La Callejoneada de la Estudiantina

(The Street Party of the Student Musicians)

A callejoneada (pronounced cah-yay-hoh-nay-'ah-dah) is a roaming street party, and an estudiantina (pronounced eh-stoo-dee-ahn-'tee-nah) is a group of student musicians. This performing group, dressed in 17th-century Spanish costumes, parade through the streets of Guanajuato at least three times a week singing songs, telling stories, and playing their instruments. Instruments include mandolins, guitars, a bass violin, drums, and tambourines. The ages of the students, as seen in the photos below, range from about 8 to 10 years old, to college age. Callejoneadas only occur in a few cities in Mexico since the country rarely embraces its Spanish heritage. So it is a rare treat if you get to see one! This performing group is modeled after the bawdy student groups who survived on wit and song during bleak times in medieval Spain. So they are very much like minstrels.

                    We had to purchase tickets for the callejoneada we attended. Tickets cost 90 pesos, or about $9.00. The outdoor "concert" began in front of La Iglesia de San Diego, right beside the Juarez Theater. After a couple of songs, the estudiantina took off on their roam through the winding, cobblestone streets of the city, and the audience followed them on foot. They made stops along the way in front of selected spots or houses to sing their songs or to tell a story. Some of their songs included familiar tunes such as "La Bamba," "Cielito Lindo,"  and "Bésame Mucho." Another familiar song was "Guantanamera," which Pete Seeger once sang. The concert began at 9:00 p.m. and lasted about an hour and 45 minutes. It finally concluded on the steps in front of the University.

                    Between songs and stories, the older musicians would give people in the crowd sips of wine from a large ceramic flask with a long spout which they carried. The long spout on the flask is so they can aim the wine in your mouth from a distance and without it touching your lips since everyone in the crowd is offered a sip. (Tip: If you ever attend a callejoneada and you don't drink, just tell them "no tomo" (pronounced noh 'toh-moh -- I don't drink) if they offer you any.) They also gave out free souvenir pitchers with the name of their estudiantina group on them, and the younger musicians would fill everyone's pitcher with juice for refreshment. The pitchers are ceramic and hold only enough for one person to drink. You could also drink directly from the spout of the pitcher. The photos below show the estudiantina group called "Tuna Colegiata de Guanajuato." I have also included a couple of videos (below the photos) which I took of this group.

The callejoneada begins in front of the Church of San Diego, next door to the Juarez Theater. The church is on the left. Note that their 17th-century costumes are complete with tights!

The estudiantina stops in front of a house to perform a song. The little boy in the middle was the youngest musician in the group. 


Stopping to tell a story.

This is the guy we bought our tickets from earlier in the day. I had no idea when I had my photo taken with him that he was the leader of the estudiantina group. Ticket sales were just purchased on the streets in the Jardin Unión (Union Garden) across the street from the Juarez Theater.

Below are some videos of a couple of their songs. The first song is "Guantanamera." Click here to view the sheet music for "Guantanamera" in PDF. The second song is called "El Flautín del Pastor" (The Flute of the Shepherd). Just click on the player below to view them both. (The songs will play back to back.)


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All photos and videos on this site copyright 2008 by Tara Guthrie.