I am in love with Mexican Music ... and the musicians
By Margie Keane
I have been blown away by Mexican music since arriving in Mexico 17 years ago. Some of these musicians have no formal training, yet they play and sing so beautifully that it makes my heart sing and sometimes makes me cry.
Last night my husband and I were privileged to attend the San Francisco Mariachi band concert held in the patio of Hotel Real de Chapala. The band stepped out onto the stage just before 7 PM and stood there, in silence, silhouetted against a lavender sky and the mountains dark in the background as the sun set. Then, the music began.
A tenor voice came out of the shadows and then the musicians joined him as the dim lights came on to reveal the 11 Mariachi players, dressed in dove gray embroidered costumes with matching sombreros.
The musicians came down from the stage and strolled through the crowd, singing and flirting with the ladies to their delight.
The violins, the trumpets, and the men singing were superb. Just when I thought that they could not do any better, they did. Three hours of outstanding performances by all of these talented and handsome musicians. What a wonderful evening!
A couple of months later, my husband and I were in a café in Merida, celebrating our anniversary. While enjoying an after-dinner drink, a three-piece combo came into our dining area and started setting up their instruments. Well, really, at the beginning there were only two musicians, then a third shuffled in. It was an older man carrying a guitar. It became obvious that he was the father of one of the young men and revered by both. The love and deference they showed him were quite touching.
The two young men began playing some Cuban music, then switched to salsa. I asked if they would play Malagueña. I knew that they would do a good job because one of them had the perfect voice for this, my favorite Latin song. When they struck the first few chords the old man looked up. He was beaming. He said, “At last! Mexican music!” They did a great rendition of the song, but, to me, the best part was the large smile on the face of the old one.
Even the local bands are great. We went to a sunrise birthday party hosted by the daughter of the honoree. The band started at 6 AM, with a very loud tune, waking the honoree who was sleeping off a hangover. As a fellow musician, he appreciated their efforts, but after a couple of songs he thanked them and told them that they could go.
They had been paid for one hour so they played on, smiling and singing their hearts out, ending their musical tribute with their rendition of “Deep in the Heart of Texas.” Go figure.
Never have I experienced the feeling of so much joy and love coming from any music or musicians as I have here in Mexico.
Viva México y viva la música!
For more information about Lake Chapala visit: www.chapala.com