The mystery of the Tuesday morning mini-mariachi serenade.
Six or seven times now since moving to Berlin, I’ve heard live mariachi-style music coming from not too far down our street. It wasn’t until the third time that I realized the music wasn’t some random event, and so I started paying attention.
The first detail I noticed was that it seems to happen only on Tuesday mornings. Early last Tuesday morning, I made sure to open the windows wide so I wouldn’t miss it like I had on previous weeks.
This turned out to be an excellent fact-finding strategy. With the windows open, I heard the music the moment it started and quickly wrote down the time (10:28 am, in case you’re wondering). While I listened, I also made a note on my calendar so I’d remember to be waiting the following Tuesday.
The following Tuesday was yesterday, and was I ever ready!
Once again, the music started just before 10:30. I leaned waaaay out our second-story window to get a better sense of where it might be coming from but the best I could determine was down a side street two blocks away. From that distance, I can’t ever tell if the solo instrument being played is a trumpet (my suspicion) or a trombone but it’s definitely something in the brass family.
Though the street we live on is only one lane in each direction, car and bus (and sometimes plane) traffic is steady enough to block the music except for brief moments, which makes my detective work a bit more difficult.
Still, I’ve learned a few more things.
- The music itself never lasts more than ten minutes, an oddly short duration that, to my ears, only heightens the intrigue enveloping this mid-morning mystery.
- The first (and maybe only?) song the unknown musician seems to play each week is the traditional ranchero tune Cielito Lindo. Though you may not recognize the name, you probably know the tune. (If you’re curious, take a quick visit to YouTube, where you can listen to a somewhat operatic version by Luciano Pavarotti and Enrique Iglesias. I have no idea why this is the most-viewed version, but there it is. I myself prefer this less-authentic but definitely lively version by the American ska punk band Voodoo Glow Skulls.)
- Though I at first assumed I was overhearing someone’s practice session or lesson, the growing body of aural evidence (no scales, no warm up, just right into the music) leads me to believe my initial theory is incorrect.
While I’ve certainly made some progress on my quest these past two weeks, there are still many elements of this mystery left to uncover. Who? What? Where? Why?
It should be no mystery, then, that my new plan is to be out on that side street no later than 10:25 next Tuesday morning.
Stay tuned, and keep your ears open…