"Mariachi music struck up behind him in the courtyard"

Mariachi music originated in the Guadalajara area but is played nationwide and has since become a national music of Mexico.

The origin of the word mariachi is something of a mystery. Some historians claim that the word is a corruption of the French mariage (marriage) stemming from the time of the French Intervention in 1861-67 when mariachi bands were said to have played at wedding ceremonies. Others say that the word was in use before the French arrived and arose from festivals honouring the Virgin Mary at which musicians performed.

Today’s mariachi bands are of two types. The original version consists of musicians who play only string instruments and who limit their repertoire to traditional Jalisco melodies. The modern, more commercial mariachi’s main instrument is the trumpet, and they have a broader repertoire.

Guadalajara mariachi band
Creative Commons AttributionGuadalajara mariachi band - Credit: Gerardo Gonzalez