Argentine blues in Mexico City

Photo by Sarah Taylor Cook

Ten years ago, when I was writing for D.F. magazine, a blues club called Ruta 61 opened in Colonia Condesa, and I went to report on it. I confess I was skeptical: I moved to New Orleans at the age of 17 and spent the better part of a couple of years there listening to blues, jazz and r&b in dives around the city. Among the groups being hyped at Ruta 61 in those days was Vieja Estación from Buenos Aires. Before hearing them, I asked myself, What the hell do the Argentines know about blues? Quite a bit, it turned out: maybe a military junta throwing your relatives out of airplanes into the ocean, a steady diet of peso devaluations and too many steak dinners are as good as poverty, discrimination and racism to inspire certain forms of art. In any case, Vieja Estación went back to Argentina a long time ago, but they are back in town and will be playing on Friday and Saturday nights this week, to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Ruta 61. Even if you can't make it over the weekend, very talented people play there most of the time, on any night from Wednesday (open mike night) to Saturday. This is the closest thing you can get to the juke joint experience in Mexico City. Ruta 61 is on Baja California Sur #281, a stone's throw from Avenida Nuevo León. You can make a reservation at 5211 7602; it might be crowded this weekend.