Undiscovered Rock Star

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Undiscovered Rock Star.

I love street performers–when they are good. Most of them are pretty not so good. Some are really great. This afternoon in San Miguel one of the great ones crossed
my path.

The Jardin is the center of local activity, especially on a Sunday afternoon. After a day of almost monsoon-worthy rain yesterday, today we were blessed with sunshine and blissful weather. Fred and I found perfect seats at a little sidewalk cafe on the square and, indeed, life felt pretty good. There is all sorts of action in this part of town: food vendors, giant human puppets, all sorts of peddlers of everything from balloons to baskets, and occasional street performers, usually in the form of solo guitarists or mariachi bands.

I was delighted to see a very unique take on street music in the form of Marco, a young man with a banjo, a definitely unique personal style, and a back-up stand-up bass player. Marco was tall, slim, and incredibly charismatic. He seemed to be performing for the sheer joy of it. He was playing his banjo like a rock and roll guitar and singing and dancing for all he was worth. He drew quite an appreciative crowd, and was especially admired by the preteen boys and young women, and me. All his lyrics were in Spanish except for “Stand by Me,” which seems to be an all-time Latin American favorite, and which he sang in English. I was very happy to have a front row seat for this little concert. When he had done several songs and taken up a few collections from the crowd he said, “Buenas tardes,” and moved on.

He seemed happy as he moved away. He had had an appreciative audience, made some bucks, and been doing what he obviously loves to do. As I watched him walk away I wondered where his journey will take him. What if a person who could “make him a star” saw him perform and that happened? And if it did, how would that change his life? He may have already achieved the best form of success there is just by being an undiscovered rock star who performs for love of it. I probably won’t ever know the answer to this question. But I do know that one of the things I love about Mexico is that here there doesn’t seem to be the same drive that I see in the USA. The ultimate definition of success seems to be more about the simple enjoyment of life and less about how much money you make while you’re doing it.

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