Thursday, May 9, 2013

Unique...and a Little Extra

If I were to say "mariachi band," what image comes to mind?

I'm not thinking about the two guitarists who move from table to table in the local Mexican restaurant. Oftentimes, a nice touch to the meal, but, no, this reference is to the classic mariachi band.

I think of as many as 10 older, heavy men wearing black shirts and pants with white trim on both. They would also be wearing black sombreros. There would be, maybe, four violins, two trumpets, and four guitars.

And the singer's strong voice would break through the music with “La Cucaracha.”

And then there is Mariachi Las Alteñas.

"Considered Texas’ finest all female mariachi, Las Alteñas has been captivating audiences throughout the United States since 2002. These 10 remarkably talented women are brought together by their passion to perform and promote the majesty of mariachi music.

"In a predominantly male industry, this all female mariachi has made its mark. Las Alteñas’ success goes beyond their music; they animate audiences to applaud with joy and emotion. In short, they‘ll steal your heart. They’re young, they’re driven, and with them, every night is ladies night" (from the group's bio).

The energy and skill of the performers demonstrated the bases for the numerous awards and "Best of..." recognitions that these women have received.

One of the other groups that we heard on this fourth day of the five-day Festival International de la Louisiane in Lafayett was Lagniappe Brass Band from New Orleans.
"The group has been logging 250+ shows a year nationally and internationally. From small and authentic smoke-filled and beer-tinged New Orleans bars, to festivals for audiences of thousands--Lagniappe’s members bring an undeniable, massive wall of sound that fills your ears and the air above the streets. Below this is the infectious Afro-Cuban bass drum pulse that alone is the foundation for your dancing.
"From providing airport greetings to functioning as a stage band, a parade band, or a strolling band over a festival's grounds--or even providing a dignified farewell at a funeral--Lagniappe demonstrates its versatility.
"The term, 'lagniappe' is a Cajun French term defined as 'something given or obtained gratuitously or by way of good measure.' Mark Twain writes about the word as 'a word worth traveling to New Orleans to get'" (from the band's bio).
On stage it demonstrates the band's sound: “it's rooted in New Orleans brass band culture that makes asses shake and sweat glands sweat. It is in your face and high energy" (drummer Joshua “Jams” Marotta as told to Misty Faucheux, Where Y'at Magazine).

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