Saturday, December 2, 2023

Norteño bands play in the streets to earn what they can

Members of norteño bands from Jalisco, Nayarit and Sinaloa have taken to the streets to play music and earn what they can, being out of work due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tourism and the entertainment industry have suffered in the states, as in other parts of Mexico, and bands find themselves facing months of cancelled gigs.

“We make the day happy and help out with music,” said Israel Rodríguez, a musician collecting donations from the few people crossing a pedestrian bridge in Bahías de Bandera, Nayarit. His band El Coral de Puerto Vallarta was forced to search for new territory after not being allowed to play and collect money in the streets of neighboring Puerto Vallarta.

He carried a sign that read, “Support for musicians. We’re out of work. Music is what we do. Thank you.”

He and musicians from other bands in the region united in Bahía de Banderas to play music in the streets while observing physical distancing measures to minimize the chances of transmission of the coronavirus.

“Thank God we’re able to earn enough to survive, for our families. We’re going to continue [playing in the street] because there’s no work. All the gigs we had scheduled for April, May and June were cancelled because of the virus,” he said.

Another musician named Isidro Guerrero said that he and his fellow players have asked for economic support from the government, but have had to settle for these small chances to play music in public.

“We play for a little while, make people happy for a little while … and ask for a small donation so that we can buy food,” said Guerrero. “[The pandemic] stopped everything for us, all the contracts we had scheduled.”

Working musicians across the country are experiencing tough economic times, as the weddings, birthday parties, confirmations and other fiestas that normally keep them employed have been cancelled.

Mariachi musicians in Acapulco performed outside hospitals in the city in early April to show their gratitude for the frontline workers’ efforts, to encourage them to keep going and to ask the local government to help them during the difficult times.

Source: La Jornada (sp)

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