This blog will delve into the cultural and entertainment aspects of folklorico music and dance of Mexico. It also will host the show notes to the podcast titled "Arriba! Folkorico music and dance of Mexico."

Monday, July 03, 2006

The Charro and the Mariachis during the serenade

Sometimes the Charro would sing the romantic ballads himself during a serenade

In the olden days within the smaller towns and villages (los pueblos) of Jalisco, the Charro could be seen in this attire as he would take a troop of Mariachis with him to the window outside the house of his betrothed sweetheart, the pretty senorita of Jalisco (known as la tapatia).

These mariachi musicians typically had at least 8 instruments -- 3 violins, 2 trumpets, a guitarron (large bass guitar), a vihuela (a 5-string guitar) and a guitarra (a guitar). In even earlier times, the harp was used, but that was discontinued some years later.

The Charro would hire this band of singers and musicians so that they would deliver a serenata (i.e., serenade) at the window of the lady that the Charro was wooing. In many cases, the Charro himself, with his guitar, would sing romantic songs, declaring his affection and love for the pretty senorita, as he would beg to be her suitor.

Many times, this serenade was brought to the senorita's home very late in the middle of the night (usually after midnight). And so, in many towns, the words from the romantic ballad (bolero) would break the stillness of the night's silence with the music and the words from the beautiful song, Despierta...


Dulce amor de mi vida,


Si te encuentras dormida.

Escucha mi voz

Vibrar bajo de tu ventana,

En esta cancion

Te vengo a entrar el alma


Que interrumpe tu sueno,

Pero no pude mas

Y esta noche te vine a decir,

"Te quiero..."

[Despierta, composed by G. Ruiz, as interpreted by Jorge Negrete in Las 100 Clasicas Rancheras, Vol. 2, BMG Entertainment Mexico S.A. de V.V., 2001. Copyright (c), 2001, BMG Music]

Well, as time passed by, the Mariachis donned the attire so that they may accompany one so formally dressed for a special occasion (i.e., the Charro in courting his betrothed). So the formal attire of the "traje de gala" with its wide-brim sombrero would remain as the symbol and icon of the region of Jalisco in the annals of Mexican folklorico dance. And the mariachis would use this costume as their attire when they play the music of Mexico.