Musical Genius at Rancho Zanduga
Since I have only ever visited two cities in Mexico, I don’t know if this is a Mexican thing or a San Miguel de Allende thing or a month of October thing. But I can’t remember ever hearing so much music in one place.
In two weeks we have heard live music thrumming through the town squares, floating out of eateries, and strolling down the streets in the form of Mariachi bands and beaten by tribal drummers leading Indian dancers down the roads. We’ve passed by numerous guitar-playing crooners, an ever present elderly couple shaking maracas to a boom box, a piano bar at which we never heard a piano but did hear a jazz trio and a genre-non-specific rock group. And then there are the traditional Mexican tunes blasting out of cars, pocket shops, and courtyards.
I mean A LOT of music. Ever night, even Sunday, which surprised me, given that Mexico a largely Catholic country. If anything I expected a lot of religious music on Sundays. All this music is the most unusual thing about this trip, right up there next to A LOT of fireworks (as I write this, tonight’s massive fireworks display is exploding out our window). If I didn’t know it was fireworks I might think I was in a war zone — a really festive musical war zone.
Speaking of music, we (Joe, me and our friend Bev who will be staying here for two months working on her first children’s book) were truly blown away this afternoon. We spent it at Rancho Zandunga, a gorgeous concert venue out in the countryside about 30 minutes from San Miguel. It was built by Gil Gutierrez and his family.
Who is Gil Gutierrez, you might ask? I know I did. But God knows I am no music aficionado. I just like what I like and can never remember the names of anybody.
Turns out Gutiérrez is a phenomenal and very well known guitarist. The story has it he was playing in a restaurant in San Miguel when Doc Severinsen - the one who lead the orchestra on the Tonight Show for two decades when Johnny Carson was host - walked in. Severinsen was apparently blown away by what he heard and immediately asked him to go on tour.
The two toured together and recorded their first album in 2007. They have even played Carnegie Hall.
So there we were out in the middle of nowhere on this amazing ranch, listening to the most incredible music, watching seriously top-notch musicians make crazy love to their instruments, eating, drinking margaritas, and dancing the afternoon away. Several people actually stopped Joe and I to tell us how much they liked our dancing. I have to admit, I love dancing with my Joe. He is a truly joyful dancer and I always fall a little deeper in love when I see that smile he gets on a dance floor.
It was a truly magical day. A day where, at the end, you think God, isn’t it incredible to be alive? That’s what I thought.
Contrast this with the pure Mexican pop girl band that was playing in the center of town when we returned from Rancho Zandunga. Matching outfits and everything.
See what I mean? Music, music, everywhere in San Miguel de Allende.