Sunday, June 23, 2024

The magic of music in Mexico: A perspective from our CEO

The Mexican love of music and dancing is something to admire, embrace and I think might just be a key element to their overall happiness.

Music is everywhere in Mexico. Traveling in a taxi anywhere in the country you’ll often get a mini DJ set — with the taxi driver never considering for a second that you might not want to hear their music. I actually think that many of them secretly take pride in their musical selection for you.

Both Taylor Swift and Madonna on their recent global tours performed more nights in Mexico City than any other city in the world, except for Los Angeles.

The sound of music is everywhere and seemingly enjoyed by everyone.

For Mother’s Day weekend here in San Miguel de Allende, there was a free concert in the town square by the Colombian cumbia group La Sonora Dinamita. Everyone there was singing and dancing — husbands and wives, mothers with their children, grandmothers with their grandchildren — it was magical. Pure bliss under the stars to end an oppressively hot week.

This past weekend was another example of the magic of music in our adopted hometown of San Miguel de Allende. On Friday night, after yet another long day of heat, we walked to the center of our town. In one small plaza in front of a beautiful 18th century church, a DJ had set up and was playing what can only be described as “cartoonish electronic dance music.”

People of all ages were dressed up as their favorite movie or cartoon characters and were dancing wildly and energetically to the music. I said to my wife: “that’s one way to shake off the stress of a long week — dress up like a Looney Tunes character and go dance like nobody’s watching!”

From that plaza, we walked a few more blocks to the main plaza in town. As is always the case, there were multiple mariachi bands playing to different groups of people. For some reason, it felt like more people were ordering up songs and dancing than usual. Perhaps the heat of the day inspired people in the cool evening to just want to get up and dance.

We saw a large extended family of nearly 20 people in a circle around a mariachi group, with a grandmother dancing away with what must have been her grandson. A sight like that is something truly special to observe. They didn’t just dance for a moment for a photo, but rather for multiple songs, and with the entire family singing and dancing around them.  We sat for at least an hour and enjoyed watching other groups celebrating birthdays and anniversaries with music and dance.

The next morning, which was Saturday, I walked into town to get some fruits and vegetables. Walking by yet another church (SMA has lots of them!), I saw a DJ set up about 100 feet in front of the entrance absolutely blaring Mexican ranchero music. Next to the multiple 2 meter high speakers of the DJ were pictures of the bride and groom about to be married. I wonder if the bride and groom specifically requested this? Or did some crazy uncle or cousin just decide to surprise them upon their arrival at the church for their big day? Either way, it couldn’t help but make me smile.

Later that evening, we went to a “Candlelight concert” at a hotel in town. A quartet of Mexican classical musicians played Coldplay’s greatest hits — surrounded by over 4,000 candles and under the light of the moon and stars. It truly was a wow moment. They played two concerts that night and I was surprised and inspired to see that probably 95% of the attendees were Mexicans of all ages.

On Sunday morning, the musical weekend continued as we were awakened at 7:30 a.m. to music blaring from behind our house at a local park. The DJ was doing a sound check in advance of a race that was to take place at 9 in the morning. The song that woke us up was none other than “Staying Alive” by the Bee Gees. I found it fitting — perhaps Mexicans have discovered that the secret to staying alive and happy is in fact listening to lots of music.

For those of you who know Mexico and have traveled a lot to other countries, what do you think? In what other countries of the world, would all of this have happened on one random weekend?

Travis Bembenek is the CEO of Mexico News Daily and has been living, working or playing in Mexico for over 27 years.

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