Mariachi is Mexico’s national musical tradition. It’s a male-dominated culture: those women who do find their calling within it usually learned the trade from their fathers or grandfathers. At Plaza Garibaldi, the epicenter of mariachi in Mexico City, female musicians have to fight for their place. “I am a singer, not a whore,” María del Carmen (aka Windy) regularly has to tell visitors to the square. But singing is her passion, and every evening she sets off for the square to generate income for herself, her daughter and her mother. In the meantime, the female pioneers of mariachi still perform. In the band Las Pioneras, women from the two most successful female mariachis of the 1950s and 1960s still perform. They look back wistfully at their era of glamour and fame – even if this fame sometimes brought less desirable consequences: jealous husbands, fathers forbidding them to perform, or working while far along in their pregnancy. Whether things are better for the mariachi musicians of today is debatable. In any case, they still sing about the same things: the hard life, death and love. This Lovely Shitty Life is an ode to this genre of music, which still warms hearts in spite of the harshness of life in Mexico.