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estebanana

Posts: 8324
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

Requinto rushes. 

I've built a requinto and I'm pretty excited about it so I made a fast & dirty video of it a few hours after stringing it up. It is going to be used by a guitar duo in Nagoya Japan to do some recording soon so there will be actual real bonifide artists playing it soon on high quality recording equipment. In the mean time check it out, it was fun to make.

The details are:

560mm scale
Flamed mahogany neck, real old Mexican palo escrito back & sides.
Spruce top, ebony back plate on headstock.
Florentine style cutaway.

The tuning is like guitar only one forth higher. ADGBEA

It's clear and powerful, I built it with an asymmetrical seven fan arrangement with a Bouchet bar, that is a strut that runs parallel to the bridge just under the where the saddle is located. The top is not too thin, but with a lot of support from the braces.

I'll put some individual pictures up , but I really have not finished French polish yet, it was so interesting to string up a requinto I've never made one. It plays very responsively I'm looking forward to hearing the good players in Nagoya take it to town.




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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 16 2014 12:27:31
 
estebanana

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RE: Requinto rushes. (in reply to estebanana

Here are some of the pictures as it goes under the shellac pad.









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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 17 2014 3:33:29
 
estebanana

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RE: Requinto rushes. (in reply to estebanana

Couple more:





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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 17 2014 3:35:31
 
estebanana

Posts: 8324
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Requinto rushes. (in reply to estebanana

Here are some ripping crazy requinto solos



And some good shots of requinto playing, and my favorite music where requinto is featured bolero.

If you have some requinto music or video please share it or comment.



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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 17 2014 7:16:38
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 3220
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: Requinto rushes. (in reply to estebanana

Great to hear about the requinto, Stephen. My favorite requinto player is Gilberto Puente of Los Tres Reyes, and my favorite piece by them is Malagueña Salerosa, though this may be slightly tinted by romantic associations. The song is a huapango sometimes called son huasteca. On the record it is attributed to a Mexican composer of popular songs, but many say it is a Huastecan folk song. A poor Mexican's tribute to a haughty Spanish beauty, it sounds folkish to me.



All of Los Tres Reyes instruments were made by the famous Mexico City luthier Juan Pimentel Ramirez. He and Puente collaborated on a new design for the requinto. One of Pimentel's sons and a couple of grandsons still run the shop in calle Doctor Martinez del Rio in Mexico City.

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 17 2014 15:58:34
 
estebanana

Posts: 8324
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Requinto rushes. (in reply to estebanana

That's nice Richard. The requinto playing is kind of mind blowing actually.

Any details on the back and forth between Pimentel and Gilberto Puente? BTW We know of Pimentel in the US more because he was the teacher of Richard Schnieder of Kasha Schnieder fame ( or folly? )

I suppose with todays news that the US and Cuba will reopen embassies to one another I need to make a Cuban Tres next, but modify it to play like Raul Rodriguez' tres....

My friend Anton the bolero player / molecular biologist in La Coruna just sent this link- Raul one of the founders of Son de la Frontera talking about the tres and links to flamenco.

http://www.rtve.es/alacarta/audios/duendeando/duendeando-141214/2907356/

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 17 2014 18:03:45
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 3220
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: Requinto rushes. (in reply to estebanana

In the Fall of 1965 my buddy Pat H. and I were messing around with the cheap guitars at a big music store in Mexico City. One of the salesmen approached and asked if we were interested in good guitars. We said, "Of course." He gave us one of Pimentel's cards. We caught a cab to his shop. The neighborhood looked a little sketchy, but over the years I found out it was quite safe. As it happened Richard Schneider was there. He regaled us with a lengthy account of his plan to revolutionize the guitar. Pimentel was a taciturn guy. He said very little, but occasionally rolled his eyes while Schneider wasn't looking. Finally we got our hands on a couple of guitars. They were the best we had encounteed in Mexico at the time.

