For a European, one of the weird things about Mexico is how much of the music is essentially German and Polish. There are a huge amount of brass bands here, especially in the north, and many of them play something that is basically polka, albeit with lyrics in Spanish. (Some of the themes are modern and Mexican, but I imagine that the song I heard in my taxi yesterday about angst and heartbreak would have resonated just fine in nineteenth-century central Europe.) It’s interesting, certainly, but I must confess to being delighted when I attended a wedding over the weekend and the brass band played a set that sounded more like New Orleans than Nuevo Laredo. They were funky, they swung, and they even wore casual T-shirts, just like many of the bands in New Orleans. And then they played a load of polka, which got the dance floor going and was also pretty good.

Photo: Courtesy of Hamish Anderson


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Hamish Anderson

Hamish Anderson is a writer, editor, occasional radio DJ, and restaurateur. A native Englishman and longtime New York resident, he is currently based in Mexico City, having moved there in ...