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Cuarteto Coculense - The Very First Recorded Mariachis: 1908-1909

CAT. #: 7036

Price: $15.00

CD 7036

The most important historical release of Mariachi music ever! This CD presents the earliest mariachi recordings. The Cuarteto Coculense from Cocula, Jalisco was the first mariachi to play in Mexico City and came to be identified as the first urban mariachi. Recorded in Mexico City in 1908 it also includes one 4 minute cylinder made in 1909. This CD is a phenomenal document of the historic launching of one of the most widely celebrated Mexican musical traditions. The 36 page booklet includes transcriptions and translations of all their 19th century "sones" (rural poetry).

1. El Periquito
2. El Limoncito
3. Petrita
4. El Carretero
5. La Guacamaya
6. La Indita
7. El Ausente
8. Las Abajenas
9. El Chivo
10. Las Olas De La Laguna
11. El Frijolito
12. El Cuervo
13. Chaparrita De Mi Vida
14. El Zihualteco
15. El Becerrero
16. El Tecolote
17. La Malaguena
18. El Tejon
19. Arenita De Oro
20. Las Campanitas
21. El Arriero
22. El Frijolito
23. Arenita De Oro
24. Las Olas De La Laguna
25. El Chivo


“It's not often you can get this far back to a source. These extraordinary recordings, made before Pancho Villa was remodelling Mexican society, and performed by rural musicians who had reached mid-life when they sat or stood before the recording horn, are genuine examples of nineteenth-century folk music. Here, in a nutshell, is not only the very dawn of the Mariachi era but also an object lesson in the historic value of early recordings. Made in Mexico City, these 25 songs, known as sones, present us with a remarkable portrait of rustic Mexican life before the revolution, Beginning in late 1908, Cuarteto Coculense recorded the same repertoire three times for the main U.S. companies, Edison, Columbia and Victor. Extracts from all these catalogues are presented here, including one rescued from an Edison cylinder. Despite the acoustic origins of these recordings, the superb sound restoration makes them very listenable and the twin fiddles that are characteristic of this music claw their way through 90 years to reach us today as more than just history. This is also rough, exciting country music, full of lyrical references to a life that no longer exists. Thanks to an excellent essay by Hermes Rafael, that life is contextualised for the listener to better understand and, as a result, enjoy the whole experience. When you listen to the earliest recorded version of La Malagueña, you know that you are experiencing a seminal performance. Mariachi Coculense's recordings stayed in catalogue for years, and paved the way for all that were to follow. Rodney Gallop, writing in 1937, described his experiences of listening to Mariachi bands in the street and recommended several good examples to his readers. That they existed at all was thanks, in part, to the success of the recordings presented here. With an introduction by Jonathan Clark, discographical details and a fine vintage photo of the group, here is not only an excellent release but also a great example of how to reissue vintage recordings. Thanks, Chris.”

(Paul Vernon — Folk Roots)