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Sharing his love for music and people, Ricardo Silva plays international music every Tuesday evening at Taqueria Altos de Jalisco in Fredericksburg. “Music,” says Ricardo, “is my escape.” Photo by Phil Houseal

Ricardo Silva plays every Tuesday from 6 to 8 p.m. at Taqueria Altos de Jalisco, 1410 E Main Street, Fredericksburg, TX 78624, (830) 990-8554. Friend Ricardo Silva on Facebook.


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Ricardo Silva: Your new musical friend

by Phil Houseal
Aug 24, 2011


I met a new musical friend. And the instant you walk in the door when he is playing, he will be your friend, too.

Ricardo Silva plays “world” music every Tuesday from 6-8 pm at Taqueria Altos de Jalisco in Fredericksburg.

Another musical friend - Cowboy Doug - told me about Ricardo (in fact, Cowboy Doug is telling everyone about Ricardo). So one slow Tuesday evening, I tootled into Jalisco’s to see what would bring out a grizzled musician in the middle of the week. The minute I opened the door and stepped inside the comfortable restaurant, Ricardo looked up, caught my eye and smiled as wide as the Rio Grande (back when we had rain, not like now).

Ricardo was playing a rhythmic tune that sounded familiar yet different from the usual cumbias, country, and blues you might hear around here. It’s happy music.

As Cowboy Doug pointed out: “What I like about Ricardo is he is such a happy guy. It’s contagious.”

Ricardo accepts the compliment.

“Excuse my bad English, but we need happiness,” he said, of course with a smile. “We all are so stressed. Music is my way to give happiness to people. That is what I love about playing.”

It seems to be working, according to the devoted diners. The audience that evening reflected the diversity of the entertainment. Ricardo has fans with Hispanic surnames, German surnames, Anglo surnames, and colorful nicknames.

“We just like the music,” said Ronnie. [Click here to view 2-minute YouTube song]

“He is nice and friendly,” agreed Eileen. “He greats everybody, says thank you, and the music is terrific!”

When asked what he liked most about Ricardo, Randy (another listener) said, “Everything! He’s got a great personality, voice, everything!”

Ricardo has been playing as long as he remembers. Growing up in Mexico, he started on guitar as a boy then switched to piano, learning mostly by ear.

“I didn’t stay too long in school,” he noted. “I wanted to play.”

And play he does. He commands two electronic keyboards with built in rhythm-makers, pulling a variety of timbres ranging from Andean quenas to Farfisa organ. Switching between keyboards and constantly punching in new sounds, Ricardo works as hard between the notes as he does playing them. It’s like watching an orchestra gushing out of one guy.

And if you want to join in, he keeps a collection of maracas handy.

Ricardo describes his repertoire as “international.” That means country, traditional, Mexican, Andean, tango, American jazz, and... get ready for this... show tunes.

“I play songs from Cats,” he said proudly.

He picked up this diverse song list from days in Mexico, playing background and lounge music while entertaining overworked Americans.

“After being here they have to go home, back to work. This is a way to escape a little bit from your everyday problems.”

So what is Ricardo’s favorite style?

An uncharacteristic pause. “This is very hard,” he finally admitted. “Because I love all kinds of music. I like variety.”

Aside from one “very beautiful and romantic” song he wrote for his wife, Ricardo plays familiar and famous songs. The most important thing for Ricardo is that the audience enjoys the music.

“I have love for music,” he said. “My goal is to do something the audience will like. I enjoy it when I see they respond and that they love it. That makes me feel good. That is all I need to know.”

So next time you crave more international flavor with your Mexican meal, stop in at Jalisco’s on any Tuesday evening. You’ll leave with a full belly, a happy ear, and at least one new friend.