Miguel Martínez: Prophet in another land

Miguel Martínez visits with Mariachi Cardenal at Stanford University. May 24, 2010. Photo by Jonathan Clark.

by Jonathan Clark on June 8, 2010

in Mariachi

By Jonathan Clark

Without question, Miguel Martínez is the most influential instrumentalist in the history of mariachi music. Widely considered the ”father of the modern mariachi trumpet,” he not only defined the model for solo trumpet performance in the mariachi, but he also introduced and perfected the mariachi trumpet duet popular today. In addition to his accomplishments as an instrumentalist, don Miguel is a prolific composer and the author of many popular songs and mariachi instrumental standards.

Last May, Radio Bilingüe brought maestro Martínez to Oakland, California to honor him. Part of this tribute was to record four radio programs dedicated to his life and work. Radio Bilingüe is the most important producer of Spanish-language cultural programs on US public radio. The nonprofit network recently opened an office in the city of Oakland.

These four historic programs are scheduled for Monday broadcast on the midday program Línea Abierta, May 21 & 23 and June 7 & 22, on all Radio Bilingüe stations and at www.radiobilingue.org. They can be heard or downloaded later at http://www.archivosderb.org/?q=es/audio/by/guest/miguel_mart_nez.

As incredible as it may seem, don Miguel assures us in his seven decades of artistic career he has yet to be interviewed on Mexican radio. No doubt there is great truth in the proverb “No one is a prophet in their own land.”

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Felipe June 27, 2010 at 10:02 pm

Miguel Martinez is without a doubt the father of not only the mariachi trumpet, but I feel he is responsible for the fathering the characteristics and texture of today’s mariachi music. His use and combination of embellishments and ornaments is what gives the mariachi its true style and separates it from any other form of music.

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