If you wish to be disabused of the notion that mariachi music automatically includes an eardrum-piercing phalanx of brightly-polished brass instruments, then we suggest you attend one or more of the events scheduled in the city’s 16th Traditional Mariachi Festival, running Monday, August 14 through Sunday, August 20.
The seven-day celebration precedes the more prominent Encuentro Internacional de Mariachi y Charreria (August 24-September 1), much of whose music will be enhanced, steroid-like, by the addition of brass.
Mariachi music was birthed in Jalisco in the late-19th Century. Earlier iterations consisted mainly of string instruments such as the guitar, violin and guitarron, a deep-bodied six-string bass instrument with a short scale. Trumpets and other brass instruments were added a few decades into the 20th Century.
It’s the earlier, strings-only version of mariachi that you’ll hear at next week’s festival, which, in addition to concerts, will feature workshops on the traditional dance which accompanies the music and an academic conference.
Teatro Degollado will be the seat of the bulk of the festival’s offerings, as it is every year. Concerts, many also featuring folkloric dance troupes, are scheduled here Monday, August 14, and Wednesday, August 16 through Saturday, August 19, all starting at 8 p.m. The closing gala is on Sunday, August 20, 10 a.m. The Monday and Saturday concerts are free of charge; tickets for rest can be purchased at the theater box office, or via Ticketmaster.
Free, open-air performances also take place in the Plaza Fundadores (behind the Degollado) each day of the festival, from 4 p.m.
In addition, workshops featuring, among other things, instruction on dance, mariachi preservation and the craft of the stringed instrument luthier, will occur at various points around the city.
For the full schedule, go to http://sc.jalisco.gob.mx/agenda/festivales-musica/6588 and download the PDF at the end of the press release.