|The origins of mariachi music go back
hundreds of years. It evolved from what was essentially a peasant
music form to its present form starting in the nineteenth century. The
modern success of mariachi music was guaranteed when Mariachi Vargas
de Tecalitlan was invited to play for the inauguration of Mexican
President Lazaro Cardenas in 1934.
|Originally played by strolling groups of
musicians, it utilizes a variety of portable instruments including
violins, guitars, basses, vihuelas, and trumpets (but no drums, the
percussion is added by the pounding heels of the dancers). It
has a unique musicological form using varied melodies in one piece for
rhythmic contrast rather than repeating the same theme over and over.
|Mariachi's first all-female group was
Mariachi Las Coronelas formed in the mid-1940s in Mexico. They
were closely followed by Mariachi Las Adelitas and Mariachi Michoacano
in the 1950s. Photos of these last two groups show them in the
traditional traje de charro.
|Women did play and sing with other
mariachi groups including Lucha Moreno with the famed Mariachi Vargas
de Tecalitlan in the 1950s. In 1961, at UCLA, Jesus Sanchez
directed the first university based mariachi and encouraged women to
perform in this and other groups. Mariachi Las Generalas of Los
Angeles was the first all-female group in the United States formed in