Mariachi in the Morning

Jessica Ramirez
November 19, 2017

As my days in Barcelona wind down, and the countdown to home begins, I have developed the feeling of being torn in two. As much as I am in love with Barcelona and all that it has taught me, I miss home. And as much as home is my sense of comfort and true joy, I love the adventures and experiences that Barcelona has provided me. A few days ago I began again to reflect on my identity within this space. And thus, this is my second installment in the soul searching, cultural investigation series that I began with my love letter to tacos.

Since I wrote last about food and taste, in this installment I reflect on music and sound. This is the story of my morning commute, narrated by the voices of Vicente Fernandez, Jose Alfredo Jimenez, and Pedro Infante.


Each morning, I step out of my front door with my headphones in my ears, preparing to listen to music during my commute. The music I listen to depends on the day or my mood, but on this particular day, consumed with nostalgia, I decided to listen to my mariachi playlist. Immediately, the calming, beautiful voice of Pedro Infante began to sing.

Pasate a mi lado, con gran indiferencia,

tus ojos ni quisiera voltearon hacia mí

An immediate sense of peace washed over me, because that delicate symphony of trumpets and violins means more to me than any simple song. It’s the soundtrack of my life at home, of my culture. It’s Saturday mornings, meant for cleaning. Or Sunday afternoons in the backyard, time for family.  

te ví sin que me vieras, te hablé sin que me oyeras

y toda mi amargura se agogó dentro de mí.

And then I begin to think, this amazing feeling of home, of celebration of my Mexicanidad, would not be possible without this beautiful place I have called home for the past 3 months. The instruments that fill my ears are of European origin, and the style of music heavily influenced by our colonial heritage.

Me duele hasta la vida, saber que me olvidaste,

pensar que ni desprecios, merezca yo de tí.

Yet the subject matter of these songs is very much that of my own culture. Mariachi takes what the Spanish colonialists brought to the Mexican people and uses it as a means of expression for their lived reality. It is the voice of the people of Jalisco and of all of Mexico.

Y sin embargo sigues unida a mi existencia

y si vivo cien años, cien años pienso en tí.

And thus I have a great appreciation for the good things that came about from Spain’s involvement in Mexico. I do not disregard the complex, confrontational history of it, but recognize that something beautiful could grow from that difficult history. And I am grateful for the moments like this one where I can find an indescribable peace in the musical harmony of all those instruments, voices, histories, and cultures.

So to Mexico, Spain, and Mariachi: si vivo cien años, cien años pienso en tí.

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Jessica Ramirez

<p>I am a young Latina student who is passionate about travel, community empowerment, and celebration of diversity. I am the only daughter of Mexican immigrants and my life has been a colorful blending of Mexican and American cultures that has created a passion for the exploration of diverse cultures through travel. In all that I do, I try to learn about and immerse myself in worlds and communities unlike my own, because with each experience I grow as a conscious global citizen and will be able create bridges that can bring about positive social change in communities throughout the world.</p>

2017 Fall
Home University:
Santa Clara University
Santa Clara, CA
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