By BARBARA A. TENENBAUM
The Library's Hispanic Division celebrated the "Day of Jalisco" on April 28 with an exhibit, a lecture and a performance of mariachi music held in the Coolidge Auditorium.
The celebrations were part of the "Week of Jalisco in Washington," during which Gov. Alberto Cárdenas Jiménez, his Cabinet and other dignitaries came to Washington to publicize Jalisco, whose capital, Guadalajara, is 360 miles northwest of Mexico City.
The festivities began with the unveiling of a small exhibit in the Hispanic Division designed and executed by Reynaldo Aguirre, senior bibliographer in the Hispanic Division. On display were works by Jalisco writer Juan Rulfo, Agustín Yáñez and Juan José Arreola (all of whom have read for the Library's Archive of Hispanic Literature on Tape). Also included were three photographs of Juan Rulfo taken by Daisy Ascher and a photo of the Hospicio Cabañas, home of magnificent murals by native son José Orozco. The exhibit closed May 13.
At noon in the Mary Pickford Theater, this writer, who is the specialist in Mexican culture in the Hispanic Division, introduced the secretary of culture for the state of Jalisco, Guillermo Schmidhuber de la Mora, and his wife, Olga Martha Peña-Doria. They jointly presented a lecture in Spanish, "Jalisco, tierra de escritores: un recorrido por el espacio literario" ("Jalisco, Land of Writers: A Journey Through Literary Space").
Because Jalisco is the birthplace of mariachi music, a concert was appropriate. Jon Newsom, chief of the Music Division, introduced the first mariachi group ever to perform in the Coolidge Auditorium -- Los Toritos (the Little Bulls), direct from Guadalajara, courtesy of the capital's Chamber of Commerce. Los Toritos has five violinists, three trumpeters and three players strumming on three types of guitar: the guittarón (extra large guitar), the vihuela (a combination of lute and guitar), and the standard instrument. Accompanying the mariachi band was Alberto Angel, renowned singer and historian of Mexican music, dressed in full mariachi costume. Mr. Angel explained that the word "mariachi" does not originate from the French mariage as is commonly thought, as it had been in use before the French arrived in Mexico in 1862.
Los Toritos played 11 standard Mexican favorites such as "Guadalajara," "Granada" and "El Pastor," complete with appropriate banter among the musicians. Toward the end of the performance, Mr. Angel dazzled the audience with his remarkable falsetto. At the close of the concert, Mr. Angel and his wife (dressed as a traditional "India María" with red, green, and white outfit with sequined skirt depicting the Aztec calendar) danced a typical jarabe, known in the United States as "the Mexican hat dance," to the enthusiastic response of the audience. The concert was recorded by for the Library's archives.
Ms. Tenenbaum is specialist in Mexican culture in the Hispanic Division.