Listening to the quintessential charro song El Rey accompanied with occasional “gritos Mexicanos” or “mariachi howls” would not be an unusual event. However, when the gritos are performed by a Latina in a Midwest suburban kitchen, in full charro attire, the isolated, elongated cries or howls resonate a little deeper.
Historically, mariachis are typically made up of male members in charro suit, and the howl, as my mother once reminded me when I was young, is mostly done by the men. To let the gritos loose in my mother’s post-diaspora kitchen where she reflects the most, far from her native culture becomes a lamentable experience.
As an observer of Latina/o culture, by my personal experience and of my mother’s experiences, the sexist ties to a culture’s history have not been completely unraveled El Rey is an intimate rumination of being a Latina in the United States and the lengths of which power, feminism, culture, gender, and immigration have to be considered.