We returned that evening. Schneider was gone, but there was a small crowd on the sidewalk looking in through the doorway and the wide unglazed window that overlooked Pimentel's workbench. Inside were three men in very nice suits. Pimentel was doing some setup work on the guitar that belonged to one of them.

After a while I recognized the pros in suits, and mutterd to Pat, "Those are Los Tres Ases." I slipped a kid a five peso note to wiggle through the crowd and ask them to play. Five pesos for the kid, not for the pros. They probably were going to do a couple of tunes for the crowd anyhow. They played and sang for about 20 minutes before they excused themselves, saying they had to make it to their gig.

I didn't know about the requinto redesign until years later, and never had sense enough to ask for details. Pimentel's heirs have a web page, and if they are anything like their father, they would probably be helpful to someone asking questions. I only ever spoke to Pimentel in Spanish, but his sons all went to good schools (one was a lawyer, one an engineer, and one guitar maker) so they may have learned English.

http://www.guitarraspimentel.net

I spent yesterday afternoon at Richard Brune's shop in Evanston, a suburb on the lakeshore adjoining Chicago on the north. He lived in Mexico City for a few years just a little after I first met Pimentel. I asked him who he thought the best luthier in Mexico was at the time. He mentioned a couple of others, both of whose shops we visited, but I ended up buying several student and concert instruments from Pimentel for friends back in Texas, over the next fifteen years or so.

More about Brune's collectioon in another post...

While we were talking about Pimentel, Brune's son Marshall, who shares shop space with his father, mentioned that they sell requinto strings--by Hannabach I suppose, since they used to be the distributors.

RNJ

By the way, like most Mexican requinto players of the era, Gilberto Puente used a thumb pick, but did the rest with bare fingers/nails. He could grab the thumb pick with a finger or two and use it like a flat pick, or use the thumb pick in the usual way, or even turn his thumb and use the nail.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 17 2014 20:04:06
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 3220
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: Requinto rushes. (in reply to Richard Jernigan

...and here's Gilberto making like an arpa venezolana on "Alma Llanera" the second national anthem of Venezuela.



RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 17 2014 20:56:04
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 3309
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: Requinto rushes. (in reply to Richard Jernigan

quote:

Great to hear about the requinto, Stephen. My favorite requinto player is Gilberto Puente of Los Tres Ases, and my favorite piece by them is Malagueña Salerosa, though this may be slightly tinted by romantic associations. The song is a huapango sometimes called son huasteca. On the record it is attributed to a Mexican composer of popular songs, but many say it is a Huastecan folk song. A poor Mexican's tribute to a haughty Spanish beauty, it sounds folkish to me.


Malaguena Salerosa is one of my two favorite songs in the Son Juasteco style. It has been sung and recorded by dozens of groups, but in my opinion the finest recording was by the old gringo folk duo Bud and Travis, with Travis Edmonson taking the lead with a falsetto that was so beautiful it would send chills up your spine. Although Malaguena Salerosa is often listed as authored by Elpidio Ramirez and Pedro Galindo, it is most certainly a traditional song of unknown authorship that long predated those two.

Interestingly, Travis Edmonson grew up in Nogales, Arizona. My grandparents and mother, who lived in Mexico, had to leave Mexico in the '30s when the Mexican government nationalized the Santa Fe Railroad's Mexican line, as my grandfather was superintendent. They moved to Nogales when my mother was 16, and my family knew the Edmonson family. Travis Edmonson went to the University of Arizona in Tucson where he studied anthropology. He spoke fluent Spanish and was interested in the Pascua Yaqui Indians, who were living in Arizona, having been driven out of Mexico by the Mexican government. Travis compiled a Spanish-Yaqui dictionary, the first of its kind.

