When you think about Mazatlan you probably think about its beaches and seafood, but if you are a music lover you should know that Mazatlan was the place where Banda music was born. The most known Banda music representative is La original Banda del Recodo de Don Cruz Lizarraga.
Mazatlan was officially made a Height Port of Mexico on December 15 of 1821. The Iguala revolution brought the war to Sinaloa, so it only functions as a Height Port for a short time, but in 1838 Mazatlan port retake its function. Many traders and people with other professions from around the world started coming to Mazatlan. Chinese, Spanish, French, Philippines, all gather in Mazatlan and the towns around the city. Germans came in greater numbers and many of them stayed on towns around Mazatlan: Villa Union and Concordia, founding families.
The Germans founded a lot of companies. One of them was a trader company that used to sell mining tools, home furniture and music instruments from German (most of them wind music instruments). This was a very big company and had several partners. They felt home nostalgic and started to build parks with Kiosks (bandstands) with German style.
They also created music bands with most of the wind instruments. These music bands played at the parks and the townspeople gathered to hear them and they made these music bands their own. In that time the rich people kept musicians (most of them cord musicians) for themselves, so ordinary, poor people could not enjoy music, so when the Banda musicians started playing for free on the parks people were really happy.
Most of the musicians were peasants that worked hard all day and on weekends they gathered to play in their bands. Each town around Mazatlan had its own music band and each one of them wanted to be the best. Many peasants would make the travel to the port of Mazatlan to buy a clarinet or a cornet and then they would try to join his town´s music band. This way, Banda music became very popular real fast among the common people.
The root of the Banda music is German Polka. The instruments that are used in Banda music usually are the Tambora ( a type of brass drum made from animal hide), tarola (snare with timbales), cowbells, cymbals, trumpets, clarinets, valve trombones or slide trombones, alto horns and one sousaphone.
The most famous Banda music bands are:
LA ORIGINAL BANDA EL RECODO
Also called “The mother of Bands” it was founded by Don Cruz Lizarraga in 1938. He was born in “El Recodo”, a small town near Mazatlan. He took the wind instruments sounds and combine them with the sounds of bands that were famous in that era in the north of the country and beyond the border. This way he created an original sound for the traditional wind instruments music.
After the year 1950 Don Cruz Lizarraga took its band to the United States and started doing tours all around the country and earning the respect of the US public.
The dream of Don Cruz Lizarraga was to show the world the Banda Music, a dream that he could not fulfill because a disease took his life in 1995, the same year that the band was starting a tour in Europe. His son, Alfonso Lizarraga, interrupted briefly the tour to be with his family in this difficult time and restarted the tour immediately after the funeral. He and his brother, Joel Lizarraga, took his legacy and are fulfilling their father’s dream.
They have made several international tours, they have been in France, England, Germany, Netherlands, Hawaii, Japan, Belgium and Australia. In the year of 2004, they were the first Band music to perform at the White House for president Jorge Bush.
Banda El Recodo has won several Grammys. In the year of 2008, they performed in Nascar races.
They have a huge trajectory of almost 80 years and they are responsible for making Banda Music known all over the world. (1)
LA ORIGINAL BANDA EL LIMON
This band was founded in the year of 1965 by Salvador Lizarraga. He was born in Siqueros Sinaloa in the year of 1932. At the beginning his father didn´t want him to be a musician, he wanted Salvador to do farm labor, but as time passed he convinced his father to let him to learn and to join a band. He worked in many different jobs until he was able to found his own band on January of 1965. He named his band Banda El Limon but a few years later he renamed his band to La Original Banda el Limon de Salvador Lizarraga. In the history of this band many singers that were starting joined this band and jumped to a different band or they have founded their own band, just like Julio Preciado or Jose Angel Ledezma “El Coyote”, two of the most famous singers in this musical genre. (2)
This band was founded by Sergio Lizarraga in the year of 2003 in Mazatlan, Sinaloa. Its name is the initials of Mazatlan and Sinaloa. One of the founders was Juliòn Alvarez, that now has founded his own band. They have been nominated in several music ceremonies, like the Billboard Latin Music Awards, and have won on several occasions. (3)
This band was founded in 1989 by friends and family members of Banda el Recodo. Don Cruz Lizarraga gave them the name and their first vocalist was Francisco Javier Barraza Rodriguez, better known as Pancho Barraza, now he has his own band. Alfonso Lizarraga, one of the Don Cruz Lizarraga sons, is the manager of this band.
LA ARROLADORA BANDA EL LIMON DE RENE CAMACHO
In the year of 1997 Rene Camacho and Salvador Lizarraga (both from La Original Banda El Limon de Salvador Lizarraga) had a misunderstanding, so he left this band and founded La Arrolladora Banda El Limon de Rene Camacho. The singer of La Arrolladora follows him to his new band.
Rene Camacho has more of 40 years of experience as a musician and his band has won several times in ceremonies like the Billboard Latin Music Awards and Latin Grammys.
I hope that you watched at least one of the above music videos. These represent what Banda Music is today and I am proud to live in Mazatlan, where Banda Sinaloense music was born.
Please tell me in the comments section what do you think about this kind of music, and if you ever heard Banda music before.