Photo courtesy of the artist / The Syn

The Mariachi Ghost Frame the Duality of Humankind in “Cuerpo Mortal” (premiere)

The Mariachi Ghost announce their new album, Puro Dolor, as dark theater unfurls between living piñatas in their new music video for "Cuerpo Mortal".

The Mariachi Ghost excels in bridging the gap between contemporary and traditional Mexican music. Since their humble beginnings as an art project among friends in 2009, their invoking the spirit of golden era Mexican crooners into the folds of stirring guitar tones and euphonious synths has garnered the Winnipeg octet considerable acclaim on an international level. The band plan on releasing a new album, Puro Dolor, on 25 October.

Conceptualizing the tale of a man who wanders into a ghost town comprised of his mother’s memories, Puro Dolor is an exploration through great joy and melancholy alike. What might seem fantastical at first glance is rooted in true heartbreak by the loss of frontman Jorge Requena’s father to suicide, followed by passing of their producer, Jesse Zubot’s, father, as well. As a result, Puro Dolor lingers with a genuine sorrow.

Alongside the announcement of Puro Dolor is the premiere of a music video for the Mariachi Ghost’s latest single, “Cuerpo Mortal”. Directed by Requena, the video features a dark tale that unfurls between two living piñatas at the center of a gritty drama. He tells PopMatters, “‘Cuerpo Mortal’ is a throwback to the Mexican crooner era of the 1970s. People like José José, Rafael, and many others. Their songs focus on a feeling called ‘des-amor’ which is the feeling you feel when love abandons you. There is no literal translation in English, so we wanted to create something that feels like that melancholy and longing. We hope that the song can take you on a mental vacation to an imaginary past full of smokey lounges and silk suits.”

Speaking on the video, actor Gabriel Fields (who plays Don Rafael in “Cuerpo Mortal”) tells PopMatters, “The idea for this video came accidentally as we worked on scenes for the musical play we created last year. While directing, Jorge jokingly said that he wanted for the hanging of the character to feel like it was a piñata full of sweet and sour memories, and our designer Amy suggested, ‘Why not make a piñata for real?’, and so we made it happen. After years of directing television, Jorge thought it was finally time to breathe cinematic life into some of the characters in the story of the album. He wanted to create a visual story that reflected on the duality of good and evil inside all of us but in an intrinsically Mexican way. And he also wanted to make something that could never be unseen.”

“Jorge worked really hard to develop the look of these two living piñatas. Something striking meaningful and rich. The piñatas are two members of the band who spent four hours each on the make-up chair to be able to deliver. Jorge went through painstaking detail in every step of the filming. And the process was intentionally as far away from music as we could get. We wanted to test ourselves as artists, creators, actors, and filmmakers. We are very proud of the video we ended up with.”

To celebrate the release of “Cuerpo Mortal” and the announcement of Puro Dolor, the Mariachi Ghost will live-stream a performance from Winnipeg today, on 16 July.