The influence of regional Mexican music has undoubtedly crossed borders. From being exclusively represented by native Mexicans, it has found voices in foreign lands, with non-natives proudly singing banda music. On August 18th, the streets of Paris witnessed a unique performance near the Eiffel Tower. Germaine Valentina Colmenares, a 24-year-old Venezuelan singer, sang with a mariachi band.
Germaine has garnered significant popularity among the Mexican audience not only because of her roots but also because of her rock-inspired appearance, which contrasts with her passion for interpreting Mexican music. What caught the attention of many was not just her soulful voice but her contemporary attire: platform black boots, a checkered maroon miniskirt, and a tank top. This unusual blend of modernity with traditional mariachi quickly went viral on her TikTok account, garnering thousands of comments.
“Please tell us you love Mexico and its food,” one comment read, referencing the famous Yahritza and her Esencia. In response, Germaine shared a snippet of her journey: “I am a Venezuelan girl who has loved Mexico since I can remember. But my journey towards singing Mexican music has been anything but smooth.”
The online community quickly drew parallels between Germaine and other notable figures like Angela Aguilar, the daughter of Pepe Aguilar, and Yahritza y Su Esencia. While there are differences, many acknowledged that, unlike others, Germaine genuinely recognizes and respects Mexican traditions.
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Germaine grew up without any connections in the music industry. “I don’t have any family in the music business, no influential surname, and I’m not wealthy. It’s my mother who films my videos,” she revealed. As a child, she faced ridicule at school for her passion for mariachi, as it wasn’t seen as ‘cool’ and was far from the music of her homeland. Radio stations in Venezuela also turned their backs on her, refusing to play her songs because she was singing Mexican tunes.
The narrative was disappointingly similar when she ventured to Mexico, hoping for a better reception. “I visited Mexico in 2021 after signing with a Mexican record label. But they soon clarified that releasing Mexican music wasn’t good for a Venezuelan like me. They believed it wouldn’t sell well and wouldn’t have international appeal,” she recounted. Their suggestion? Reggaeton.
She further pointed out, “There are those who’ve tried every means to prevent me from singing in this genre, especially dressed the way I do.” Yet, she remained undeterred, saying, “I know I represent some people who stay true to themselves and adore Mexican music, whether or not they’re Mexican.”
A Dream Realized
It wasn’t until the release of ‘No puedo ser tu amante’ that she finally tasted the success she’d been yearning for. This recently viral song is a snippet from her music video shot in France and is now available on YouTube.
Only two days after her Parisian performance, Germaine shared another video. Tearfully, she thanked the many Mexicans who supported and congratulated her on her song. “If I could travel back in time,” she said, “I’d want to talk to my younger self, the girl who dreamt of this moment.” She then shared clips of herself from 2008, singing mariachi as a testament to her lifelong passion.