Mariachi is the quintessential folk music of Mexico and has become a symbol of the country’s culture. It’s the musical accompaniment to the most important moments in life, celebrating joy and sorrow.
To celebrate the unmistakable ensemble of trumpets, guitars and violins, Google dedicated a musical and animated Doodle on Tuesday to what has become known as the sound Mexico. The Doodle features a mariachi serenade of the classic song Cielito Lindo – roughly translating to Lovely Sweet One.
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Originating in Western Mexico in the 18th century, a traditional mariachi band is composed of at least two violins, an acoustic guitar, an acoustic bass guitar called a guitarrón and a vihuela – a guitar with a rounded back that produces high-pitched tones. Modern mariachi bands have added trumpets, a singer and even the occasional harp.
Musicians wear traje de charro, the suit of a Mexican cowboys that consists of tight, pants, a short jacket and a wide-brimmed sombrero elaborately decorated with embroidery and gold or silver buttons.
Mariachi is frequently played at weddings and birthdays, as well as funerals. It can also be heard in plazas across Mexico and the US Southwest, from El Paso, Texas, to Los Angeles.
In 2011, UNESCO recognized mariachi as part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, saying that: “Mariachi music transmits values of respect for the natural heritage of the regions of Mexico and local history in the Spanish language and the different Indian languages of Western Mexico.”