The Torres household was not unlike other Latino households in that, we too, had to endure early Saturday mornings with the mariachi music going full blast. But the difference in our house was that we might be hearing those rancheras on record, on the radio, in a JUKEBOX that was in our house for years, or with Mike Torres playing and singing live! Our father is a lifetime mariachi and regularly rocks his charro suits. This is my very favorite picture of his, happiest when singing with the mariachi.
So I’d be in that bed trying to will myself back to sleep, trying to close my eyes, trying not to think that, along with the music, that house cleaning wasn’t far behind. Finally, I’d give in and wake up, laying there hearing the sounds of the house, the smell of breakfast cooking, knowing that in a few minutes, we’d get Mama’s call to get up and help do this or that and, through all of this, la musica ranchera a todo volumen en friega …music at full blast.
Back then, it was like “rolling the eyes” irritating on some days, at least those first few minutes of being up and about. Maybe if it were another kind of music that I liked at the time, I might have had a better attitude. Maybe not, I was and still am, to this day, a night person. This familia of musicos are also night people so we all have to tread lightly every morning so that we don’t offend each other as we try to wake up. And when we are all still living at home, we Torres5 used to regularly try to compete with Dad by turning the TV up, Dad singing/playing louder, TV up, music louder and on and on. LOL
A little while ago, I was sitting here, all desvelada complete with that headache that you get from little or no sleep, and, just as I was thinking, “I’m gonna go home and take a nap“, the music in my shuffle changes and I actually jumped as “El Son de La Negra” comes on trumpets blasting, all loud and proud. I actually smiled as I felt this music wake up my soul with its invigorating and empowering energy, I was this close to saying ‘VivaMexico!’ but don’t know how my Starbucks table neighbors would deal with it LOL.
Gone are the days of “rolling of the eyes” when I hear musica de mariachi. I have the gift of my father who, at 82 years old, STILL plays the guitar DAILY, who still blasts his musica, who is a walking encyclopedia of Mexican music and who knows all of the fun chisme folkloric back stories of songs, musicians, mariachis. You better know that we Torres5 know so many of these songs word for word. And, every time I hear “El Son de La Negra“, I am ready to get my grito on and sing all of the words to these great great great songs, songs that I have heard forever in my house, songs of the motherland, songs that make me proud to be part of such a colorful, vibrant, always-at-full-blast culture. These songs or powerful “sones” are guaranteed to give you the chills when you hear them, go anywhere in the world, watch (and hear) the reaction when this song comes on. Gritos can be heard from every inch of the place almost as loud as the mariachi itself. The pride and joy are in full effect — from the mariachis to the audience, these songs regularly bring any house down, anywhere, anytime.
And, songs like these probably still drive people crazy on Saturday mornings because, yes, they are some of the best songs to clean house to. Enjoy “El Son de La Negra”… listen, watch and tell me you don’t feel it!