We are wandering around the Saturday flea market at Plazuela de los Sapos in Puebla, Mexico, in and out of aisles filled with rusted iron butcher hooks, old painted pottery, antique furniture, glitzy glam rhinestone jewelry in dazzling day-glow colors, brass hand bells new and old, religious relics, doll heads, ancient detritus of Tia Maria’s kitchen cupboard.
Then I hear it. The sounds of a band draw me to them. I can’t quite name the music although it sounds familiar. We stand around listening. Put money in the violen case. And, ask, what kind of music is this. Oh, it’s klezmer, says the percussionist.
Here is what we found: Tate Klezmer Band.
Is anyone in the group Jewish? I ask, knowing that Mexico has a history of Conversos, hidden Jews, who came from Spain during the inquisition, forced to convert to Catholicism and kept their religious practices secret. No, she says. We play it because we love it. It’s lively and makes us feel happy, like dancing. It’s the music of weddings, she says, and they continue to play.
All are students in the music conservatory. I want to invite them to Oaxaca to play at my next party!