Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Y Volver, Volver, Volver!

The title roughly translates "Return, return and return." This is a very famous mariachi song. Mariachi music, like a lot of music in general, can be very upbeat and happy or very sad. There's a popular mariachi tune called, "El Nino Perdido" or "Little Boy Lost" which is played by two trumpet players. It's a story of a father looking for his son by calling out to him and guiding the little boy back to him. I love to see it played because the trumpet player who plays the son, actually hides and we can hear his sweet trumpeting sound off in the distance. It's not always played, a lot of mariachis only have one trumpet player anyway.

My dad was a mariachi player, he's 71 now and has long stopped playing with a group but helps lead music at his church. I remember all of the guitars we had growing up. There was even a time when he took us one by one and gave us each a guitar lesson. I think he wanted to see if we had any musicality and I kick myself for not showing an interest then because learning it now really, really sucks. He worked evenings, playing gigs all around the bay area of California. If you were getting married and had a mariachi at your wedding, that's impressive. People would be talking about that wedding for weeks. My dad was recognized all the time but I never would have guessed he was some kind of local celebrity, but people would react like he was. Sometimes we'd pop in and catch him playing his guitar and singing. My father took on anyone who could play traditional mariachi music, including non-Latino musicians. We grew up singing along with the group as they played, never on stage but we belted the songs out nonetheless. I remember when the group would come over and go over set lists, practice a little, tune their instruments. The trumpeters would show me where the spit valve was, the violinists would take the bridge from their violins and reshape them by dragging it across the concrete of our backyard patio and let me smell the rosin on their bows. I remember counting the silver horse heads that lined the side of his mariachi pants as Dad cleaned each one.

I don't listen to the music as much anymore. It makes me sad, and I long to return to the days when my dad would tune his guitar. Sometimes he'd tell us there was a surprise inside the guitar and we'd find a dollar hidden inside. I think about the family time we had, before the divorce. It was so many years ago, 17 to be exact. It's a shame that this beautiful music is my trigger for tears, because it deserves more.

Below is a link of an 8 minute documentary about Mariachis in Los Angeles, it pretty much gives the closest description of the life of a mariachi player.

1 comment:

  1. this is a really sweet piece. i like how you write. i don't know much about this type of music. i mean, i've heard it, but now i feel like i might be able to make it mean something more to me.