Sunday, January 17, 2010

Argentina's Musical Effect - The 39 day progression

       So I am now posting roughly one month and 9 days after my return home from Argentina, and a few things are of interest to me, in regards to the music. I uploaded all 15 or so CD's worth of music I bought down in Argentina, whose genres are all frequently indulged in by the locals. I have some tango in different forms, from older traditional to more modern, tango-inspired, Latin-esque stuff, and even tango jazz, which is pretty sweet. I bought some chacarera and zamba music, which I have now fallen completely in love with, and wish I had more. I also purchased some lesser-enjoyed chamame, which I frankly don't like as much. It's not as rythmically interesting as chacarera or gato, and spawns from Argentina's Northeast-- chacarera (and subgenres of gato, zamba, escondidofrom the Northwest. 

        Now that I think about it, it has been almost 40 days - or the length of my stay in Argentina - since I have been back, and in that time I have realized a few things. First off, that the music truly captured me when I was there, and has steadily grown my interest in certain Argentine genres more than others upon return. I have scoured the doG-forsaken Internet to find more of it, so I can have my folklore fix. My song list is about 228 strong right now, so there's plenty to keep my ears busy. 

        Originally I was super into tango, especially when I was down there. I first heard chacarera in Buenos Aires, when I went out one night to try my hand at tango dancing at the locals-suggested La Catedral. A few liters of beer in, I had a lot of fun making an ass of myself on the dance floor with a Spaniardess. By 2am, I sat down to cool off and simply watch others perform the dance much better than I. At some point the DJ put on some chacarera, whose genre I had never yet heard. My waiter that night, who I remember so well due to the whole visual-aural experience about to commence, was a tan guy with long black hair, wearing a black apron and black V-neck t-shirt. He was quite aloof to providing me timely service, probably because the actual building was a huge warehouse, converted into a modern dance floor, bar, and restaurant, not to mention that it was packed full of people. That aside, he stopped his super busy ant schedule as soon as the folklore came on. He walked to the dance floor, found an immediate female partner, and commenced the awesome dance. It reminds me of scorpions moving about, with pincers extended, circling round and round. Anyway, he didn't just dance one song; he danced for at least 5 or 6 of them, each one captivating me to this 6/8 on 3/4, triplet-cycle music. This also led me to the realization that work, in Argentina, is done only as necessary, and can be put off for a good chat, a dance, or a flirt. That is different from the constant attention we estadounidenses are so used to by our waiters, and the fact that the manager is always looking over the workers' shoulders. It came to pass that I would encounter chacarera again at Peña del Colorado, and then out in S.A. de Areco during the Gaucho Festival, where a huge grass field was filled with traditionally-dressed gauchos and their chinas (women), dancing the frigid, crystal clear night away. 

An example of the super-intricate dancing of chacarera, with a gaucho and his china:

        Speaking of San Antonio de Areco, I learnt it was recently submerged by a massive flooding of the Rio Areco, due in part to the heavy rains that swelled up the river's main artery, the mighty Rio Parana. Here is a video of said destruction:


        They had to evacuate 3,000 residents! I know my friend Rodrigo, who you may remember from one of my older posts , probably had to be evacuated, which is terrible. His family didn't have too many huge possessions, besides the house of course, and a huge dump truck, and a few motorbikes. [Rodrigo, si puedes leer este, lo siento muchisimo sobre la inundacion!!! Espero que estas bien, amigo.] 
De todos modos, a lot of people decided to stay put and not evacuate, fearing looting to happen. I hope the other people whom I met in Areco, namely a leathermaker and his wife, are okay as well.
         I need to try contacting some of the people I met in Argentina, and I believe I will actually use my Skype account to make said international calls. I want sooooo badly to return to the beautiful country, and I know I will, maybe even this year! No plans as of yet, since right now my top goal is (unfortunately) to still find a job in this terrible economy. Maybe if I find enough time and money, I will head back down, even if I don't venture all over the country. I would, however, have to bring another camera, which I WON'T have stolen! I'm actually thinking along the lines of a video camera, with Hi-Definition capability. That is my top purchase prior to leaving for AR again. I prefer shooting video, since it has the added bonus of sound, but honestly, it was pretty fun using my digital camera for photos. Each has its perks, the Hi-Def camcorder being that I can control what I record, I can record far more actual happenings, and can have a near-complete monopoly of the YouTube, high-definition Argentina footage market. Awesome!

I have Argentine-based hunger pains as well. I miss the beef, I ache for steak, I need the meat, and I yearn for sirloin. And the empanadas!!! They are the perfect college student/budget person meal, even here in SD. I still have to locate and eat at an Argentine restaurant here in sunny San Diego. Who's in?

Oh! And I almost forgot, have a couple more pics that I've received from one of the hostels, my Irish buddy Graeme (and our trip to Tigre), and some photos of me adventuring in Barreal. Check 'em out:

Cerro Pintado quedabra range, Barreal. This was part of that hike to the abandoned mine .

Same deal as previous photo, exploring the lunar-like landscape.

Yes! Landsailing! Wooo! This is just before I took over the helm, if you will.
Now on to the photos from Graeme's camera, which was not stolen just before Tigre!

A rowing statue in Tigre, the muddy, subtropical river delta directly behind. Almost the Everglades?

 The Museo del Arte Tigre, a.k.a. the "Castle in the Sky"  

Directly behind that museum camera shot, as we were up on a walkway overlooking the river.

Great times with Graeme (in red), Rodrigo (olive green), Mati (brown), and a couple more Tigreans.
Off to the casino, but as we start for it, guess what follows me?

A couple friendly strays! They were super playful, yet somehow vaguely creepy still.

Made it to the Trilenium Casino, my first casino experience.

And of course, I can now post pics from my first days in Bs.As., which Lara at Ayres de San Telmo sent me via electronic carrier pigeon -- e-mail.

"Matambre de cerdo", or hardboiled egg & sundried tomato wrapped in pork, served cold. On the right is delicious potato & egg salad, and completing the triangle is a fresh baguette. Can't forget the Coke!

All for now, more for later; until then, this is Drew Peters.