A history in mariachi
Although it’s believed the origins of mariachi date back more than hundreds of years, the first official references to it can be traced to the 19th century in Western Mexico.
It wasn’t until the 1930s however that mariachi as we know it began to take shape, when one of the world’s most established bands at the time – the Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan – went to Mexico City to play at the President’s inauguration.
This performance captivated the city, and began the development of mariachi in its current form.
It was long believed that the word mariachi derived from the French word for marriage, given that this type of music is commonly played at Mexican weddings, but this has since been disproven. There are now a number of different theories as to where the word originated, but as for the music itself, this is traced back to Cocula, in the state of Jalisco.
Today, mariachi bands are incredibly common, and don’t just play at weddings any more. You can find bands roaming the streets of Mexican cities and tourist resorts to entertain the crowds, in restaurants, and at parties and festivals such as Dia de los Muertos or Cinco de Mayo.
Recognised by UNESCO as ‘living heritage’, mariachi is music that is intrinsically woven into the cultural fabric of Mexico.