Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Guest-blogger Poet and Mariachi Expert J.D. Smith's Top 5 Mariachi Links

It's Cinco de Mayo in July (¿porqué no?) and apropos of his beautiful and award-winning new bilingual children's book, The Best Mariachi in the World / El mejor mariachi del mundo, poet J.D. Smith is guest-blogging with his top 5 mariachi links. Over to you, J.D.!

1. There are at least 20 annual mariachi festivals in the United States. The largest is the San Antonio Mariachi Festival, which includes students, professionals and music educators from the Southwestern United States and Mexico. The Festival’s site also links to other resources and a message board.

2. A headliner at several mariachi festivals and an essential part of the music’s history is the original Best Mariachi in the World, Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán. Established in 1897, this group both maintains and carries forward the tradition.

3. While mariachi began as a male-dominated genre, women in both mixed and all-female groups have become increasingly important. Mariachi Queen Laura Sobrino, who played at the Opening Ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics, provides an overview in the February 2009 newsletter of the National Association for Music Education.

4. In some rinconcito of your heart, you know that at least once in your life you want to dress up as a mariachi. You can find examples of traditional clothing and learn some of the terminology at Mariachi Connection.

5. One article can hardly cover the whole subject, but there’s a morsel on cocina mariachi in Issue #25 of Saveur.

--- J.D. Smith

---> For the archive of Madam Mayo guest-blogs posts, click here.

P.S. Two of my own Mexican music play-lists are on-line at:

The Happy Booker Blog (apropos of an audio CD, which was itself apropos of Mexico: A Traveler's Literary Companion)

Largehearted Boy (apropos of The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire).