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Bolero Bogotano, Colombia
2003

As if coming out of some 60’s films, celebrating six shooters and highwaymen, the Mariachis groups are a true part of folk culture in Colombia. Musicians offer their services for 30$ an hour and are sought for to celebrate important events (departures, weddings, burials, births…) or just for parties.

The Mariachis are of Mexican origin and wear a typical suit called charro, the famous sombrero hat, and interpret serenades, romantic ballads or boleros. The groups are formed by 1 to 7 musicians who play the guitar, trumpet, acordeon, violin and bass. These minstrels of another time have cowboy mindsets and have a reputation for heavy drinking which usually ends up in free-for-all fights.
 The Mariachis are very appreciated by the drug dealers who pay them to write songs, the narco corridos.

Born in Mexico around 30 years ago, the corridos are traditional folk songs which praise the feats of heroes like Pancho Villa the revolutionary. With the development of drug trafficking more and more of these songs have been written to narrate the smugglers’ adventures. These ballads are often requested by the smugglers themselves who are ready to pay for their adventures, their thefts and their confrontations with the police be put into songs.

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