Mexico’s musical styles are as varied as its landscapes and as vibrant as the pastel colored buildings that dot its cities. Music is everywhere. Smooth Latin rock chords pour out into the streets from cafes and the steady paced click-clack of the clave, from a Cumbia song, accompanies most bus rides. No matter the genre, style, or even if you suffer from massive language barriers the music manages to imprint itself on the visitor in a visceral way.
On my trip to Mexico City (DF) in 2003 I fell in love with Chavela Vargas’s voice. My skin goosebumps each time I hear her rasp the story of the Llorona (the quintessential Mexican legend of a young women who rejects her roots and drowns her children to be with the man she loves).
In Taxco, a small silver town a few hours drive from DF, I saw my first Mariachi band. Saw being the operative word since the ornate uniforms are just as integral to the performance as the cascade of voices, guitarons, and trumpets. No other profession shares its sense of style with the Mariachi. Their voice and dress are unmistakable.
Mexico’s mountainous Monterrey boasts many contemporary, cutting edge recording artists. How many exactly? Let’s see, Plastilina Mosh, Gran Silencio, Control Machete, and Kinky just to name a few. These talented genre benders infuse traditional Afro-Carribean and Latin sounds with hip hop, electronica, reggae, funk and hardcore rap. As if to underscore that music has no borders they collaborate with American household names like Cypress Hill and Beck.
Though I visited Mexico more then a decade ago the memory of careless travels, truck tacos, or enjoying a kawama, a liter beer, with my friend Erez while watching the sunset is only a familiar song away. A pleading Cumbia melody by Socios Del Ritmo takes me to a busy market in Oaxaca. When Control Machete is on the sound system I find myself on a busy DF dance club floor. Si Senor!
The music is not just memories and nostalgia. Far from it! The same music fuels passion to find and share new adventures. As Ali and I plan to travel from DF to Tulum, Mexico the Playlist is ready to dish out equal parts memories and upbeat anticipation… all you have to do is hit play!
Check out the playlist Eddie prepared with tracks from Mexico and all over the Latin world!