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Latin Roots

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Join Talia Schlanger as she navigates the World Cafe through performances and interviews with celebrated and emerging artists.

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About Latin Roots

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Latin Roots #14: Mariachi Music - July 12, 2012

Chicago-based music journalist Catalina Maria Johnson hosts this fourteenth installment of World Cafe's Latin Roots music series. The bilingual and bicultural journalist is half Swedish and half Mexican and grew up in two cities both name St. Louis, one in Missouri, and the other, San Luis Potosi, Mexico. She writes in Spanish and English for publications such as HOY, Revista Contratiempo, Gozamos and Nat Geo Music. She is a regular radio personality and hosts/produces the bilingual radio program Beat Latino, which airs in Chicago, Mexico City and Berlin.

In this session, WXPN's David Dye sits down with Catalina Maria Johnson to discuss mariachi music. Johnson explains the origins of mariachi and how it started in Jalisco, Mexico in the late 1800s as an ensemble of strings and horns. She says that music is a part of every Mexican family celebration and that mariachi is a living tradition in Mexico. Today, bands mainly perform classic Mexican tunes in the mariachi ensemble style, but there is also a new movement of the younger generations mixing up traditional mariachi music non-ironically. To exhibit this transition, Johnson plays a selection of traditional and contemporary mariachi music.

  • Listen to the Show:
    listen to the archived session at
  • Show Tracks:
    • Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan
    • La Fiesta del Mariachi
    • Rana Santacruz
    • Chicavasco
    • Mariachi El Bronx
    • Lady Rosales
  • Listen to the Playlist:
  • Playlist Tracks:
    • Mariachi Reyna de los Angeles - La Mujer Mexicana y El Cascabel
    • Mexico & Mariachis - Cancion del Mariachi
    • Jose Feliciano - Cucurrucucu Paloma
    • Mariachi Mystery Tour - Magical Mystery Tour
    • Mariachi El Bronx - Lady Rosales
    • Calexico - Muleta
    • The Allstonians - Mariachi Go Ska
    • Linda Ronstadt - Dos Arbolitos (Two Little Trees)
    • Rana Santa Cruz - Loopita

Latin Roots is made possible by a grant from the Wyncote Foundation.

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