Mariachi Fuego, a local Mariachi club at UIC comprised of students from UIC who sang and played typical Mariachi songs as an expression of their art and presented a variety of different singing styles and many famous songs under the umbrella of “Mariachi” music. Among these students, some sang in higher falsetto as the lead singer while others chose to sing in a lower tempo to rather slower songs. As any typical Mariachi band would contain, Mariachi Fuego had students play the trumpets, the different sizes of guitars and jaranas as well as violin.
One of the songs that was performed by Mariachi Fuego at their concert was “aca entre nos”, a famous song by Vicente Fernandez. Vicente Fernandez is often known as the king of Ranchera music, a type of music that is under the Mariachi category. Usually, Ranchera music, belonging from the rural areas of Mexico, is about the nostalgic spirit of romanticized country life, family, nature and tragic love affairs. The song “aca entre nos” means “just between us”, describing the heartbreak and loneliness, in a rather soft and mellow tone. This song exemplified the basics of ranchera music successfully with the use of traditional Mariachi instruments and singing that was full of sad emotions.
Another song sung by Mariachi Fuego at their concert was Caminos de Guanajuato. “Caminos de Guanajuato” is yet another famous Mariachi (ranchera specifically) song sung by the legendary José Alfredo Jiménez. This song, following the theme of most ranchera songs, was about the singer’s hometown of Guanajuato and his life back in the village. It described nostalgia and loneliness and life being worthless. The Mariachi Fuego soloist, Alonzo Jimenez, successfully captured the essence of the emotion in this song with his singing and harmonized with another female member of the group. The use of typical Mariachi instruments was once again very prominent in this song.
A famous Mariachi song sung by the Mariachi Fuego group was La Malaguena, a song that was rather different than the rest of the songs performed that were mostly ranchera. La Malaguena is a traditional Mexican song dating back to the rise of Mariachi music in different parts of the world. It belongs from the Son Huasteco category of music and its unique in the sense that it has been covered by different artists with their personal musical influences for decades. The song itself, in accordance with the usual theme of love and heartbreak in Mariachi music, tells the story of a man who is trying to get the women’s attention and confessing his love for her, but he is rather poor so he accepts his fate. In this song, the Mariachi Fuego soloist was Giovanni Garcia who captured the intensity as well as the necessary emotion in the song and overall, the Mariachi Fuego band gave their own interpretation of this famous Mexican song.
The Mariachi Fuego band concert also comprised of other famous Mariachi songs such as Volver, at the end of the concert. Quite literally, volver means to return, and the song was about love, heartbreak and returning to the love of the singer’s life. A part of this song was the traditional “Grito” that is a type of scream, associated with Mariachi music. Other than this, the Mariachi Fuego band also used the traditional “stepping” of the foot for some songs that symbolizes the Mariachi music traditions. Overall, the Mariachi Fuego band from UIC was able to perform different types of Mariachi songs belonging from different regions, taking inspirations from famous traditional Mexican songs and the famous artists such as Vicente Fernandez and Jimenez, while also presenting their own artistic abilities and interpretations.