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The French and Mariachis

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By campezina - Posted on 07 July 2012

Erlinda,

I have run into this assertion quite often and it has never been true in my area (except a couple of times)for most people.

I have no idea why this vexing myth continues.

< I was also told we had French blood so the elders were a bit put off when I found no French lineage but Mulato, Spanish? and Yndio.. they insisted there had never been any black slaves in Jerez.. people don't always like what our research shows them. I felt previleged to share the blood of the history of Mexico but not everyone will feel that way.>

------------------------I had the same reaction from some relatives living in Mexico City. They turned out to be Nahuatls only and I did not even continue the discussion with them further after finding the truth in my research.

A female relative became extremely agitated and simply stopped talking to me.
______________________________

For Armando: Re your answer

_________Armando, you are correct here. Please keep pointing that out. I am rather proud of what I am.

________________Correct again!

<...and many gueros have documented ancestry going back many centuries before the French intervention.>

________________True! True! The gueros and redheaded ones as well as the blonds in my family are as far as can be determined are from Spain. No French in sight!

___________________That's about as much probability as there is!

-------------------------------------------------------
Armando and other Nuestros Ranchos Members:

----------------------Esta es una "mazorca dificil de desgranar" I just can't figure out why people insist on this myth either!!!

------------------------I asked my Gramps many years ago about the French staying in Mexico (batalla de Puebla and all). He laughed; then he said the there quite a few that had stayed but that they were dead. He was aware of the French myth. Later I read some where that there were about five+ who deserted (I understand there were many more in reality) and stayed in Mexico. Does anyone have any factual information on that?

--------------------------------------------------------
< I'm curious to hear what people's thoughts are on this issue of so many people claiming they are French in Mexico.>

__________________________Maybe they are not happy being what they are? Maybe it bothers them to be prietos or in between? Maybe that they are light skinned and have prietos in the family? Social climbing? Who knows, but it seems to satisfy some deep need they seem to have.

I am happy to be the capirotada and revoltura that I am. That makes me Mexican and happy with the Great Spirit who made me so!!
------------------------------------------------------------
On the subject of Mariachis

<...[The] word mariachi was in use before the French invasion of Mexico in the 1860s. Shortly after its discovery, the text of this document was published in Mexico City and Los Angeles, and should have laid to rest the marriage theory once and for all. However, old myths die hard, and the public at large and most mariachi musicians themselves continue believing that this uniquely Mexican music owes its name to a foreign source.?

______________________________I have heard that it is because the mariachis themselves want to appeal to the tourist trade and many other unlikely reasons but none make sense.

Prof. Ma Guadalupe Castro Paramo, a seminal researcher of Mexican dance told me that it is more probable that the word mariachi comes from "Maria Arrache", the name given to the Virgin Mary by our ancestors in Mexico. Apparently our ancestors used to take music to the Virgin and it is possible the words became one ending in "mariachi". Prof. Castro Paramo told me that there are several researchers who have already researched the origins of the mariachis and there is a consensus on its origins: mariachis are 100 percent Mexican.

I never pursued deeper knowledge of the subject by I have heard basically the same from other people who are interested in the subject.

This reminds me of what's being said in some circles about the now Saint Juan Diego (that he did not exist and was poor). When I was in second grade in school in Mexicali, B.C. I went to school with a girl who mentioned that her family was descended from the Juan Diego family; being a child I marched myself to her mother and asked about it and she said very seriously that yes they were descended from that family. I wish I had been nosier and found out much more!

Elvira

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Jose Antonio Michel
I read your posting about the myth of French blood in Jalisco. With a last name like "Michel" my father always said we descended from a French soldier who stayed in Jalisco after the Franco intervention. He knew several different versions from other Jalisiences about how their descendants spread along the Ameca or Armeria river valley all the way to Colima. I think he honestly believed it. When I started doing genealogy research in 1990, within a short time I found the Michel surname present in Jalisco as early as the mid 1500's. I think my dad was disapointed when I proved his theory or story wrong. Later I showed my father that our first ancestor in Mexico was Juan Michel Ordonez(AKA El Portugues) son of the Spanish knight Diego de San Martin who arrived with Hernan Cortez. I explained how the authors Antonio Tello(Cronica Miscelanea de Santa Provincia de Xalisco), Matias de la Mota Padilla(Historia del Reino de la Nueva Galicia), and Jose Lopez Portillo y Weber(La conquista , y la Rebellion de la Nueva Galicia) all chronicle the life and feats of Juan Michel Ordonez among other conquistadors. I truthfully believe my father likes this true and documented version better than his old story. Ive researched the Pares website but Ive yet to locate the origin of my Michel surname.

