October 8, 2013 > 'Mariachi Festival' brings the music of Mexico
'Mariachi Festival' brings the music of Mexico
By Mauricio Segura
Chances are you may have been serenaded by a mariachi band at some point while munching on chiles rellenos or ceviche in a nice Mexican restaurant. These entertainers carry a legacy of Mexican folk music whose beginnings can be traced to when the Spanish set foot on Mexican soil.
Indigenous Mexican natives used rattles, drums, and flutes during religious celebrations. Once the Spanish arrived however, incorporation of guitars, harps, violins, brass instruments, and woodwinds literally changed the tune of Mexico. Furthermore, playing for pleasure as opposed to ceremony took precedence, resulting in the festive atmosphere associated with the genre.
The colonial version of this music is rather primitive compared to modern day mariachi music. As European styles of music and instruments migrated across the Atlantic Ocean, their influence was incorporated and merged with existing styles. The state of Jalisco, capital of mariachi music, absorbed modern forms in the late 18th Century that is heard today.
Following the Mexican Revolution that ended in 1920, professional mariachi bands began performing in hotels, restaurants, and around tourist hot spots. American record companies showed interest and soon mariachi records catapulted the genre worldwide. American stars like Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley recorded English versions of their favorite romantic classics. Today, thanks to such names as Vincente Fernandez, Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan, and even Linda Ronstadt among countless more, it's not uncommon to see a mariachi performance as far away as Bulgaria and Bangkok or nearby at Disneyland or a local Mexican restaurant.
On Friday, October 11, Hayward's City Hall Plaza will become a key destination for those who want to see and hear some of the area's best performers of mariachi music. Hosted by the Hayward Chamber of Commerce Latino Business Roundtable and the City of Hayward, the 4th annual "Hayward Mariachi Festival" was begun by city councilman Francisco Zermeľo as "a way to showcase young talent while putting Hayward on the entertainment map."
Initially, Councilmember Zermeľo was just looking for a local venue to feature The Mariachi Juvenil de Hayward, a local 50-member mariachi band of kids ranging in ages from 6 to 18. This led to a mariachi festival coinciding with the end of National Hispanic Heritage Month, September 15 through October 15. "Other cities throughout the state also showcase mariachi festivals like Santa Barbara, Fresno, and San Jose. Why not make Hayward a destination city in the group as well?" added Zermeľo. The idea became a reality, and the festival has continued to grow steadily; attendance of 500 people is expected this year.
Featured performers at this free outdoor festival include:e Mariachi Juvenil de Hayward, Mariachi Halcones de Oakland, Mariachi Dos, and Mariachi Mexicanisimo. Dance troupes include Bale Folcolorico Xochipili and Bale Folcolorico.
Aside from entertainment, food, courtesy of Metro Taquero Restaurant and Chavez Supermarket will be available for purchase. Artisan jewelry makers will be selling their creations, and a warm, south of the border atmosphere will provide a festive backdrop. The entire family is invited to celebrate not only a great and historical culture, but also the music that runs through its veins. Viva Mexico, Ole!
Hayward Mariachi Festival
Friday, Oct 11
4 p.m. - 9 p.m.
City Hall Plaza
777 B St., Hayward