Travis Edmonson teamed up with Bud Dashiell to form the folk duo Bud and Travis in the early '60s. They recorded a lot of songs in Spanish, as well as the well-know folk tunes recorded by everyone from Peter, Paul, and Mary to The Kingston Trio. Their Spanish is impeccable, and in my opinion they harmonize better on the Spanish songs than many of the Mexican trios and groups.

I mentioned earlier that Malaguena Salerosa is one of my two favorite songs in the Son Juasteco style. The other one is Cielito Lindo Son Juasteco. It has nothing to do with the song "Cielito Lindo" that, along with "Guadalajara." is probably the most requested song by gringo tourists visiting Mexico. It is stunningly beautiful as interpreted by Bud and Travis, and, again, Travis takes the lead with his falsetto that sends chills up one's spine. Both Malaguena Salearosa and Cielito Lindo Son Juasteco are on the CD entitled "The Best of Bud and Travis."

Bill

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And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 17 2014 22:25:42
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 3220
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: Requinto rushes. (in reply to BarkellWH

Seems like there's a Wikipedia article about everything, including la Huasteca, the indigenoous region of Mexico where the son huasteco comes from. There's even some stuff about the traditional form of the son huasteco under "Culture."

One of the famous features of la Huasteca are the deep limestone caves in the Sierra Huasteca. In the latter 1950s the University of Texas Speleological society used to make fairly long overland hikes to some of these caves, taking a few days' walking. Usually we loaded up pack mules or burros with camping and caving gear. Often the arrieros would sing as we covered the ground, sometimes in the characteristic Mexican falsetto. The lilting huapango was reserved for dancing at fiestas.

I remember scuba diving in some of those caves, and a few years later being chased by packs of dogs on my motorcycle as we left villages where the people had welcomed us. On the rare occasions when I dream about these, I tend to wake up sweating.

But the first time I heard Malagueña Salerosa was in Mexico City. For me it recalls romance.

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 18 2014 3:51:36
 
estebanana

Posts: 8324
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Requinto rushes. (in reply to estebanana

So tell me Richard and Bill, what part of the globe should I build my next non flamenco instrument from? Seems like the Bulgarian tambour and the requinto make you recall lots of good stories.

heh heh heh

Indonesian nose flute?

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 18 2014 6:24:53
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 3309
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: Requinto rushes. (in reply to Richard Jernigan

quote:

Seems like there's a Wikipedia article about everything, including la Huasteca, the indigenoous region of Mexico where the son huasteco comes from.


Be careful about using Wikipedia as a source. It often gets it right, but I have seen enough instances where it got it wrong or incomplete that I think it better to depend on one's own knowledge and experience, or at least cross check with a more credible source.

Referring to my posting above, I recommend you get hold of the Bud and Travis CD, or try to find a video on the internet, with Bud and Travis singing "Cielito Lindo Son Juasteco." It is a rare piece and very hard to find. I find it more hauntingly beautiful than even Malaguena Salerosa, and you might, too. Again, it has absolutely no relation to the popular "Cielito Lindo," which I find boring.

Bill

_____________________________

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 18 2014 10:29:11
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 3220
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: Requinto rushes. (in reply to BarkellWH

I rank Wikipedia's credibility below that of the New York Times, but above that of an official U.S. National Intelligence Estimate. I have been interviewed by the Times, and have contributed to National Intelligence Estimates. The Times played my small contribution pretty straight, the N.I.E. staff once put my stuff in as a minority view, though later it turned out to be the right interpretation. (I'm not claiming infallibility. the very nature of the intelligence business means you will make mistakes.)

Here is a performance of Cielito Lindo Huasteco pretty close to its folkloric roots.



I suspect that Malagueña Salerosa would be rather similar, but I never heard it in La Huasteca itself. Nor have I heard Bud and Travis's version of Cielito Lindo Huasteco. Excellent musicians that they were, I'll bet it's a treat.

The son in its more folkish form inhabits a wide swath of territory. I have heard it from the Gulf of Mexico in la Huasteca to the Pacific in Jalisco. It has its regional variants, but all are identifiable by what flamencos would call compas.

