Mérida is home to certain iconic traditions which are synonymous with the name of our city. If you are in the Centro Histórico, you cannot miss the trova musicians available for hire at the Plaza Grande, and the shoe-shine men at the same plaza and other parks in Centro.
Yucatecan trova music has its roots in Yucatán, Cuba, and Colombia. The guitar-accompanied ballads, with their masculine vocals, are often romantic in nature, and most trova groups are comprised of three or four musicians. They usually can be seen congregating around the Plaza Grande where it is customary to hire them to serenade a wife, girlfriend, mother, or daughter. Obviously the neighboring houses also get to enjoy the music, and no one seems to mind even if it is very late at night!
The shoe-shine men
The shoe-shine men are part of a Mexican tradition going back to the 1930s and 1940s, when men were sure to want the shiniest dancing shoes possible in order to attract the prettiest dance partners! They can be found in the Plaza Grande and other parks, including Los Portales, Parque Hidalgo, and Parque de la Madre. Some famous historical figures including singers and presidents started out as shoe-shine boys. If you haven’t tried it, it is a wonderful way to relax and read the newspaper, or hear stories from the shoe-shine men who have had their fingers on the pulse of this city for many years.
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