Friday, July 11, 2008

The History of Mariachis

Mariachis have been playing music since about 1880. Some people believe the name mariachi was a kind of tree used to make stages and musical instruments that mariachis play. Most mariachi bands have the Spanish guitar (guitarra), a small bass guitar with a rounded back (the guitarrĂ³n), a high-pitched guitar with five strings (the vihuela), violins, and at least two trumpets.

In addition to their instruments, mariachis are known for their unique clothing. The traje de charro (cowboy suit) consists of a close-fitting jacket and pants with brightly colored trim, and a wide sombrero (hat) with bright embroidery. At first only men wore the traje de charro and played mariachi, but in the last fifty years more and more women have joined them, either in mixed or all-woman bands.

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