Los Tres Ases version of La Malagueña is clearly the work of sophisticated and educated musicians, with its wild swings of tempo and requinto breaks echoing Vivaldi. Bud and Travis's version of La Malagueña lies firmly within the citified tradition of the trio romantico, with all its beauty and subtlety of expression. One of the things I particularly like about Mexican popular music of that era is its love and respect for its folkloric roots--in many cases.

Here's a different take on La Malagueña by the superstar Miguel Aceves Mejia. He combines a near-operatic tenor with seemingly effortless mastery of the Mexican falsetto. His accompaniment begins with a slightly ironed out huapango on guitar, progresses to symphonic violins, then blazing trumpets in the latter day mariachi mode.



RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 18 2014 14:18:10
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 3309
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: Requinto rushes. (in reply to Richard Jernigan

quote:

Here is a performance of Cielito Lindo Huasteco pretty close to its folkloric roots.


Nope. Sorry, Richard, but the performance on the video is nowhere near as hauntingly beautiful as Bud and Travis's version. In fact, it is more like the typical Mariachi version of "Cielito Lindo," which, as I mentioned previously, I find boring. Too "busy" and loud in a sort of "Mariachi" style. And it lacks the hallmark of the true beauty of the Son Juasteco style--The absolutely haunting falsetto in the higher registers. But that's just my take on it. I'm sure others like it.

Bill

_____________________________

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 18 2014 14:55:55
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 3309
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: Requinto rushes. (in reply to estebanana

quote:

So tell me Richard and Bill, what part of the globe should I build my next non flamenco instrument from? Seems like the Bulgarian tambour and the requinto make you recall lots of good stories.


Your next mission, Stephen, should you choose to accept it, is to make a Javanese gong, with all the aesthetic attributes of Javanese style and sound. This will entail working over a forge fueled by charcoal, with appropriate hammers and tools to shape the bronze in order to produce the proper timbre, as well as designing the traditional frame of wood from which the bronze gong itself hangs.

Should you choose to accept this assignment, I would be glad to introduce you to a fine maker of traditional Javanese gongs in Bogor, Indonesia, about 40 miles south of Jakarta. I had him make me a nice large gong. One stroke of the felt-covered "beater" produces the sweetest reverberating sound one could desire in a gong.

Cheers

Bill

_____________________________

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 18 2014 15:10:23
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 3220
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: Requinto rushes. (in reply to BarkellWH

quote:

ORIGINAL: BarkellWH

quote:

Here is a performance of Cielito Lindo Huasteco pretty close to its folkloric roots.


Nope. Sorry, Richard, but the performance on the video is nowhere near as hauntingly beautiful as Bud and Travis's version. In fact, it is more like the typical Mariachi version of "Cielito Lindo," which, as I mentioned previously, I find boring. Too "busy" and loud in a sort of "Mariachi" style. And it lacks the hallmark of the true beauty of the Son Juasteco style--The absolutely haunting falsetto in the higher registers. But that's just my take on it. I'm sure others like it.

Bill


I didn't mean to say it was better or worse than any other version. What I meant was it was like what you would have heard in the Sierra Huasteca in the late 1950s, for example in the mountains somewhere west of Ciudad Mante. In the late 1950s there were no real roads, only mule trails to most of those villages.

However, the implication is that my taste for Los Tres Ases or Miguel Aceves Mejia or Bud and Travis is definitely a "civilized=citified" one, far from the indigenous taste of the Nahuatl or Huastec speaking people among whom the son huasteco was invented.

The versions I particularly enjoy are the products of musicians trained in the sophisticated culture of modern Mexico with its international connections, not the basic folkloric material upon which popular and classical music has been built for centuries.

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 19 2014 1:39:46
 
estebanana

Posts: 8324
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Requinto rushes. (in reply to estebanana

Bartender!

