July 11, 2017 > Mariachi Festival memorializes Mexican music
Mariachi Festival memorializes Mexican music
By Toshali Goel
There are countless music styles celebrated and practiced around the world, one of them being the exceedingly popular mariachi music. In honor of this art, the City of Newark Recreation and Community Services Department will be hosting the 4th annual Newark Mariachi Festival. The event will take place at the Shirley Sisk Grove at NewPark Mall on Sunday, July 16 and will feature Mariachi Tapatio, Mariachi Dinastia Torres, and Mariachi Estelar.
The mariachi style of music is estimated to date back to the 18th century, its origin a confluence of various historical influences. It is said to have originated in the Mexican state of Jalisco, in a town named Cocula. When Hernán Cortés arrived in Mexico and overthrew the ruling Aztec empire, Spanish influence became much more pronounced in the country. Prior to his arrival, the traditional instruments used in Mexican music were rattles, drums, flutes, and conch shell horns. As Christianity began to spread as a result of CortésÕs conquest, these instruments were replaced by those imported by the Spanish, such as violins, guitars, harps, and woodwinds. Music and dance evolved to include the imported instruments, and soon the typical Spanish theatre orchestra was comprised of two violins, a harp, and a guitar Ð a development that would give birth to several regional Mexican music forms, including mariachi.
Newark Councilmember Sucy Collazo, who wanted to recognize the Latin population of the city, started the Newark Mariachi Festival four years ago. I went to the City and told them that Id like to see something in [regards to] Latin music, because there are so many Latin residents in the Tri-City area. At that point, they said that they didnt have any funding for it. Collazo was asked to raise the funds for the elements of such a celebration Ð a stage, portable restrooms, etc. Ð on her own in order to make the festival a reality. I asked all my friends, all the business people here in the area for sponsorships. A few days later I went to the City and said heres our money. WeÕre ready to roll.
Collazo has always liked mariachi music which fueled her determination to have it celebrated in Newark. I love it. My husband is from the state of Jalisco, and every time we go to Mexico, we always go listen to this music. ItÕs something thatÕs caught on like wildfire... Its beautiful music. When I was growing up, I didnÕt really listen to this style of music. When I married my husband, I fell in love with it. It just brings joy to me, its uplifting, and it seems to blend right in to any event.
The festival has grown and progressed since its first year, according to Collazo. The first year, there were no other attractions apart from the music, due to the short timeline allocated for preparation. ÒItÕs grown in attendance. First year, we had no food. I was so nervous Ð I thought, Ôwhat if nobody comes?Õ And then as I looked off the stage and saw more and more people coming, to me that was just unbelievable.Ó This year, there will be Mexican food sold by Arteagas Food Center, parents from Ballet Folklorico de Ninos de Musick School will provide snacks, and the non-profit organization Avanzando will be selling drinks. There will also be a table specifically for childrenÕs activities such as coloring or making maracas. Collazo said she hopes people will Òenjoy the music and learn to appreciate our culture.Ó
Newark Mariachi Festival
Sunday, Jul 16
2 p.m. Ð 5 p.m.
Shirley Sisk Grove
Cedar Blvd at NewPark Mall, Newark
(510) 578 Ð 4346