I hope my sister is paying attention to today’s post, because I took this photo with her, for her to enjoy back in New Jersey. These three metal mariachi musicians are on the rooftop of an eating establishment in Old Town Albuquerque, NM.
In case you didn’t know, the outfits worn by authentic mariachi musicians are called “charro” suits; they are iconic of Mexican cowboys. Typical mariachi bands consist of at least two violins, two trumpets, one Spanish guitar, one vihuela (a high-pitched, five-string guitar) and one guitarrón (a small-scaled acoustic bass); sometimes these groups will have more than twenty musicians, everyone in matching charro suits. This trio in my picture is of course a gestural representation of mariachi.
For many in New Mexico, the soul of their Mexican ethnic heritage involves mariachi. In July, enthusiasts and students of this form of music will gather for an annual conference: Mariachi Spectacular de Albuquerque’s (MSA); a week of workshops, concerts and cultural education all revolving around mariachi.
During musical performances, mariachi musicians are known for shouting out, “Ay, ay, ay;” it’s called a grito. Here is a mariachi grito, like those heard in mariachi music during interludes, and when audience members go crazy. In case you want to learn how to belt out your own, a shot of hot sauce helps.