A COMMUNITY-BASED MARIACHI ACADEMY

History of the Mariachi

Mariachi is the sum of a cultural revolution expressed through a group of musicians dressed in trajes de charro encompassing the essence of Mexico and its people.  It's cultural, spiritual, traditional. 


The mariachi originated in the 19th century in Jalisco, Mexico.  Popular legend says it specifically started in  the town of Cocula.  Mariachi were a distinctive version of Spanish theatrical  orchestra consisting of violin, harp, and guitars. By the end of the 19th century the harp was replaced by a vihuela, 2 violins, and a guitarron. 


The primary music played during this time was called sonSon is a blend of folk traditions from Spain, Mexico, and Africa.  In Jalisco, the most noteworthy son is La Negra.  The most famous, and widely known son is La Bamba. 


Until the 1930s Mariachi music was known as the music of the country people.  Most Mariachi groups were unknown outside of their own region.  The 1930s brought the phonograph, radio, and cinema which catapulted mariachi music into not only national, but also international prominence. 


The most influential mariachi in the history of mariachi music is Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan.  Founded in 1898 by Gaspar Vargas they moved from Tecalitlan to Mexico City under the vision of Vargas' son, Silvestre Vargas, leading the evolution of mariachi as we know them today.


About Mariachi Viva

Mariachi Viva, formally known as Albert D. Austin Mariachi Academy, was founded in 1997. We are a not for profit community-based student mariachi academy in the East Valley. Our mission is to preserve the rich musical and cultural heritage of the mariachi while promoting community, responsibility, and educational advancement.  Instructed by experienced Mariachi, some of who are alumni, students grades 5 through 12 learn how to play and sing classic Mariachi songs.  There are two levels of instruction:  beginner and advanced.  Our advanced students play various venue and events throughout the school year and have historically attended the annual Mariachi Conference held in April.  Please see our events page to see where we're playing next and candids of past events!