Moment In Time: Olvera Street

I have issues being intruded upon by mariachis while I’m enjoying a meal, but these two musicians I snapped below at the conclusion of dinner at La Golondrina on Olvera Street were not only restrained in their rovings but were actually quite good what with the soulful tender harmonies that they delivered to the large party seated near us.

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The trouble wasn’t at all with them, it was with idiot loaf of whitebreads for whom they performed who reminded me that my beloved Olvera Street is a fiction, a colorful marketplace tourist trap envisioned in the 1920s by a white socialite shocked at how dilapidated the city’s original center had become. At the conclusion of their first number someone at the table asked if they could sing “La Macarena.” When the duo sternly shook their heads no, one lady then queried “Can you play Tijuana Brass?” and of course she pronounced it tee-ah-juana (a pet peeve of mine).

As the pair again shook their heads no my wife and I took that as our queue to depart before these distant members of my tribe could embarrass us further by requesting “Brazil ’66” or perhaps “Mexican Radio.”

11 Replies to “Moment In Time: Olvera Street”

  1. Kudos to the marichis that can nail A Mi Manera. Most can’t but give it the old college try. Gipsy Kings version on Cantos De Amor is perhaps my favorite recording in the world.

  2. There’s only a few places where real mariachis belong. REAL mexican restaurants which we really have some great ones in and around LA. They don’t belong in the chains like chevy’s or acapulco’s as they cross the line to plain annoying in those places.

  3. Just to clarify, these guys are not mariachis. Mariachi music is a specific genre (perhaps Diego can explain?). These two are probably doing old style boleros and are one man short of a “trio.” Trios are known for romantic ballads and harmonies.

  4. Face it, Will just likes to be annoyed by all those other people–the whitebreads, the woman who likes Herb Alpert, the soi-distant members of his tribe. Is there no safe place in all of Los Angeles for Will Campbell? Is he doomed to be rubbed raw by the insensitive masses?

  5. The musicians in the photo are not a mariachi, but a dueto playing trio music. Chimatli is right, they are missing another member, but still probably sound great. Duetos and trios are good for restaurants in the evening, while mariachi groups are better for parties in backyards and halls. Mariachis are ok in restaurants, but the acoustics of most restaurants are so bad that mariachi music sounds shitty.

    Mariachi is not a genre; it refers to the musicians wearing the charro traje.

    Mariachi Loco has a lot of potential, but it all depends on the audience. If the audience is receptive and dances, sings, and is jovial, then the song is great. If not, the song falls flat and feels out of place. And honestly, it’s not so funny. It’s just some nonsense lyrics for a song that has become cliche.

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