El Charro Francis - A French Mariachi Celebrates Mexican Cultural Heritage!
During the International Folklore Festival of Gannat in France, I met El Charro Francis, A Mariachi, who along with his group Viva Xalisco was invited to perform in the festival. When I was informed that he was not a Mexican but a French, I was quite amazed and amused at the same time, as I could never imagine any French to perform traditional Mexican music and dance, especially in an international folklore festival.
Francis informed that he was born in Paris in a French family, but by the age of 14 he became fascinated with the Mexican culture and had fallen in love with the music of Miguel Aceves Mejia... which deeply inspired him to understand and learn about the Mexican culture.
Francis’ love for Mejia’s music inspired him to learn Mariachi music and thereafter, he has considered himself as a Mariachi. Francis further adds that people are often amazed to know that he is a French and not a Mexican. Francis also mentions that he was fortunate to meet Mejia during one of his performance in Mexico and thereafter they shared a great friendship.
Francis takes pride in saying that “he sings like Mejia, who was also known as the king of falsetto”. In Gannat folklore festival, Francis not only mesmerized the audience with his music, especially his unique falsetto rendition, but also the performance along with his group members presented a fascinating glimpse of the Mexican traditional culture to the audience.
Check out the video clip of an interview that I conducted with El Charro Francis during the Gannat festival.
If you are interested in knowing more about the International Folklore Festival of Gannat, then do go through their website: http://www.cultures-traditions.org/