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Tuesday, 27 April 2010

An evening of Mariachi

I went out on a bit of a limb with a show I went to see at the Barbican Hall on Monday. It was an expensive ticket at £25 and the main attraction for me was to see Mariachi El Bronx live, but they were only one of the artists on the bill and I wasn't entirely sure how long they'd actually play for.

My fears were unfounded though, and it turned out to be a great night. The evening was called Viva El Mariachi and it was part of La Linea, the London Latin Music Festival (something which to be honest I hadn't really clocked because like I say, I was really there for Mariachi El Bronx. I've played their record at several DJ nights recently, especially their cover of Prince's I Would Die 4 U which I put at #17 in my best of 2009 poll.

First up was an all-female Mariachi group from Mexico called Mariachi Femenil Nuevo Tecalitlan (above), who I really enjoyed except for their cover of My Way - ironic that it was their attempt at pop culture that I thought was the weak link. Joining them for a couple of numbers was solo artist Emmy The Great, who also later joined Mariachi El Bronx for a song too. Now that bit, I didn't get. She didn't mention any particular affinity with Mariachi music, nor did she seem particularly used to the songs she performed that weren't her own, so I didn't really get why she was there.

But then there was Mariachi El Bronx (above). Their backstory, in brief - they're an LA hardcore punk band called The Bronx who were trying to turn their own songs into Mariachi arrangements (presumably their interest in that genre was borne out of the Hispanic influences in LA). That didn't work so they decided just to write a Mariachi album instead, and damn fine it is too I reckon. And live, they're a joy to watch, not only for their music but also for the fact that singer Matt Caughthran just can't stop smiling - he's just so happy to be there performing Mariachi music - his Mariachi music. And he got to do it with some 'authentic' musicians too as they all did the last couple of songs together (below).

So the singer could barely stop saying thank you to the crowd, but it's him and his band that should be thanked, because it was something different for me, and a whole lot of fun too. I'd definitely recommend the album, here on iTunes.

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