I have loved Mariachi music for some time since my husband introduced it to me years ago. I got to go to a large mariachi music concert in Las Vegas with my mother- and father-in-law years ago, and I had a wonderful time. As I speak very little Spanish, I don't understand the words, but I really enjoy the music and the singing.

I noticed a real similarity between Mariachi music and German "Oomm Pah Pah" music and mentioned it to my mother-in-law. She said that was possible because there were a lot of German settlers in Jalisco as well as other parts of Mexico. (I did remember seeing a graveyard in Central Baja where all the names were German!)

Does anyone think that there could be a connection between the German music and Mariachi music? I hear the German music every year at Oktoberfest and it really reminds me of the Mariachi music, too. However, it doesn't have the emotion or heart that Mariachi music has in it!

Kathleen Hargrove Gutierrez

Yes

German polkas do sound a lot like the mariachi sound. In the state of Sonora next to Baja, I see some French names, but I don't know when they emigrated to Mexico. Perhaps Germans settled near there too.

Emilie
Port Orchard, WA

> To: research@lists.nuestrosranchos.com
> From: kathy_gutierrez@sbcglobal.net
> Date: Fri, 13 Jul 2012 20:20:55 -0700
> Subject: [Nuestros Ranchos] Mariachi Music Origins
>
> I have loved Mariachi music for some time since my husband introduced it to me years ago. I got to go to a large mariachi music concert in Las Vegas with my mother- and father-in-law years ago, and I had a wonderful time. As I speak very little Spanish, I don't understand the words, but I really enjoy the music and the singing.
>
> I noticed a real similarity between Mariachi music and German "Oomm Pah Pah" music and mentioned it to my mother-in-law. She said that was possible because there were a lot of German settlers in Jalisco as well as other parts of Mexico. (I did remember seeing a graveyard in Central Baja where all the names were German!)
>
> Does anyone think that there could be a connection between the German music and Mariachi music? I hear the German music every year at Oktoberfest and it really reminds me of the Mariachi music, too. However, it doesn't have the emotion or heart that Mariachi music has in it!
>
> Kathleen Hargrove Gutierrez

You are confusing Mariachi music and Norteño music. Mariachi music is
identified as being from Jalisco. There is no evidence that Mariachi was
influenced by Germans. Norteño music is just that, northern, and doesn't
have a place in a discussion of the states of Jalisco, Zacatecas and
Aguascalientes.

Armando

On Fri, Jul 13, 2012 at 10:20 PM, wrote:

> I have loved Mariachi music for some time since my husband introduced it
> to me years ago. I got to go to a large mariachi music concert in Las Vegas
> with my mother- and father-in-law years ago, and I had a wonderful time. As
> I speak very little Spanish, I don't understand the words, but I really
> enjoy the music and the singing.
>
> I noticed a real similarity between Mariachi music and German "Oomm Pah
> Pah" music and mentioned it to my mother-in-law. She said that was possible
> because there were a lot of German settlers in Jalisco as well as other
> parts of Mexico. (I did remember seeing a graveyard in Central Baja where
> all the names were German!)
>
> Does anyone think that there could be a connection between the German
> music and Mariachi music? I hear the German music every year at Oktoberfest
> and it really reminds me of the Mariachi music, too. However, it doesn't
> have the emotion or heart that Mariachi music has in it!
>
> Kathleen Hargrove Gutierrez

Armando,
you're correct to note the differences in music between polka-influenced Norteño (i.e., northern) music and mariachi. However, polka did influence the music of Zacatecas in the form of the "Tamborazo" genre. If you want to hear an example of this, check out a few songs from my uncle Victor Gonzalez ("El Tigre de Zacatecas") on YouTube:

1. Tus Vacasiones : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2toS9CzPHg&feature=context-chv
and
2. La Del Morral : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOvUcv_muYc&feature=plcp

The Tamporazo is derived from Banda from Sinaloa, probably popularized during the revolution. Polish immigrants introduced the polka in Sinaloa and the Banda style was probably spread during the revolution in the early 20th century. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_of_Mexico#Banda

Arturo

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