico’s western region and is identified specifically with the states of Jalisco, Colima, and Michoacán; however as a regional cultural practice, mariachi is also linked to the surrounding states of Aguascalientes, Guanajuato, Guerrero, Nayarit, and Zacatecas. The mariachi ensemble typically consists of trumpet, violin, vihuela, guitar, and guitarrón. Musicians wear the traje de charro, or suit of the Mexican cowboy, a style of dress associated with the rural western region. The hallmark of the mariachi repertory is the regional son. While a number of music and dance genres (some with indigenous implications such as the jarabe), were part of pre-20th-century local repertories, the son jalisciense defined the tradition’s regional identity.
Cuarteto Coculense, a group from the area of Cocula in the state of Jalisco, made the first mariachi sound recordings in 1908. Brought to Mexico City to perform at the birthday party of President Porfirio Díaz, the ensemble consisted of two violins, ...