"I give you my word"
Kathleen and I have attended the weekly market on Thursdays in La Penita since our arrival in early November and with few exceptions a group of young Mexican Lads can be seen and or heard at various spots around the market playing their home made drums and other percussion pieces to what they call “Musica de Africa”. Suffice it to say, they have an awesome beat and sound. We first saw them perform under full sunshine in early November when the temp was pushing 100 F with 80% plus humidity. As the beat of their music intensified so did the sweat beading up on their brow. They generally placed themselves in a half moon sort of position so the hat that they had sitting on the ground for “tips” was easily visible to those so inclined to reward them for their efforts.
We would always return from the markets commenting to each other how much we enjoyed their music and wishing that by some miracle they might have a CD recording of their work. It is now four months in to our stay and a week ago at the market I finally was able to ask one of the boys (in the red hat), if they had been recorded. I don’t speak but a little Spanish and he even less English but he knew what I was asking. He told me they had been recorded but he did not have any CDs with him. If I would come to next Thursday’s Market he would have one for me and it would be 100 pesos ($10.00). I told him I would like, dos (2).
Yesterday we were at the market; our last one before leaving back for the states, but to our dismay the drum music was not to be heard. Just before we were to leave the area of the market I heard the music off in the distance. It was indeed the boys and they were playing to a small crowd who had gathered just outside the market area in the middle of the street. We patiently waited in the warm sun for them to finish playing and between songs I got the young man’s attention and asked about the CD. He was extremely apologetic and was trying to get me to understand that he would need a couple of hours more and he would have them for me. I explained that we were finished with the market and leaving for the RV Park. He told me that he would find me and deliver them as soon as he could. I told him our site number in the park and told him to check with the office when he came to the park and they would see that he found me. (Remember all this between two chaps who don’t speak each others language.)
Several hours later back at the Park I was visiting outside our coach with several neighbors when I turned to see “Tacho”, (one of the park maintenance men) and the young drummer in the red hat approaching. Beads of sweat were very prominent on his forehead and he seemed a bit out of breath. He explained, that he had run all the way from town (a fair distance), because as he said, “I give you my word”. In his hand were the two CD’s. I gave him 250 pesos (including a 50 peso tip).
We have listened to the CD and at first were a bit confused as there are about 13 tracks of various styles of music, (not drum music), but buried near the end are two tracks that without question are from him and his friends.
How the CD was made, when the CD was made, where the CD was made all could be questioned but why would we? The two tracks of “African Drum Music” are awesome and we will listen to it whenever we want our hearts to return to La Penita.
We shook hands and I watched him walk back in the direction of town. I regret not getting his name, or asking him to sign the unmarked CD’s. I now have the memory of making a friend of a fine young man, struggling to express himself through street music, making a few pesos, whenever, and however he can, and being proud of who he is and what he does.
Perhaps I'm just another Michael meeting Miguel!