Fetch me two pistols and pour scotch for one.

The fellas are shooting it out.

__________

The gongs are beautiful and trip to indonesia would be nice. Right now Japan is having a record cold winter and 3/4 ths of the country seems to be getting some snow, and the upper third is being buried. It will be a good season for snow boarders. Personally I am not a fan of snow and long to hear the clicking songs of geckos during the winter
months.

The closest I've ever come to having a gong is a Tibetan singing bowl, but I gave it away at some point.



Images are resized automatically to a maximum width of 800px

Attachment (1)

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 19 2014 1:52:22
 
estebanana

Posts: 8324
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Requinto rushes. (in reply to estebanana

It occurred to me you guys could actually meet at the Fox & Hound in Dupont Circle and arm wrestle this out. Or have a burger at the Hung Jury.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 19 2014 2:01:27
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 3220
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: Requinto rushes. (in reply to estebanana

quote:

ORIGINAL: estebanana

It occurred to me you guys could actually meet at the Fox & Hound in Dupont Circle and arm wrestle this out. Or have a burger at the Hung Jury.


Nah. We're getting together tomorrow afternoon for drinks or whatever, while Larisa is tied up doing Skype interviews for overseas teaching positions.

Bill is a retired diplomat and I'm a retired engineering manager. We're just breaking each others chops out of force of habit.

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 19 2014 3:01:01
 
estebanana

Posts: 8324
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Requinto rushes. (in reply to estebanana

Yes I know and I'm goading you both on to see where it goes.

Say hello for me and also to the National Gallery or Phillips Collection where I used to love to go see the Bonnards and what not.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 19 2014 3:40:12
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 3309
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: Requinto rushes. (in reply to Richard Jernigan

I will make a full confession here. As much as my family has been tied to Mexico, and as much as I have traveled in Mexico, like things Mexican (especially the food!), and like much of the music of Mexico, I am repelled by Mariachi music. I find Mariachi music loud, noisy, busy, and boring. For me, it is the antithesis of listening enjoyment.

I'm not opening this up for debate or argument. Just stating how it affects me.

Cheers,

Bill

_____________________________

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 19 2014 15:56:02
 
Escribano

Posts: 6322
Joined: Jul. 6 2003
From: England, living in Italy

RE: Requinto rushes. (in reply to BarkellWH

Lila's haunting, jazz lounge version is one of my fondest memories of the vibrant bars and clubs in Metepec, San Miguel De Allende and Guanajuato, whilst dating my cute wife-to-be.



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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 19 2014 16:17:06
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 3309
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: Requinto rushes. (in reply to Escribano

quote:

Lila's haunting, jazz lounge version is one of my fondest memories of the vibrant bars and clubs in Metepec, San Miguel De Allende and Guanajuato, whilst dating my cute wife-to-be.


A very different take on Malaguena Salerosa, Simon, but very nice indeed. As you state, a "Jazz Lounge" version. Listening to it, I pictured myself at a club at 3:00 AM in the morning with just a few habitues left and the marvelous lady still singing.

Did you meet your wife while you were in Mexico? Or had you known her before and were visiting your "novia" on her home turf? Do both of you travel back to Mexico from time to time? I assume she has family there.

Thanks for the video. Very nice.

Bill

_____________________________

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 19 2014 17:51:12
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 3220
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: Requinto rushes. (in reply to BarkellWH

quote:

ORIGINAL: BarkellWH

I will make a full confession here. As much as my family has been tied to Mexico, and as much as I have traveled in Mexico, like things Mexican (especially the food!), and like much of the music of Mexico, I am repelled by Mariachi music. I find Mariachi music loud, noisy, busy, and boring. For me, it is the antithesis of listening enjoyment.

I'm not opening this up for debate or argument. Just stating how it affects me.

