The sound of mariachi music once again filled Mexico City’s Plaza Garibaldi Sunday morning when around 200 mariachi musicians returned to the iconic square after a three-month Covid-19 shutdown.
The musicians filled the square with music and receive badly needed donated care packages.
Dressed in their archetypal charro suits, the musicians also hoped their presence would publicize the dire economic situation of many mariachi musicians who, thanks to Covid-19 measures encouraging people to stay indoors and not congregate, have seen a devastating downturn in their usual sources of income: weddings, parties, and other large gatherings, as well as the tourists who would normally pass through the city’s public places.
“We want help, we want the people to know that the mariachis live on,” musician Marcos Montes told the newspaper El Universal. “We want to work and need the support of people — perhaps not with handouts but by coming to see us and by hiring us.”
The charity Agrega organized the event, making sure that those who showed up maintained a safe distance as they gathered and played classics like México Lindo y Querido. The musicians also wore masks at the request of the organization.
They represented both genders and all age groups, ranging from children to senior citizens. Jacinto Martínez, 71, said he has spent his entire life as a mariachi.
“I’m the son of a mariachi,” he said. “I was taught to play the violin since age 8, and I don’t know how to do anything else. Now my children are helping me to keep going.”
The distribution of care packages, which are meant to last six weeks, are part of a campaign Agrega calls “Al Pie de tu Ventana” (“Just Outside Your Window”), a reference to the common sight of mariachis hired to serenade people outside their window.
Agrega works with businesses and individuals to raise money and provide food to feed the hungry. It is currently raising money for supplies via the donadora.org fundraising website.
Sources: El Universal (sp)