ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico—The US Postal Service celebrated the sounds of mariachi, the traditional music of Mexico that has become hugely popular in the United States, with a ceremony on the first day of the issue unveiling a panel of 20 Mariachi Forever stamps at the 30th Annual Albuquerque Mariachi Spectacular.
“The Postal Service is proud to unveil these new Mariachi stamps to celebrate the exuberant sounds of this music that is an integral part of Mexican American culture and has fans around the world,” said Pierre-Pastrevice president of government relations and public policy for the Postal Service, who was the dedicating official for the stamp ceremony.
“Today the sound of the mariachi is in the air, with singers infusing the music with stories of life and love and vibrant dance as this celebration continues with these 18 million postage stamps that are now on sale at post offices across America,” he said.
Other participants in the stamp ceremony were Monica Trujillothe educational and arts conference director of the Albuquerque Mariachi Spectacular; Brian O’Connell, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer of Atrisco Cos. ; and Amelie Garciavice principal of Ysleta High School in El Paso, Texas.
Rafael Lopez designed the stamps and created the art. Derry Noyes served as artistic director.
Each of the five new stamps in the 20-panel feature a musician, dressed in the traditional garb of mariachi performers, playing one of five signature mariachi instruments: guitar, guitarron, vihuela, violin and trumpet. The geometric shapes in the background of each stamp are a nod to Mexican villages, the birthplace of mariachi music.
“We are honored and pleased that the 30th Annual Mariachi Spectacular of Albuquerque Mariachi Conference has been selected to partner with the United States Postal Service to launch this exquisite collection of Mariachi Forever stamps,” said Monica Trujillo. “Through our music and the special memories evoked by these skillfully rendered works of art, we hope that everyone who encounters these timbres can experience some of the magic we experience with every note, word and nuance. It’s a mariachis.
“Mariachi” refers to several things: to the music itself; to an individual musician or an ensemble of musicians; and, when used as an adjective, to anything that identifies with music – be it dance, costume or culture. The first known written reference to the word “mariachi” dates from the 1850s, but the roots of the music go back much earlier.
“Growing up, I remember nostalgic weekends listening to the unique Mexican sound of mariachi music in Plaza Garibaldi in Mexico City,” the stamp artist said. Rafael Lopez. “Mariachi music is an emblem of Mexican cultural heritage with roots in the United States and followers around the world and I am thrilled and honored to share the vibrant spirit of this music with these stamps.”
Although the exact origins of mariachi are obscure, it appears to have begun in western Mexico, where itinerant musicians made their living by traveling from village to village and visiting ranches in the countryside to perform. Early mariachi music included folk traditions from Spain, Mexico and Africa that merged to create a new indigenous musical form, the son. The sounds developed in various regional styles, including the jalisciense son from Jalisco; the son huasteco, from northeastern Mexico; and the son jarocho Where veracruzano, of the region around the port of the Gulf of Veracruz. The best known example of son jarocho is the song “La Bamba”.
From the 1930s, mariachi music reached a new, wider audience as it was adopted by urban radio stations and used on the soundtracks of Mexican filmmakers. It quickly became one of the most popular musical genres in Latin America.
Mariachi bands traditionally used the round-backed guitar called vihuela, which gives mariachi music its rhythmic vitality; the guitarron, which is a bass guitar; and the Mexican folk harp, the arepa. In the 1940s and 1950s, the modern urban mariachi sound emerged with the expanded instrumentation including violins and trumpets. Today, ensembles continue to expand the use of the instruments, with some groups adding six to eight violins, two to four trumpets, an accordion, and the arpa, which had fallen out of favor but is making a comeback among professional bands. . This combination of instruments creates unique, exuberant and expressive music.
While mariachi music had been in the United States for many years, in the 1960s American churches, schools, and universities began to develop and sponsor mariachi programs that produced new generations of musicians and enthusiasts. Immigrants from various parts of the United States created vibrant regional mariachi cultures that broadened the appeal of this traditional music to new audiences. Additionally, the American mariachi movement is spread by first-, second-, and third-generation Mexican Americans as a way to express their ethnic pride and stay connected to their heritage.
Mariachi musicians are instantly recognizable in their traditional costume called car ride or charro suit. Adaptation of a Spanish rider’s riding outfit, it consists of fitted trousers decorated with silver buttons for men and long skirts for women, a short jacket, an embroidered belt, a wide bow tie and a wide-brimmed hat. Although black with silver embellishments is traditional, today mariachi wear costumes of many colors.
A beloved aspect of mariachi culture is dancing, as it is music meant to move the audience. Each of the regional variations of the son has its traditional dance style. While several dance styles are preferred by mariachi fans, the most well-known folk dance is the Jarabe Tapatio — the Mexican hat dance. Highly stylized with traditional steps and movements, it is Mexico’s national folk dance. This dance made its way from Mexico to the United States, where it is popularly celebrated at festivals, public performances, and dance competitions.. Enjoyed around the world, mariachi has reached global audiences through recordings, films, live concerts and television programs.
In recognition of the importance and widespread appeal of mariachi music and culture, UNESCO added them to its list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2011.
Customers can purchase stamps and other philatelic products through the Postal store at usps.com/shopstampsby calling 844-737-7826, by mail via United States Philatelic or at post offices across the country.
Forever stamps will always have a value equal to the current price of 1 ounce of first class mail. Information for ordering stamps and covers of the first day of issue are available on usps.com/shop.
The Postal Service generally does not receive taxpayer money for its operating expenses and depends on the sale of postage, goods, and services to fund its operations.
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