Cheers,

Bill


Mariachi presumably originated during the French incursion under Maximilian von Hapsburg, while the USA was occupied by the Civil War. "Mariachi" is widely interpreted as a Mexicanization of the French "marriage" describing ensembles that played for festive occasions of the elite. During my lifetime mariachi has gone through four phases. I was too young to be aware of the first, when it was string band music. There would be a few violins, a guitar or two, the Mexican vihuela or the small guitarra de golpe for rhythm, the big Mexican bass guitar guitarron, maybe a harp. There would be a lead singer or two, and the others would join in as chorus. In the late 1920s and early 1930s the Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan was still based in Jalisco, and made recordings of such folk favorites as "El Gavilan" and that Revolutionary classic "El Riflero". Toward the mid-1930s los Vargas added a trumpet. He played quietly, with a soft staccato. The playing was lively, flexible but not wayward in rhythm, and so danceable that you had better not put on a recording from that era after I have had a couple of shots of tequila. I can't find any examples on Youtube.

When I was 22 my first really serious love and I spent a month at the beach in Zihuatenejo. In those days only a very bad road connected Acapulco to Zihuatenejo, which was just a sleepy fishing village. We paid a dollar a day for a thatched palapa on the beach with cold running water, and ate fresh seafood at the little beach cafes. One of the two little bands in town had four 78s of the old Mariachi Vargas, which they treasured. They played them for us, since my girlfriend was so pretty and sweet.

When Lazaro Cardenas was elected President in the 1930s, he brought forward the populist strain of the Revolution. For his inauguration he brought the Mariachi Vargas to the Capital. Within a few years mariachi was popular among the elite and the small middle class. Rich people hired mariachis for their kid's birthday parties, and for fiestas in general. Many mariachis employed literate musicians, including trumpeters from military bands and other traditions. The music became slicker, more urbanized, the rhythm more cuadrado. The trumpeting became sustained and louder, with trumpet duets in vogue. Still, the music retained a lilt and swagger. This tradition persisted well into my youth.

When I was seven or eight years old I used to sit on my grandmother's back porch in the tiny south Texas town of Raymondville, and listen to the teenager across the alley play trumpet. He had a beautiful sweet tone, and played all the old favorites with warmth and expression. They came around in school when I was ten years old and asked if we would like to play an instrument. I signed up for trumpet.

When I started traveling to Mexico on my own at age 17, you could go to the Plaza Garibaldi in Mexico City and hire Mariachis on the spot for an impromptu fiesta. They still had some schmaltz. But the big time pros were entering another phase. The Vargas had become more or less the official mariachi of the PRI, the party that ruled Mexico for 73 years. The big time groups had conservatory trained musicians, fancy arrangements, stage directors, publicity men, agents and record contracts. The music became heavily rehearsed, ironed out in rhythm and expression, and louder. It leaves me cold.

The parallel development among the working class groups was louder, more trumpet, more noise in general. Knocking back shots of mescal in some Plaza Garibaldi dive, it was almost tolerable. There was one exceptional group, though. The bar at the upscale Sheraton Maria Isabel had a band that was refined, melodious and expressive. We used to go there just to hear them.

The big time bands have continued to get bigger, brassier, more stagey and less interesting. The latest phase is that public high schools and colleges in the USA have begun to have mariachis. Among the high schools the results are as variable as one would expect. I haven't heard a university mariachi that I remember, but there is bound to be somewhere in the USA where you can get a degree in mariachi.

When I get back from Costa Rica I will dig out my CDs of the pre-PRI Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan, taken from 78s of the 1920s and 1930s, pour a shot of Patron Reposado and reminisce.

RNJ

"I am a rifleman, my love,
Arrived here by chance,
mending my sandals
so I can keep walking."
El Riflero
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 19 2014 18:20:30
 
Escribano

Posts: 6322
Joined: Jul. 6 2003
From: England, living in Italy

RE: Requinto rushes. (in reply to Richard Jernigan

quote:

When I started traveling to Mexico on my own at age 17, you could go to the Plaza Garibaldi in Mexico City and hire Mariachis on the spot for an impromptu fiesta.


