Actually it’s called a huapango arribeño. In my neck of the serros in Mexico – El Sauz to be precise – my parents just called it música de vara. It came back to me this weekend for whatever reason all of the sudden. I remember my brothers and I used to hate it when the plazita in the middle of the rancho would get full of drunks, muchachos, muchachas, señoras selling chocolate and tacos rojos, more borrachos, kids running around like crazy, and those musicians that sounded more like they were talking instead of singing.
They annoyed me, I’ll admit. Every single song sounded just like the last one to me in those days. And there was really no avoiding the sound since their music could be heard throughout the entire serro so that even if you chose not to go to the baile you couldn’t help but listen to the music coming from the center of El Sauz right above the arroyos. I didn’t understand or care to listen to the lyrics back then. They didn’t resonate with me the way they do now.
Musica de huapango arribeño you see is music that is almost exclusively heard only in Guanajuato, Queretaro, and San Luis Potosi. And it really isn’t only music. It is poetry verses set to music. The songs usually tell a story, a funny one at that. Or they are conversations between two people set to music. I can’t explain it exactly. You just have to listen.
The irony you see, is that now I would give anything to take a step back in time to one of those live bailes in the middle of the pista, in the middle of El Sauz, in the middle of that serro that taught us so much about ourselves and our cultura.