Do you know what Cocollán means?

Name Nahuatl of the town of Cocula, land of Mariachi


The members of the coca tribe who lived in Coculan, descendants of the Chimalhuacanos and in turn of the Nahoas, were music and inventive lovers, skilful imitators of everything that flattered their senses. In all populations of Coca origin, notes and similar musical rhythms arise. In Michoacán, Colima and Jalisco, we find the same musical roots and the same language, with some variants. This undoubtedly facilitated the introduction of Nahuatl and then Spanish with the use of force, arquebus, sword of the conqueror and the cross of the friars. Coculan is a hill in the south of Cocula where a Coca tribe settled (1500-1519). They practiced rudimentary music in jellies made of wood and branches that the conquerors called “enramadas” (brambles), where they worshiped the gods Teocoayótl and Cocolli. A historical version affirms that “Coculán” means place of convolutions and so it seems in the hieroglyphic that identifies it, giving rise to the term Cocollán, Coculán and Cocula.

They had musical knowledge of hearing, whistling the teponaxtlis snail, huehuetles, reed slings and animal bladder drums for honoring their gods. Between 1527 and 1529 Friar Miguel de Bolonia arrived to these places, with an image that is known in Cocula as the Virgen de la Pila (Virgin of the Pile) and he also took with him Archangel Saint Michael image. Soon, a big storm destroyed the indigenous congregation of Coculan disappearing the image, which according to the Franciscan tradition is the Immaculate Conception, equal to the Virgin of Zapopan. Friar of Bologna suggested to the Cocas the relocation and found of a villa in the Cañada de los Limones (Lemons Glen), where today is the city of Cocula since 1531, then called Cazares’ Villa or Saint Michael’s Villa, to convert them to Christianity.

He took advantage of the Indians’ penchant and musical sense to inculcate the Christian faith. He and the friars transformed ancient melodies dedicated to Teocoayotl and Cocolli into praises to the Mother of Jesus and to Archangel Saint Michael. Music and Gospel entered soft and caressing in the autochthonous mentality.

The seniority of the Mariachi is obvious in the revelation made by Friar Alonso Ponce de León, he says that when they arrived to these lands they were received with great manifestations of joy and music: “We were received with plenty of flute, trumpets and budles music”.

It is obvious that with the arrival of the Spaniards, they tried to overcome themselves, including in their ensembles the violin and imitated them, with wood stick of Colorín tree since they had great ability to rebuild the instruments, they also adopted the guitar and the native Justo Rodríguez Nixen invented the Vihuela, with an Armadilllo shell, and then the Guitarron with strings of animal guts, but not conformed, transformed and took over Spanish music without leaving their own.

Friar Juan de Padilla asked Viceroy Antonio de Mendoza when he was here, to send music teachers to expand the Christian doctrine.

The teachers were Indians, who learned Spanish music at the Tlatelolco School and then taught it in their own language to the indigenous in Cocula.

The primitive Mariachi was born in Ascención and integrated with guitars, slings and drums, to which they called box; to celebrate September 29th. of each year and honor Saint Michael and Virgin Mary, with pilgrimages, music and brambles. The tradition subsists.

We conclude that Cocula, is well-known as “The land of Mariachi” or World’s Cradle of Mariachi, because it birthed, it looked after it, it spoiled it like a mother and made him grow; that’s why Mariachi is from Jalisco as its volcanoes.

MariachiSilvestre Vargas says that the composer Alvaro Galvez and Fuentes, reported that the term Mariachi is French origin, and so published Guadalupe Zuno, creating both a confusion and an error that even the encyclopedists have made their own.

Dávila Garibi, provided a file, carbon copy of his monographic study on the language of the Cocas, where he makes a Philological analysis from the texts of Father Tello. In the study alludes to the Mariachi, relying on the knowledge of the Cocula natives that spoke the Coca language. He supported that the term Mariachi, is of Nahuatl-Coca origin and means “The Indian is happy”.

A piece of paper detached from the file, containing half-blurred lines with Nahuatl terms, is the fragment of a praise to the Pile Virgin, that would come to be Mary of the River and says:

Motelpocahuan te cantarona María,
Tetelpocahuan te entonarahua,
María ce son.
Tlacaque Tonantzin ima,
Moyazca cantarohua pactoc.
Te cantorahua María ce son…