Love the stories, Richard. Now Garibaldi is a tourist trap and the bands demand $300 to play.

However, there is a little shop nearby which will sew those cool charro studs onto your black pants, for not very much. Sadly, they had closed early when I was last there.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 19 2014 19:37:33
 
HemeolaMan

Posts: 1514
Joined: Jul. 13 2007
From: Chicago

RE: Requinto rushes. (in reply to estebanana

Best cutaway ever.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 19 2014 23:49:54
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 3309
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: Requinto rushes. (in reply to Richard Jernigan

The history and evolution of Mariachi notwithstanding, Richard, Mariachi groups and their style of playing is not my cup of tea. Again, my own ear hears it as loud, noisy, "busy," and boring. Mexico has many musical genres and styles, and I think it unfortunate that most people think only of Mariachi music when they think of Mexican music at all. It is much like Germany, which has as rich a musical history and tradition, from classical to modern, as any place on earth. Yet many people associate Germany with "Oom Pah Pah" music, played by funny men in lederhosen and hats with a feather. And they play about as interesting music as Mariachis.

I realize that this is all subjective, but my favorite forms of Mexican music are the "Son Juastecos" we discussed before, as they are sung by those who slow them down and know how to break into the beautiful falsettos one hears on the best recordings of "Malaguena Salerosa" and "Cielito Lindo Son Juasteco." As I mentioned previously, the best can send chills up one's spine. Also "Corridos" and "Rancheras" (Corridos are mainly for listening; Rancheras for dancing) as sung by Norteno groups. Corridos especially are ballads that sing of love death, outlaws, etc. I won't bore our audience with the history of these genres, but it is every bit as rich as that of the Mariachi, throughout revolution and the vicissitudes of life that mirror Mexican history.

At any rate, whatever one's taste in Mexican music, it is good to know that there are members of the Foro who have a deep love of Mexico and things Mexican.

Cheers,

Bill

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With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 20 2014 12:21:32
 
estebanana

Posts: 8324
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Requinto rushes. (in reply to estebanana

Narco Corridos.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 20 2014 12:45:11
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 3220
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: Requinto rushes.e (in reply to BarkellWH

quote:

ORIGINAL: BarkellWH

The history and evolution of Mariachi notwithstanding, Richard, Mariachi groups and their style of playing is not my cup of tea. Again, my own ear hears it as loud, noisy, "busy," and boring.
At any rate, whatever one's taste in Mexican music, it is good to know that there are members of the Foro who have a deep love of Mexico and things Mexican.

Cheers,

Bill


I'm away from home so I can't check the shelves, but I'm pretty sure the only mariachi recordings I have are from the old Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan, while it was still basically a string band in the 1920s-30s. The only trumpet on them is the guy who played with the charming soft staccato.

The "mariachi" of the hotel Maria Isabel in the 1950s-60s was actually a very versatile group of musicians who could play a bar customer's mariachi request in a civilized fashion, but also played a wide selection of other styles.

The son in its various forms and native habitats is generally an up-tempo piece in a steady beat. This includes the son huasteco in my experience, but there is of course tremendous variety in Mexican folk music. I would call La Malagueña a huapango, which is basically a slowed down son huasteco, with a more romantic air.

I used to like to sit in the town square in Oaxaca, enjoy the soft evening air, and listen to the Marimba del Estado de Oaxaca. They had three of the big two-man marimbas and an extensive repertoire of musica tropical from Oaxaca, Veracruz, Yucatan and the Caribbean.

RNj
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 21 2014 3:57:15
 
estebanana

Posts: 8324
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Requinto rushes. (in reply to estebanana

Well I have opinion on Mariachi:

Most of the time it only sounds real good after the third margarita.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 21 2014 5:05:46
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