Do you know that feeling when a song moves you so much, you just feel like you have to add your own voice? Mexican culture has an answer to that: a cathartic, joyous yell called a grito.
Legendary Mexican performer Vicente Fernández, aka “Chente,” performs the crazy tragic love song “Volver, Volver.” “It’s one of the most iconic mariachi songs of all time, performed by the most popular Mexican mariachi vocalist ever,” says alt.latino’s Felix Contreras. “And there is a championship grito at the top of the song.”
Like lots of Mexican-American kids, Contreras and I grew up hearing the adults in our lives performing gritos when they listened to mariachi music at family barbecues, or cheering on friends and family at graduation.
“In my family, my mother and my grandfather, her step-dad, when we would be at family parties like Christmas or something like that, we’d be in the other room playing, we’d hear a really loud grito, we knew the party was on, it just took it to a different level,” Contreras says. “It was the ultimate expression that we were really having a good time.”
Photo: Hector Guerrero/AFP/Getty Images
Caption: A screen displays the concert of Mexican folk singer Vicente Fernández in Guadalajara, Mexico, in April, when Fernández announced his retirement.