Romanticism is still alive on the streets of Mérida, in the bohemian nights, and of course in the music of the trios, the main performers of the Yucatecan trova, known for its tributes to women and their beauty. The Yucatecan trio is composed of two guitars, one playing the rhythm and the other the bass notes, and a smaller type of 6-string guitar which produces a sharp sound very characteristic of this musical style.
Various Yucatecan trios have conquered the world including “Los Panuchos” and “Los Montejo”, but if there is one thing which they have in common it is that they all speak of love with soft melodies and poetic words. In fact, some of the composers of trova were recognized poets, including Guty Cárdenas and Ricardo López Méndez, among others.
Yucatecan trova is the fruit of a poetic and musical culture that was born with the influences of Cuban styles and other Latin American countries; its “golden age” was between 1920 and 1950 and it became the principal focus of social life in the city of Mérida; and today is considered a living national treasure.
The first composers were inspired by literature and captured expressions in the lyrics that still thrill new generations, with words that praise the loved woman and her unequalled beauty.
This musical adventure began with the song “Despedida” (farewell), with words by José Peón Contreras and music by Cirilo Baqueiro Preve; it achieved world fame with “Peregrina” (pilgrim) by Ricardo Palmerín, followed by “Flor de Azahar” (orange blossom) by Santiago Manzanero and “Presentimiento” (premonition) by the Martínez Gil brothers, among other bohemian songs still popular today.
Trova was born in the cities and even today you can find trios in the parks of the main squares; their importance is such that they are the origin of the traditional serenade to a female friend, girlfriend, daughter, or mother. In Mérida all you have to do is go to the Plaza Grande at night and hire the trio of your choice to play one or two songs right there, or take the serenade “to go” to the house of the woman who is being celebrated, so she can listen to a repertoire of five or six songs. Believe me, even the neighbors will enjoy the show!
Don’t forget during your visit to Mérida to go to the free weekly open-air Yucatecan trova serenade in Parque de Santa Lucía (Calle 60 at 55, Centro) every Thursday at 9 pm, a delight for locals and visitors alike.
To learn more about trova, go to the Museo de la Canción Yucateca (museum of the Yucatecan song) in Parque de la Mejorada (Calle 57 at 48, Centro), a place where the history and uniqueness of trova music and its composers is gathered and displayed.
Yucatecan trova serenades are a legacy which remains alive every time someone listens to one of its romantic melodies and falls in love again.
More information about trova musicians: merida.mx/mistradiciones
By: Violeta H. Cantarell
With information from Gobierno del Estado
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