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« El mariachi, expresión musical de México » – Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

In 2011, El Mariachi was inscribed on the List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. El Mariachi is a traditional Mexican music representative of the Mexican Culture.

Mariachi Outfit

Mariachi Outfit, Museum of Traditions in Guadalajara, Jalisco

It is not clear the origin of the word Mariachi and has been table of a lot of discussion between musicologists and folklorists.

There are at least, two well-known versions that succeeded to remain over years. One of them, it is that the world of Mariachi is a variation of the french world « marriage » (wedding or marriage). According to that version, the Mariachi was named by a Frenchman called Maximilian, emperor of Mexico on the 19th century. Anyway, that version was totally discredited recently when a use of the word was found that predated the time when the French arrived in Mexico.

The second version is that the word mariachi came from the native people. It would derive from an aboriginal song to the Virgin Mary, in which they mixed at the same time, the Nahuatl, the Spanish and Latin languages. This song started saying ‘Maria ce son’ … it means ‘I love you Mary’. Another theory finds its origins in the name of the wood used to make the platform on which the performers danced.

The particular El Mariachi performing…

Cocula city in Jalisco, Mexico was the biggest contributed to the mariachi.  Also, there is the contribution of  Violin specialist craftsmen in the creation of musical instruments, mainly string guitars and fiddles and together with guitar, violin, harp fifth hit and big guitar (string instruments) are used in the traditional mariachi.

What is certain, is that for every Mexican is a symbol of national identity and pride and an excellent accompaniment to any celebration: family reunions, birthdays, mothers day, day of the Virgin of Guadalupe (or any other invocation), companies parties, romantic serenades or even as a funeral farewell.

Heritage in Danger – Mariachi a tradition in Danger

Mariachi a symbol of Mexican culture is threatened. Teach a new generation of children to dress as « charros » and singing romantic boleros means confronting the biggest challenge: keep the interest of young Mexicans who prefer to listen to pop or other international modern musics into their iPods.

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