Filming with Fernando | The Mariachi Series


It gives me great pleasure to release this video lesson series, Mariachi Rhythms & Techniques for Vihuela & Guitar, filmed exclusively in Guadalajara, Mexico with Fernando Briseño.

The process of shooting the series with Fernando was both insightful and entertaining. It’s great to have been able to complete my first feature-length interview in Spanish with such an important figure within this culture.

Many thanks to Fernando for sharing his time and wisdom and putting up with some dodgy Spanglish.

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This series is aimed primarily at guitarists, musicians and mariachi enthusiasts but will also appeal more generally to those who are interested in learning more about music cultures around the world.

Fernando uses cultural backdrops, interesting anecdotes and hilarious analogies to glue everything together so there should be something there for everyone.

I have split the series into chapters and indexed it so that you can browse using the subject matter that appeals to you personally or, that best uses the free time you have in any particular moment.

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Fernando is the Director of The School of Mariachi in the city of Guadalajara, which is considered to be the cradle of Mexican mariachi music.

He is the son of the famous mariachi musician, Lino Briseño. Lino was the guitarist for Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán in its 3rd Generation and appeared in Mexican films alongside Pedro Infante during the Golden Age of Mexican Film. This group has been the most revered mariachi institution in the world since the 19th century.

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Mariachi is the jewel in Mexico’s crown. Sometimes it seems like there’s a mariachi around every corner in Guadalajara but the musical techniques still remain somewhat mysterious to the outside world. I wanted to dig deeper into this great art form and find out how it works from the insiders.

The series explores the rhythmic tricks used by the guitar and its Mexican cousin, the vihuela. Fernando uses his vihuela to demonstrate the rhythms of 5 common mariachi genres and spills the beans on the secrets to achieving that distinctive sound.

Where techniques on vihuela differ from guitar, Fernando explains and demonstrates them, providing us with ample inspiration to incorporate new skills into our own playing.

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