One of the three most important things you bring to Mexico with you is flexibility. The other two are patience and a sense of humor. That is because things often don’t happen as planned, or never happen at all. And sometimes happen in ways you had not expected.
Part of the reason is that the infrastructure is not always great. Highways flood, get blocked by cows or local villages with a government grievance, power goes out, internet goes out, …things just don’t always work well. But the Mexicans are used to it and they know how to improvise beautify.
We were part of one of those improvisations this past weekend. One of the major clubs here was celebrating its owner’s birthday (we had previously celebrated the club’s anniversary) with a buffet dinner and a multi-artist concert. The bands were coming from Guadalajara, about an hour away. No big deal, we do it all the time.
However, this is the rainy season. Because we are in a bowl in the mountains 4500 up, on the shore of Mexico’s largest lake, our weather is pretty well moderated. The highs are not as high as in the city, the lows are higher, and it usually rains at right – but when t rains, it rains as much as an inch an hour. I forgot about that – and so did the club . While it mostly rains at night here in the mountains, there are regular downpours along the highway from Guadalajara, which is not in the mountains. And we had one. It rained.
And rained. And rained. And the highway flooded and the bands never made it.
So there we were, a full house, a buffet table loaded with molé and tortillas, and arroz and other good stuff, tequila bottles being passed around, and no music. No music at a birthday celebration for the owner of a music club.
Well, as you can imagine, the audience was full of musicians. And, since the owner is also a musician, there was no shortage of instruments. Plus the stage was set up for bands with mics, drums, etc. The result was the artists who came to party played. The owner played. People we didn’t know played. And we had so much fun, even if the keys people sang in were not always the same. That is the thing about Latin music – it is always fun.
Which is probably why it is approaching rap as the #1 music form worldwide. Even after “Despascito” faded of the charts and lost its position as the most-viewed music video on YouTube, Latin stars are rapidly moving up to replace it, with a projected $1 billion in sales this year. Latin trap, Latin traditional, Cumbia, Reggaeton, Latin rock and post-rock are all going mainstream – because they are fun.
So, despite the rain, the flooded highway, and the wet bands forced to turn around, we listened to Latin music – and jazz and traditional – and had lots of fun.
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