If you want to learn about our country using your ears, you must visit the Fonoteca Nacional (National Archive of Recorded Sound). Here, the sound memory of the Mexican culture is stored, and you will be able to listen to testimonies of its beliefs, speech patterns and rhythms that shape the national identity. Visit the audio library, where you will have Access to thousands of audio files, including music, political speeches, interviews and much more. Immerse yourself in its reading room, where you will find hundreds of audio-book titles, newspapers and specialized magazines.
Visit the sound garden, where environmental works and experimental concerts are presented. The National Archive also has the largest collection of folk music in the country, in addition to unreleased recordings of great Mexican composers of the twentieth century, such as José Alfredo Jimenez or Gonzalo Curiel. This complex also houses the private musical wealth of the composer Chava Flores, considered a sociologist, musical storyteller and musical historian of Mexico. But the National Archive does not only offer folk and popular music, it also covers a large range of music genres such as Mexican country music, boleros, tangos, waltz and even rock.
One of the gems in this place is the room dedicated to the soap operas and radio plays, with over 350 titles, including such iconic titles as Chucho “El Roto”, “Angelitos Negros” (“Little Black Angels”), “Juana de Arco” (“Joan of Arc”) and “El Burocrata” (“The Bureaucrat”). Among this institution’s best kept treasures, you will be able to listen to the thank you speech General Porfitio Diaz offered Thomas Alva Edison for having presented him with one of his early phonographs; you will also be able to listen to one of the few records of the voice of muralist Diego Rivera during an interview taped in the forties. Something not to be missed.
If you are looking for a sound experience outside of an enclosure, the obvious choice is a visit to Plaza Garibaldi, undisputed reference of Mexico City and birthplace of the national identity. Regardless of the passage of time, this square, located on Eje Central Avenue, corner with Republica de Honduras, in the Historic Center, is always filled with visitors singing at the top of their lungs, to the rhythm of the music being played by the mariachi bands. After some remodeling, the square is today more full of life than ever, and houses the Tequila and Mescal Museum, opened in 2010 as part of the celebrations of the bicentennial of the country’s Independence. This museum is a modern building seeking to enhance the tequila and mescal culture through exhibitions, conferences, concerts and presentations of Mexican distillates, Mexican cuisine and other manifestations of this drink.
This esplanade was named in 1921 in honor of José “Peppino” Garibaldi, a fighter in the ranks of Gustavo I. Madero, during the Mexican revolution. Previously, it was called Plazuela del Jardín (Small Garden Square) and El Baratillo (The Flea Market), because of a market selling low-priced products.
Garibaldi square is the best place to listen to traditional Mexican music. Take a seat at one of its restaurants, bars and shops, such as the famous Tenampa, a place founded in 1920. Enjoy the songs and the groups of mariachi bands who will stay awake with you until dawn.