“Under the lullaby of the hill, lies my land and my love.
There you and I will make our nest for us to live in.
Barrio de la Vizcaina where I found love
I remember that it was in a mine where I plucked a flower.
It’s last little leaf said to me “I belong to you”.
Jaime Martinez, Mariachi Mision de Chichimecas
In its beginning, the mariachi was not as festive as it is now. Farmers used to come together at the end of their work day, and, still wearing their work clothes, picked up their guitars… Along with the smoke of the campfires, the nostalgic, bucolic, rebel or resigned melodies of the Mexican farmer rose toward the sky. Then came the era of president Porfirio Diaz and the mariachi put on its full regalia, perked up with the shrill sound of the trumpets and today it has been named Word Heritage by UNESCO.
In the United States, about 80 mariachi festivals are held every year, and in Mexico there are no more than twenty. Therefore, it is a great achievement that the Mariachi Festival has been held over the last 16 years in Mineral de Pozos, Guanajuato. This festival is a feast full of sound. The mariachi’s most popular songs are interspersed with unusual and attractive proposals: how about tunes composed by the Beatles, played on trumpets and bass guitars? The “Libertango” by the Argentine composer Astor Piazzola sounds great when played by the mariachi. To the unprejudiced, Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” played by the mariachi will turn out to be a welcome surprise. There also is a place for nostalgia: small musical groups, much closer to the original mariachi, even in their clothes, but especially in their lyrics, evocative of the fields.
The best of the evening is to see all the invited groups come together on the stage to perform, along with thousands of spectators, a true classic: “On the road to Guanajuato”, composed by Jose Alfredo Jimenez. This will give you goose bumps and will remain imprinted even on the most forgetful memories.
Mineral de Pozos has a very active cultural life. Starting in January, its inhabitants and visitors enjoy the music of the Mining Tour; in April, the Mariachi Festival is held; in May, the feast of the patron saint brings several traditional and contemporary musical proposals; that month ends with the Blues Festival, and in June the Toltequidad Festival offers a trip to the region’s pre-Hispanic past. Look at its schedule: http://visitamineraldepozos.com/