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mariachi - The origins of the mariachi itself(the group...

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The origins of the mariachi itself (the group, culture, music, etc.) are not much easier to trace. The mariachi is the sum of a cultural evolution which has taken place over the last century or so in Mexico. The instruments originally used by the mariachi were those introduced by the Spaniards - violins, guitars, vihuelas, harps, etc. These instruments were intended to be used during masses but the criollos (Mexicans of Spanish descent) began using them to make popular music as well, much to the chagrin of the priests, since they were used to accompany some of the more scandalous, satirical or anticlerical couplets of the times. Mariachi music thrived with the support of the people. The criollos of the 19th century did all they could to wipe out every last trace of the Spanish presence in Mexico and, by doing so, supported the mariachi music. Mariachis could be seen wearing traditional workmen's clothes - white pants and shirt and a straw hat, and traveling around looking for work. Most commonly they would find employment at any of the haciendas where they would earn more than the average laborer. mariachi3.html With the revolution, many of the haciendas were forced to let the mariachis go. They would then wander from town to town singing songs of revolutionary heroes and enemies, carrying news from one place to another. Still not enjoying the same position they had before, the mariachis took to playing in public venues for a fee. One of the most popular of these was San Pedro Tlaquepaque in the state of Jalisco, a fashionable place for the residents of Guadalajara to spend their summers.
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