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Oddly Enough

Mexico's first mariachi school opens its doors

Tuesday, July 02, 2013 - 01:31

July 2 - Mexico City's first Mariachi school seeks to elevate the music of the strolling bands to a whole new level. Elly Park reports.

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It's the musical equivalent of tequila. Mariachi is the iconic folk music of Mexico, known for its hybrid sounds and the colorful uniforms of its performers. However, aspiring mariachi musicians have never had a place to go to learn their craft professionally... at least not until now. These are some of the 86 students of the country's first Mariachi School, Ollin Yoliztli (pron: oh-leen yoh-lee-ztlee). Funded by Mexico City's government, the school aims to institutionalize the teaching of mariachi music, which is long overdue, according to its founding professor Aaron Jimenez. SOUNDBITE: Professor At Mariachi School Ollin Yoliztli, Aaron Jimenez, saying (Spanish): "Many in Mexico feel this (school) has started a little late, because other countries have beaten us in terms of careers, looking for mariachi players. First of all I think it's great that other countries have done this, maybe from the first world, but at the same time I feel sad that Mexico does not turn to look at our culture." Around 200 prospective students are taking exams to join the academy for the next annual term. Jimenez hopes that the school will inspire others to form similar institutions across the country. The move would help preserve and teach the culture, which in 2011, received an official U.N. recognition as an intangible cultural heritage.

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Mexico's first mariachi school opens its doors

Tuesday, July 02, 2013 - 01:31