History of Mariachi

Before the Spanish conquered Mexico, the original inhabitants played their music with rattles, horns, drums and conch shells. Over time, the Indios and Mestizos adopted European instruments and created a new style of music — mariachi.

In the old days, mariachis were roving laborers who sang and played for extra money. Today, they’re professional musicians who play at traditional Mexican celebrations such as weddings, quinceañeras, or serenades.  We’re keeping Mexico’s musical tradition alive at the Mariachi Bar in historic Market Square. Come, have a festive drink and listen to passionate, heartfelt music.


The Suits

We display several beautiful mariachi suits in frames, honoring them as the artwork they are. These gorgeous costumes are based on gala clothing worn by Mexican charros, the gallant cowboys long associated with Mariachi music.

Full Gala Suit: Splendid formal attire in black with silver decoration, beautifully tailored in fine fabrics. A richly adorned sombrero tops the short jacket with silver buttons and fitted trousers with extravagant silver botonaduras along the outer seam.  

Gala Suit: This suit can vary in color from earth tones to vivid jewel-like colors. Like the more formal version, the Gala Suit is made of fine cloth and resplendent with silver ornamentation.

Original Caballero Attire

Mexican pride is embodied in the Mariachi’s elegant outfits, borrowed from Mexico’s 19th Century charro culture, which in turn, originated with Spain’s aristocratic horsemen.

Juan Ortiz

Juan Ortiz, Campanas de America’s musical director, wore this suit on many occasions with the San Antonio-based, Grammy-winning 12-piece mariachi band. The nationally-known group was founded in 1978.

Heriberto Espinoza

Heriberto Espinoza played violin with El Mariachi Chapultepec, a San Antonio band that began playing in Market Square in the 1960s and as back-up musicians for some of Mexico’s most famous singers.

Rosita Fernandez

Homenaje a Rosita Fernandez "La primera dama de la canción" de San Antonio, Texas. (In honor of Rosita Fernandez "The First Lady of Song" from San Antonio, Texas.) Lady Bird Johnson gave Rosita her title, an appropriate one for this beloved singer who began her career at age 9 and sang for years at the Arneson River Theater. A Riverwalk bridge is named in her honor. 

Juan Rocha

Juan Rocha founded Mariachi Azteca in 1998, which continues to be popular at Market Square and the Cortez Family of Restaurants.

Mi Tierra