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Mariachi music might seem like the sound of bygone Mexico, but it's still very much alive and kicking, as this vibrant album shows. It's the music of life, as the pair of tracks bracketing the disc show — "Las Mañanitas" is for birthdays, while "Las Golondrinas" is for funerals. It's a record that does exactly what it says on the tin, acoustic mariachi music played with passion and an awful lot of skill, strings and brass working together with wonderfully impassioned vocals. The songs are all older, but many of them are quite rare, giving this CD an edge of unfamiliarity that helps bring it all the more alive. This six-piece California-based band is very much the real thing, obviously dedicated to its art, not simply giving room to museum pieces. A definite winner