Mariachi, Ayer y Hoy: A Primer on the Regional Mexican Genre

Bryan Parys
November 8, 2019

Oscar Stagnaro, bass professor and producer for the Signature Series event Aida Cuevas Meets Berklee, curates selections from the mariachi canon.

Album art from the mariachi playlist

Often cited as originating in the 18th century, mariachi music continues to evolve its form and instrumentation, reaching far beyond its western Mexican roots into song styles such as polka, waltz, bolero, cumbia, the regional Mexican ranchera style, and many more. Aida Cuevas, often lauded as the "Queen of Ranchera Music," is a pioneer among the predominantly male mariachi canon, and in fact was the first woman to receive a Grammy for traditional mariachi music. In Aida Cuevas Meets Berklee, a student ensemble will pay homage to Cuevas in a concert of her music, produced by Oscar Stagnaro, a professor in the Bass Department. In the playlist below, Stagnaro presents a selections from the mariachi genre, from its traditional roots to its contemporary permutations.

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