Let's learn about Latin Music!

By Adrian Cavlan

Música latina! It’s so huge and so awesome!! I am a big fan, and so are hundreds upon hundreds of millions of others across the world. Here at Sound In Motion, we get serviced with the top radio hit songs across multiple Latin genres every two weeks, so if it’s popular and new, we have it!

“Latin music” refers to any music that comes from the Spanish or Portuguese speaking parts of the world, or is sung in either of those languages. As you might imagine, that covers a ton of area, both geographically and stylistically, with Spain, Brazil, Mexico and the USA being Latin music’s biggest markets.It is tempting to write a dissertation here that would individually cover each style and all of its characteristics and significant artists and songs, but you can find all that on Wikipedia.

For our purposes, I will now share some insight into the genres that are most popular here in Northern California:

Mariachi is western Mexico’s traditional folk music, dating back to the 1700’s and probably before. Its epicenter is in the state of Jalisco. The mariachi “way” developed slowly over time, as each element (i.e. the outfits, the horns, the operatic vocal stylings) was added and built upon those that came before. Becoming a mariachi requires years of dedication and training: it is a formalized institution in Mexico. Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán is the oldest and most famous of all the Mariachi ensembles.

The Spanish “Zapateado” is the most famous style of dancing that people do when enjoying mariachi music, and even today, people will request “zapateado” songs at weddings and events. And don’t forget about maybe the most fun part of all: “El Grito de Mariachi”!

Here’s Vicente “El Rey de la Musica Ranchera”

Fernandez doing the all-time classic “Volver Volver” A fabulous “Guadalajara” from Mariachi Sol de Mexico (1:03 in)

And another all-time classic, “Cielito Lindo” from Mariachi Vargas

I hope you enjoyed this bit of Mariachi insight!  Next week we will explore the world of the Latin genre of Cumbia.

Adrian Cavlan