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The KUT Longhorn Radio Network Presents: Mexican American Experience Collection

Audio recordings including interviews, music, and informational programs related to the Mexican American community and their concerns in the series "The Mexican American Experience" and "A esta hora conversamos" from the Longhorn Radio Network, 1976-1982.

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Mariachi Music: An Ethnomusicology
Program #

Linda Fregoso
Bill Faulkner, Daniel Sheehy, Heriberto Molina, Mark Fogelquist
Sep 1, 1979

Mariachi music: an ethnomusicology

Linda Fregoso speaks with several ethnomusicologists as she traces the origins of Mariachi music and how it has changed over time. Fregoso explains that mariachi music mixes elements of African, Indigenous and European music and that it was originally the music of Mexico’s rural poor. Mariachi, however, has now become synonymous with Mexican music and nationalism. The genre originated in Jalisco, Mexico, and as Mark Fogelquist, an ethnomusicologist explains, it incorporated Spanish popular verses from the 18th century and earlier. Fregoso then discusses the possible origins of the word mariachi. Fogelquist also explains the evolution of Mariachi instrumentation.

Fogelquist next speaks about the various musical influences mariachi music has incorporated, including aspects of the polka and cumbia. He explains that mariachi is most related to the son style of music, which was heavily influenced by African rhythms. Dan Sheehy of the National Endowment for the Arts then discusses the complexity of sones, and he explores the effects of commercialization on the mariachi repertoire.
Fregoso then discusses the history of the most famous mariachi group, the Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan and their innovative style and dedicated musicianship. Fregoso explains that as mariachi music has become increasingly commercialized, its quality has declined, and Heriberto Molina, the spokesman for Mariachi Vargas, says that he would like to see Mexican musicians strive for excellence and not just commercial success.


Center for Mexican American Studies | Department of History | The Benson Latin American Collection

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