Monday, September 6, 2010

Beach Buzz: A Joyful Noise

-by La Huerita

One of the things I love the most about Mexico is the absolute abandon with which her people embrace music. Everybody sings, whether or not they can carry a tune, and at the drop of a hat, too. No one is embarrassed to be a bit (or a lot) off key, they just let loose and belt it out. At the tops of their voices. As like as not, everyone around will grin and join in, too. It's a wonderful thing!

My favorite song, the one that will stop me in my tracks whenever I hear it, is the ranchera tune called Volver Volver (to return, to go back), a plaintive song of lost love and a longing to return to the loved one's arms. Written by Vicente Fernandez, this song more than any other makes me nostalgic for Mexico and when I'm away too long all it takes is to hear the first few bars to make me all soppy with sentiment and longing to return.

I well remember the first time I heard it. DH and I were sitting at a deck restaurant overlooking Los Muertos Beach in Puerto Vallarta, watching squadrons of pelicans sailing low over the waves, just enjoying ourselves in the early afternoon. A group of five older men, a couple of them quite elderly, walked toward us along the beach, carrying instruments by which we knew them to be musicians hoping we'd pay them for a song or two. They wore crisp white shirts with rolled up sleeves, black pants that were shiny from many pressings, and black shoes that were well worn and scuffed from many journeys along the beaches. Most of all, they wore a quiet dignity and warm smiles.

Usually we declined such services, but there was something so warmly, authentically GENUINE about these men that I could not refuse. I said "Yes, please", and after setting themselves up behind our table the youngest of the men stepped forward to tell me that his Uncle wanted to play this song for me because he thought I looked sad. That song was, of course, Volver Volver, and it made me just a bit teary eyed. It still does.

Here is the fine group Mariachi Vargas' rendition of the song, performing live in Japan. It isn't quite the same as my first encounter with it, but in my mind's eye every time I hear it I still see five older men in shiny black pants trudging up the beach with their instruments on a blue and golden Puerto Vallarta day... I hope you'll enjoy it.

I hope you had a wonderful Labor Day Weekend, with plenty of music, laughter, food and fun!

PS: I wasn't sad at all that day in Puerto Vallarta, it's just that my mouth turns downward naturally so people often think I'm sad. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.


Este amor apasionado
Anda todo alborotado por volver.
Voy camino a la locura
Y aunque todo me tortura, sé querer.

Nos dejamos hace tiempo
Pero me llegó el momento de perder.
Tú tenías mucha razón;
Le hago caso al corazón
Y me muero por volver.
Y volver volver volver
A tus brazos otra vez;
Llegaré hasta donde estés;
Yo sé perder, yo sé perder;
Quiero volver, volver, volver.


This impassioned love
Goes on, compelling me to return;
I'm on the road to madness
And although everything tortures me,
I know how to love.

We parted ways some time ago
But the moment of loss arrived.
You had every reason;
I heed my heart
And I'm dying to return.

And to return, to return, to return
To your arms again
I will arrive where you are
I know how to lose, I can take it
I want to return, return, return.

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