Jorge's El Tapatio Restaurant 1416 Fruitvale Ave., Oakland, 510-261-1411 MariachiColima.com
In Mexico, mariachi music accompanies the celebration of life and spirit. Baptisms, quinceañeras, weddings, and divorces (as Oakland's Mariachi Los Monarcas used to joke) all include the indigenous fusion of voices, violins, guitars, and trumpets. In the East Bay, mariachis have always used restaurants as their home base. Dressed in traditional charro suits, they've circulated at down-home havens like Alta Mar and Tio Toño's in Oakland, Mexicali Rose in Hayward, and Garibaldi and Tapatio in Richmond. These days, the happening spot is Jorge's El Tapatio Restaurant in Oakland. Holding court Thursday and Friday is El Mariachi Colima de Javier Magallon, one of the top ensembles in the bay. Founded in 1990 by the maestro Magallon, an ace trumpeter who played professionally for decades in Mexico City, the nine-piece group is also the musical ensemble for the acclaimed Ballet Folklorico de Carlos Moreno dance troupe. Crowd pleasers at Cinco de Mayo and Day of the Dead Festivals in the Fruitvale District, they are a great musical entity with superb veteran and up-and-coming talent. Eat, drink, and be merry. By midnight you'll be singing with all those homesick Mexican guys drinking cerveza out of tin pails filled with ice. Just yell: Aaa-who-aaa!