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Music Traditions: Mariachi
The local band Mariachi Juvenil de San Diego dazzled the audience at the 2012 Harmony and Motion International Music and Dance Festival. As we gear up for this year's festival, we thought we'd give you the lowdown on the tradition of Mariachi music.


Most Americans are familiar with the sound of Mariachi music. Bright trumpets, rhythmic strumming of guitars and the sweet sound of violins weave harmonically with exuberant, or sometimes plaintive, vocals. Mariachi bands vary in size, but they usually include two trumpets, several violins, standard guitars as well as guitarr

Mariachi music grew out of a blend of several musical traditions

The costumes of Mariachi players, referred to as Traje (suit or costume), are also distinctive. Mariachi developed in rural Mexican areas where cattle and cowboys (charro) roamed and this history is exuberantly reflected in the clothing of Mariachi players. Charro Tradje feature short jackets and tight trousers extravagantly embroidered with brightly shining silver and gold thread and further ornamented with silver and gold buttons. Literally and figuratively, rounding out the costume is a huge often equally decorated sombrero made of straw or felt.
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