After exploring the beautiful city of Puebla, Santiago (Chris’ friend) told us that we had to meet with some of his friends to hire a mariachi band. That was definitely going to be interesting! I had never really listened to a mariachi band, let alone see one perform live in front of us.
A few minute walk took us to the plaza where all the mariachis are gathered. It was a very beautiful local, looking typically Mexican.
But enough with the location, that’s not the interesting part! Once we were there, mariachis weren’t hard to find. Actually, they were all over us, competing to be hired. I’m glad I wasn’t the one dealing with them, since they can be even more overwhelming than car dealers (or you know… taxis drivers outside an airport!) Santiago’s friends were the one dealing with the band members, since they were the one hiring.
Why hire a mariachi band? One of the guy wanted to surprise his girlfriend that he hadn’t seen in a long time since he lived abroad. It was her birthday on the day after, so he wanted to be outside her window at midnight. (Romantic, isn’t it?) So he had to find the best mariachi band for his budget (because they can get very expensive if you want to best ones!)
But you can’t tell how good a mariachi band is without hearing them. That’s why the first band we talked to got their guitars and their trumpets and gave us a demo. Unfortunately, the singer’s voice wasn’t the greatest, so we moved to the second band. They were much better, even though not perfect. Still, they would do for tonight.
Here’s a part of their demo performance!
Cool eh? So Santiago’s friend hired them and we were going to see them later tonight. The interesting thing is that during his sales pitch, the leader of the band asked us where we were from. We told him we were from Canada and he said to our new Mexican friends that he was going to try to leave the best impression he could on us. That he would sing for Mexico. I thought that was the coolest thing ever, having people wanting to impress us in that way.
Around 11:30, we left with Santiago to go to the girlfriend’s house. Of course, she was sleeping and the whole neighborhood was dead silent. The only thing you could hear was cars in the distance. And there we were, under the girl’s window, waiting for 12:00 with a mariachi band. When it was finally midnight, the boyfriend started signing with the mariachi band. These guys were SO LOUD! I was surprise this was even legal Puebla’s “suburbs”, because if you had something like that in Canada, all the neighbors would call the police and complained about being awaken. I guess it’s a different culture and Mexican all experience mariachis at one point of another.
So back to that night. On the second song, the girl woke up and joined us outside. We ended up going inside a bit afterward, because it was freezing cold outside.
While the band was playing, we had some tequila, trying to be as Mexican as possible! (I ended up falling asleep at the end, not because they were boring, but because I was exhausted.)
But I do have a video of their real performance! Here’s one of their songs. (I’m sorry for the poor quality video; it was pretty dark in there.)
That night was an amazing one and we were really lucky to experience something like that, as it doesn’t happen very often in Mexico (or not with young people in general). The band was great, the people were very friendly and the tequila was good! What else could we have asked for?