History of Mariachi
It was said to be a music of the country people. Mariachi was, "a version of Spanish theatrical orchestra containing violins, guitars, and a harp". Nowadays, mariachi groups can contain as many as 20 people. Back then, many of these mariachi ensembles were small and not very well-known.
The outfits that mariachi musicians wear during performances are quite extravagant. You will not usually see a mariachi group perform without a traditional "charro suit" with all the bells and whistles: sombrero, vest, boots, and ribbon tie.
Traditionally, mariachi music was used for wedding ceremonies and theatrical background. Many Indians and mestizo musicians began to recreate European instruments as their own, such as violins, guitars, harps, and brass horns.
Here is a photo showing a few of the instruments mariachi musicians use.
Later on, instruments such as the accordion and trumpet became added onto the mariachi genre of music.
During the late 1970s many of these mariachi groups became very popular as Hispanic immigration increased and started integrating into the homes of Angelinos. Some very popular groups include Mariachi los Camperos, Vicente Fernandez, Pepe Aguilar, and women such as Rocio Durcal and Aida Cuevas.
Here is a perfect video showing how famous mariachi artists such as Vicente Fernandez perform mariachi music with their traditional clothing and instrument.
To learn more about the history of mariachi music, read this web article titled "Puro Mariachi" (which is translated to "Pure Mariachi") which talks more about mariachi music then and now.
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