Mariachis in San Miguel de Allende: The Most Mexican Music There Is
For many people, Mexican music means mariachis. Oh yes, there is salsa and merengue, ranchero and norteña music, and you’ll hear it blaring from homes and cars throughout the country. But for the true feeling of the Mexican Experience… it’s mariachis you want.
You can find them in San Miguel de Allende, every night of the week, in the “portales” on the west side of the Jardín, the town’s pretty main plaza. They linger there, or up on the benches on that side of the square, waiting for someone to buy their services for a song or two. There are usually more than one group and they are easy to spot in their traditional mariachi outfits—tight pants with fancy braid and silver buttons down the outside, fitted short jackets with elaborately embroidered designs on the front and cuffs, and usually a big, floppy satin bow tie. They always look beautiful!
You’ll often see them playing in a half-circle around some blushing lady seated on a bench, whose husband or lover or son has paid to have her serenaded on a special occasion. It’s particularly common on Mexican Mother’s Day. The most frequently heard numbers seem to be that perennial favorite “Cielito Lindo,” or “Las Mañanitas,” the Mexican birthday song. Negotiate your price then request a favorite song of your own or simply ask them to play whatever they want. It’s sure to be great. Sing-a-longs are encouraged!
By Donna Meyer
San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico