Dickinson has its own song: lyrics written by Mexican troubadour Roman Sanchez
“This is my song, my Dickinson song. This is my song, my Dickinson song...”
And so Mexican troubadour Roman Sanchez strums his guitar and starts singing the lyrics to “My Dickinson Song” that he recently wrote to bring attention to the city that he has adopted.
The verses continue, “This town is nice, a peaceful town,” followed by, “The people are friendly, what nice people.” The last verse reveals why he wrote the song, “I want my kids to grow up in Dickinson town…. This is my song, my Dickinson song.”
Sanchez, 72, who was grew up in Guadalajara, Mexico, immigrated to the United States in 1974 -- 43 years ago. He found his way to Dickinson several years ago at the suggestion of a family member.
When the Dickinson Convention and Visitors Bureau learned about the song, the Bureau invited him to its office for a media interview, as well as recording a copy of the song to be posted on Youtube.
Julie Obrigewitsch, the bureau’s sales coordinator, said his song has more than 230 views -- mostly from North Dakota, Minnesota and Illinois.
“He’s a great ambassador -- a great promoter of Dickinson,” she said. “We’re in the tourism business and he’s doing it through song. He has a passion for Dickinson. Living here a short time -- only three years -- that’s pretty special. He’s a really cool guy. He works off tips. It doesn’t have anything to do with fame, it’s just a passion of music.”
Speaking with The Press, Sanchez admitted his English isn’t perfect.
“I speak Mexican English -- I don’t speak Spanish. Spanch comes from Spain,” he said.
While living at home, he learned Mariachi music, a musical expression that dates back to at least 18th century Western Mexico.
“When my mother was ironing clothes for somebody, she was singing,” he said.
Keeping those tunes close to his heart, he started singing for restaurants in the United States.
“I got my first job with a guitar for a restaurant owner in Baltimore -- I was self-taught. Most is old Mexican music because I don’t like the modern songs.”
Working construction around the United States, he would always find a restaurant in the city he was living and continued his singing. A highlight was entertaining during a conference of broadcasters in New York City, when he had his picture taken with Tom Brokaw. He was living in San Francisco, when he moved to Dickinson.
After living in such a diversity of places, Sanchez decided to write about Dickinson, to call attention to the city.
“In so many places, there is so much crime, but I’m comfortable here -- I love it,” he said. “People are very friendly here and I think very religious -- that’s very important thing to me.”
Sanchez currently sings daily from 5-7:30 p.m. at the Los Cabos Mexican Restaurant in Dickinson.
“I interact with the people - that’s my enjoyment. I sing for tips -- no salary, just tips,” he said. “This is common in Mexico. Some people are very nice to me -- acceptance and a smile are very important.”