Mariachi Los Camperos’ Sones de Mariachi is a tribute to the fast-paced mariachi sub-genre known as "son," and showcases the virtuosity, superb vocals, and rhythmic precision that have positioned them as one of the world's greatest mariachis collectives.
For over 150 years, the “son” has been the heartbeat of mariachi music, pulsating with driving energy and spirited flair. In the ever-evolving world of mariachi, the modern iteration dips into the son repertoire to evoke boisterous yells and percussive zapateados. Leading this charge is the multi-Grammy-winning Mariachi Los Camperos, whose latest offering, Sones de Mariachi, pays homage to the rich legacy of the mariachi son. This high-spirited collection features a variety of sones, including fresh arrangements of well-known mariachi classics. This marks the group's sixth album for Smithsonian Folkways, following the Grammy-winning De Ayer Para Siempre in 2019.
One standout track, "El Toro Viejo," a mariachi repertoire staple dating back to the 1920s, paints vivid scenes from rural life. Jesús “Chuy” Guzmán, who assumed leadership after the passing of original maestro Nati Cano in 2014, breathes new life into this classic with his arrangement, marking the group's commitment to both tradition and innovation. Guided by the lauded signature sound and uplifting arrangements of Guzmán, Mariachi Los Camperos delivers a meticulously curated mix of popular and lesser-known sones rooted in the western Mexican heartland of mariachi tradition.
Beyond their musical adventures, Mariachi Los Camperos actively engages in nurturing the next generation's passion for mariachi music. Through workshops and educational initiatives, the group imparts the rich heritage and significance of mariachi, encouraging young minds to explore Mexican culture and their own musical potential. Members like Guzmán and Sergio “Checo” Alonso extend this commitment by holding teaching positions at high schools and colleges, embodying the group's dedication to mariachi music education.
Their founder, Nati Cano, was a visionary third-generation mariachi musician from the Mexican state of Jalisco. He defied societal attitudes that once looked down on his beloved rural and working-class music. Until his passing in 2014, Cano challenged the status quo, leaving a profound legacy. In the words of Guzmán, Cano's disciple and successor, "He wanted to have a mariachi that would have dignity, that would have heart, that would have soul, and he made Los Camperos." Mariachi Los Camperos continues this legacy, bridging tradition and innovation, ensuring the son's timeless essence resonates for generations to come.