Photo by Abraham Rodriguez.

Germán Rodríguez lights up a cigarette and strums his guitar.

“The majority of places let us come in and play a few songs,” he says in Spanish.

The Salvadoran, often with other musicians, can often be seen, guitar in hand, at Mission restaurants. They float from venue to venue, stopping wherever they’re allowed to play.  At Gracias Madre, they play in the outdoor area. His band partner, a shy man playing the accordion, looks away.

“I’ve been playing since I was 15,” said Rodriguez.

He first started playing with friends for fun, going to parties, not expecting payment, but sometimes getting a little money. Now he goes from place to place in full gear with his Stetson hat and boots.

His favorite songs are about romance and the ballads from the north of Mexico.

“That’s the kind that I like,” he says as he begins strumming once more.  

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