Friday, July 13, 2018

Mariachi


I am very proud to introduce my brother Edward (Spanish name Lalo). Lalo is a member of a Mexican Mariachi band located in Mexico.  Lalo, a Spanish teacher in a Falmouth, Massachusetts junior high school, regularly visits Mexico during his summer breaks.  He becomes immersed into the Mexican culture and generally goes weeks without speaking English.  While there,Lalo is a student most of the time  receiving lessons in Spannish with other adults seeking to become more flulent and knowledgable with the Spanish language.

As the years have past, Lalo has become good friends with his Mexican host family,  Furthermore, Lalo is a skilled musician, and often plays his instruments with fellow Mexican friends.  A few years past Lalo was asked to play his guitar by a local Mariachi band.  These "guest appearances" become so frequent that he was asked to join the group as a member.  He even purchased a Mariachi outfit.



Below I am thrilled to show you two videos of when Lalo was the lead singer, and then a video when he played the spoons.


1. Lalo cantando tatuajes (Edward singing tattoos)







2. Lalo's musical talents are shown playing spoons with the band.


Ed's surprise going away party was further enhanced when his band showed up to serenade his friends.






Ed Priest is Middleboro’s unlikely mariachi

A recent interview with Ed by writer Daniel Schemer says the whole story. 

MIDDLEBORO — There are two big passions for Middleboro’s Ed Priest: music and language. To him, they’re one and the same.
Priest, 64, is entering his 21st year teaching French and Spanish at Lawrence Middle School in Falmouth. Before that, he taught French for six years at Middleboro High School.
For Priest, music is just another means to communicate and connect with people, which is why he often incorporates music into his classes, either through recordings or performing. He’s been playing guitar since he was a teenager and can play various other stringed instruments. He’s performed concerts for the Massachusetts Foreign Language Association.
“Music can cross languages,” Priest said. “I live for the harmony.”
It is because of this merging of passions that a unique string of circumstances resulted in a “gringo” from New England becoming a guitar player for a mariachi band in Mexico.
For six non-consecutive years he’s been traveling to Mexico and performing with a nine-piece mariachi band called Los Charros de Morelos (The Gentlemen of Morelos). They do parties, church masses, weddings and birthdays — sometimes all in the same day.
“I’ve been waiting to tell this story for nine years now,” he said, calling The Gazette from Mexico.
Home Away From Home
Since 1998 Priest has been spending most of his summers studying Spanish overseas in countries such as Mexico, Ecuador and Spain. He became certified as a Spanish teacher in Massachusetts in 2007, but has continued to travel overseas for purposes of improving his fluency and cultural knowledge. He has spent 11 summer sessions, which are usually three-week periods, at the Cemanahuac School in Cuernavaca, located in the Mexican state of Morelos.
With every trip to Mexico he has always stayed with the same host family, the O’Campos. “Each year I come back to them is like coming home from college. They’re mi familia!” he said.
As Priest tells it, returning to Cuernavaca over the years led to familiarity and friendships with many people outside of his host family.
“Everyone’s so warm and inviting here. It’s not like, ‘Who’s this American?’ They all know me. Everyone shakes hands with everyone here.”
As a musician, he likes to play guitar and would perform solo around the city. In the summer of 2009, he was invited by friends to join in a performance for a Sunday Bishop’s Mass at Cuernavaca Cathedral. More than 2,000 people were in attendance. After the performance, he was approached by members of Los Charros de Morelos about performing with them. He played guitar for them at Mass at the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe to the praise of both the parishioners and the rest of the band. No one wanted the partnership to end.
“I’m the tall, blonde guy. I thought it was unbelievable I was being asked to do this,” Priest said.
Consisting of three violins, two trumpets, one virhuela (five-string guitar), two guitars and one guitarron (bass-like guitar), the band is a year-round ensemble. Priest joins them only for three weekends in the summer while he’s studying in Mexico.
“Learning Spanish was my number one reason for coming here. Over the years it became more about the band and friendships,” he said.
When he’s with the band, they’ve been known to do multiple gigs in a single day. There’s an aspect of spontaneity to the band’s schedule.
“One gig could be this elegant affair. The next gig there could be chickens running around.”
Despite the rigorous schedule, Priest says it never stops being fun for him.
During performances he’s often the band member who will interact with the crowd, often dancing with audience members and doing what he can to keep energy levels up and people moving.
“I’m famous for my gritos,” he said, referring to the energetic shouting for which mariachi music is known.
All Good Things...
Priest will retire from teaching after this coming school year. As a result, his summer studies in Mexico have come to an end. His future with Los Charros de Morelos is uncertain at this point as traveling for him has become increasingly difficult.
“I’ve been doing a lot more writing in Spanish over the years. I’ve stayed in regular communication during off periods.”
He’s even occasionally gotten the band gigs when he’s home thanks to social media.
He plans on spending more time with his wife and their two adult children. This year marks his 35th wedding anniversary. Priest’s wife, Andrea, is the executive director for the Middleboro Council on Aging.
Priest, who was in Mexico during his wedding anniversary, said his wife has always been incredibly understanding and supportive of his travels. To make up for the time, he’s taking her to the three-day Lowell Folk Music Festival the weekend of July 27.
“It’s fitting because we first met taking a jazz music class at the University of Lowell,” he said.
Music remains a major interest in his life. For the last 10 years he has occasionally performed as part of an ensemble for a Spanish Mass at St. Mary’s Church in Taunton.
And he already has multiple gigs lined up for when he returns home.
He’ll be performing radio hits from the 1950s to present at Krazy Days on Friday, Aug. 3, 5 to 7 p.m., as part of the community dinner being held at Massasoit College. He also will perform at Clear Pond Park Saturday, Aug. 4, 1 to 3 p.m.

As copied from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mariachi, 
"Mariachi (/mɑːriˈɑːi/Spanish: [maˈɾjatʃi]) is a musical expression that dates back to at least 18th century in Western Mexico. It is a tradition that can be defined by eight socio-musical elements: mariachi instrumentation and texture, musical genres and subgenres, performance methods and styles, singing styles and forms, dance styles, performative space, performance clothing, and the word "mariachi". Each element has its own history, originated at varying moments in time and in different regions of the Western Mexican countryside, and some, if not all, had to converge in order for the mariachi tradition to become what it is.
From the 19th to 20th century, migrations from rural areas into Guadalajara, along with the Mexican government's cultural promotion gradually re-labeled it as Son style, with its alternative name of “mariachi” becoming used for the “urban” form. Modifications of the music include influences from other music such as polkas and waltzes, the addition of trumpets and the use of charro outfits by mariachi musicians. The musical style began to take on national prominence in the first half of the 20th century, with its promotion at presidential inaugurations and on the radio in the 1920s.
In 2011 UNESCO recognized mariachi as an Intangible Cultural Heritage, joining six other entries on the Mexican list of that category."
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