Mexican Music for Cinco de Mayo

Mexican Music for Cinco de Mayo

Even though Cinco de Mayo has already passed (it was on May 5th), that doesn’t mean it’s too late to celebrate the holiday that commemorates the Mexican victory over France in 1862! Because really, is there ever a bad time to drink a jalapeño margarita on the back patio?

This month, though, do more than just eat a taco and drink a margarita—delve deeper into Mexican culture by listening to these jazz songs that’ll introduce you to the music history of Mexico!

Luis Miguel – México en la piel

Translated to “Mexico on the skin,” this 2004 mariachi-inspired song celebrates Mexico by taking the listener on a trip around the country. It gives the impression that you are in a helicopter overlooking the beautiful panoramas of the diverse landscapes. Like looking at the mountain range of Chihuahua, or the craftworks made in San Miguel, climbing the Cerro de la Silla, that’s how you wear Mexico on the skin.

Luis Miguel—nicknamed “The Sun of Mexico”—is one of the biggest stars in Mexico. Since his career took off in the early 80s, he has sung in a plethora of genres, including pop, jazz, big band, and mariachi, but has always stayed true to his heritage. Unlike many other Latin singers of the 90s, Miguel never recorded in English, only Spanish. 

José José – El Triste

Mexican musician and actor José José began his career playing the guitar, singing serenades, and later, playing in a jazz and bossa nova trio. It wasn’t until 1970 though, at the Latin music festival in Mexico City, when he sang this song (translated to “The Sad One”), that he gained universal fame and critical acclaim as a balladeer.

With its unique melody and sublime lyrics about the loss of a loved one, this song instantly touched the hearts of many and catapulted José José into stardom. After the first performance, the audience insisted that the singer won the festival competition. Despite the fact that he only ended up receiving third place, “El Triste” still became part of the popular Mexican music repertoire and is now viewed as an icon of Mexican culture!

Juan Garcia Esquivel – Mucha Muchacha

Have you ever heard of “Space Age Bachelor Pad Music”? It’s the type of music that a suave, slicked-back guy would play while drinking a cocktail in his upscale apartment. “Mucha Muchacha” is a prime example of the subgenre, which was pioneered by Mexican band leader, pianist, and composer Esquivel in the 1950s and 60s. As you can probably tell from listening, this style of music is very quirky, experimental, and sophisticated. It is largely instrumental and fuses lounge music and jazz with a Latino touch.

Unfortunately, Night is Alive has not yet produced any Mexican style albums, but we have plans to add the genre to our library soon! In the meantime, if José José’s song has you feeling blue, we do have a new album out called Old New Borrowed & Blue, which features some beautifully poignant instrumentals, like “Blue and Sentimental.” The album is available in our store and on all major music platforms.

This post was written by Blog Editor, Jacqueline Knirnschild.