Mexican Dance & Food
by Alara Altuntaş

Mariachi Music:

"Fun to say, and even more fun to listen to, many people consider Mariachi music to be the music that best represents Mexican culture. Mariachi is Mexican Folk Music, and distinguished from other types of music by the instruments, attire, and the songs themselves."


"A modern Mariachi group will include violins, trumpets, guitars, a vihuela, and a guitarron. The vihuela and the guitarron give the group its distinct sound. The vihuela is a variation of a small guitar with a belly in the back and five treble strings. The guitarron resembles a large bass guitar, and also has a belly in the back. It has six strings tuned within an octave and a half range, and is the heart of the Mariachi ensemble."


"The various Folklorico dances represent the different geographical regions in Mexico from which they originate. For example, Jalisco, located west of Mexico City, is considered to be the land of beautiful women, charros, and birthplace of Mariachi music. Jalisco dances are those of courtship, while, Veracruz, the oldest city along the eastern coast of the Gulf of Mexico, mixes Spanish, African and Carribean rhythms. Its dances contain diverse steps or “zapateados” with flamenco characteristics. Regardless of the region represented, colorful, flamboyant costuming is part of every performance. As with Mariachi, Folklorico groups can now be found throughout the United"

More about Mexican Music..

"Both folk and classical music intertwine throughout the history of Mexico. Regional styles of course reflect these traditions. There are many forms of Mexican music but there are two that stand out as the most prevalent. The first is Ranchera. This is the type of song that was sung on a Mexican ranch for hundreds of years. The main themes for these songs are a love of nature, religion, love and patriotism. That is not to say every song had these elements, but none of them seemed opposed to them even when they did not mention them... The music is usually done in waltz form and consists of a lot of rhythms. The other is Mariachi. This is not a style of music but a group of musicians. There are usually three players int he Mariachi orchestra, usually more. The traditional Mariachi orchestra has two violins, two trumpets, a Spanish guitar, a vihuela and a guitarron. These last two instruments are Mexican forms of guitars. Mariachis do not play any one type of music but if they did it would be Ranchera. Mariachis however changed their themes from only love to other ones as hard times hit the Mexican economy and forced bars to not be able to hire them anymore. That is about the only difference. Ranchero for light, Mariachi for light and dark."


( Some famous Mexican musicians you might want to try to reference for a sampling of these styles are: Vinente Fernandez, Mariachi Silvestre Vargas, and 100 Anos de la Musica Ranchera.

Traditional Mexican music is some of the most beautiful and heartfelt in the world. They overflow with emotion and seep into your soul. These are special types of music and are worthy of their own distinction.)

More about Mexican Dance..

"These dances usually are performed by small groups of men and women. They never touch one another. The woman always dance slowly and modestly, with their eyes looking to the ground and lifting their skirts slightly but never flirtatiously. The men dance faster, doing a greater variety of steps but always holding themselves stiff above the waist. When jarabes are danced at funerals of young children and at weddings, they assume a ceremonial character. For example, the huapangos, a name derived from the Aztec Cuah-panco-cuaitl "On top of wood", are danced on a platform. At one time, the huapangos were danced only by the higher classes. In the huastecas (occidental part of Mexico), this dance lasts as long as the parents permit. The first part is danced in the room where the church altar stands. The bride and groom, both with eyes cast to the ground, lead the other couples in forming a circle. Each dancer carries a small jar of Incidence In his right hand and flowers in the left. The only others beside the dancers are musicians playing the wedding huapango. At the end of the dance the purity of the bride are symbolized putting the flowers and incense on the altar (Mexican folkways p313).Many of the folk colonial dances lost their meaning with the modernization of the Mexican economy."