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Minstrels and Alleyways

Guitars and tambourines echoes in the quarry

Thousands of songs are played and interpreted day by day in the streets and squares of the city. The singers stop surrounded by people willing to enjoy the sound of guitars and tambourines, dance to the rhythm of strings and euphoric songs that imprint a magical tinge to every corner of the city.

¿Qué Visitar?

What to Visit?

  • There is no better place to lose oneself in than Guanajuato. If you aren’t interested in tunas or estudiantinas you can make your own labyrinthine route through plazas, streets, tunnels, stairs, monuments, and alleys.
  • Although some groups already have specific routes planned out to arrive at certain lookouts or plazas, the fun of the callejoneadas is to let the feet take the musicians and followers to wherever they please.
  • The official University of Guanajuato estudiantina offers free tours every Monday and Tuesday starting at 8:00 p.m., leaving from the atrium of San Diego Church. But it is worth contributing a few coins as a tip.
  • From Tuesday to Sunday, starting at 7:00 p.m., the tours with the professional estudiantinas begin.
  • Carry a flashlight. It can be useful if you get separated from your group and get lost in a dark alley.
  • As it is supposed to be a minstrel festival it is a good idea to bring whistles, tambourines, and even masks to add to the frivolity.
¿Qué Saber?

What to Know?

  • The tradition of the tunas, in the Spanish style, began in Guanajuato at the end of 1962 when a group of enthusiastic young men began to rehearse and organize themselves to hold informal presentations.
  • The first formal "estudiantina" or "tuna" was that of the University of Guanajuato, which debuted on April 13th, 1963.
  • A tuna is for male university students. If these conditions are not met you should call yourselves an estudiantina or rondalla, although the truth is that it isn’t sensible or intelligent to fight for these terms with musical groups in Guanajuato.
  • The term "tuna" comes from the Latin "tonare" which means to recite with rhythm. The newpapers corrupted the spelling and it was transformed to "tunare. The verb springs from the noun "tuno" and by extension the name of the groups became "tuna".
  • Another designation related to the callejoneadas in Guanajuato draws on the term from the Real Academia Dictionary of the Spanish Language in the sense that it refers to a "tuno" as a trickster. This applies to a person who is very astute and a vagabond.
  • Sing, dance, play an instrument, do acrobatics, recite legends of the city and even its narrow streets are part of the minstrel attributes and the show that the "tunas" offer the inhabitants of Guanajuato and the tourists.
  • The students at the dawn of universities were minor clerics who made use of the autonomy that university offered to group themselves into "republics"; these were called "goliardos", which is why tunas and estudiantinas distinguish themselves with banners and coats of arms.
  • In Guanajuato around 30 estudiantinas offer their artistic services for the callejoneadas, recitals, and serenades.
  • The callejoneadas regularly last between two and two and a half hours. Sometimes even more.
Galería - Minstrels and Alleways

Take a look to the Minstrels and Alleways of Guanajuato

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Calle subterránea Miguel Hidalgo

Visit the underground alleway in Guanajuato with this photospot

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Minstrels and Alleways

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