Monday, October 01, 2007
Mariachi in Chacala
I accidently posted this here, instead of on "My Life in Chacala". Then I decided to leave it here. When I first arrived in Chacala I had no notion of Mariachi music, or any other popular music in Mexico. I think my complete knowledge of music in Spanish was "La Cucaracha", and "Vaya Con Dios, My Darling". I don't know much more now, but DO I know what I don't like. I know that I definitely don't like ANY music played over sound systems as big as trucks. Or played by band consisting of 10 trumpet and 8 drum players, and a tone-deaf lead singer. Or music played after midnight, until 3 or 4am.There was a big wedding and fiesta in Chacala last week. The fiesta/dinner party had one of those big-speaker-bands. I didn't go down to the beach to look it over: to count the speakers and admire the flatbed truck they probably came to Chacala on.But I could hear every note of their "music" from my bedroom window. Didn't even have to open the window. Very loud music. When it's that loud you can't really hear the "tune" or the singing. It's just LOUD. IT doesn't matter that the speaker can't sign and can't remember the words of the song. I bet if they tested the hearing of all of Mexico, hearing problems would be endemic.But there was a Mariachi band at the Chacala church. Before, during and after the Mass. And it was lovely. Beautiful music and singers with good voices. Nice romantic songs. With real instruments: violins, real guitars, sax, and trumpet, and more.I walked by the church about a half hour before the actual ceremony, and visited with the band a little. I guess I am a band "groupie" now. I think there are 15 band members, all wearing very dressy outfits.It was late afternoon, in the 90's and very, very humid. No breeze. I am surprised that no members of the wedding party fainted from the heat. The was a lot water and beer being inhaled during the breaks. the bride needed a hand-held paper fan to keep cooler.Apparently every piece of their outfits has particularly significance and a history. I think that this band has been playing together for a long time. Some of the main players are at least 60, maybe older. Quite a few youngsters too. I had the impression there were a number of family members in the band, but I am not sure about that.I was back outside the church when the music started. We we sitting and standing under the huge tree outside the church, listening to the music and watching as the wedding party, guests and some town people entered the church.The band also played several times during the ceremony, and then afterwards. I think I have come to appreciate Mariachi music by osmosis. I don't remember actually sitting down and listening to it, and I couldn't name in particularly songs. But the music just feels so Mexico.The band had another "groupie", beside me. A local guy who is part of the Chico's Restaurant family. I think he does night security. And I know that sometimes he collects the entry fees for the bathroom facilities. He's over 80 year old. He was also very interested in the band, and was lurking around them the whole afternoon. He's the guy in the white dress shirt, and sunglasses, looking good.