For the last couple of weeks I’ve been travelling the Latin American world. In between ordering the wrong meals in Spanish and trying to figure out how Spanish actually differs to Portuguese, I thought I would come here to share some of my musical experiences.
My trip began in Lima, Peru, where I was immediately greeted with a lifetime supply of Latin music and street dancing. There was an air of relaxation, ease and normality in the way the South Americans approach life. They love expressing themselves, especially through music and dance. So there was no shortage of random public performances around the cities of Lima and Cusco as I travelled.
A short stop in a traditional Peruvian meeting house and I was quickly acquainted with traditional Peruvian instruments. But the real treat came in the city of Puno during the Carnival (yes, the same carnival as Rio). The streets came alive and people filled the main squares to dance and make music. There were parades and performances and celebration. The people were totally invested in the celebration. They love their music and it created an atmosphere so different to the streets of the western world. The style of music was vibrant and lively, creating a wonderfully joyful experience.
My musical adventures in Bolivia were restricted to La Paz because, well.. I was restricted to La Paz. Dire illness grounded me in the city whilst my friends adventured off into the salt desert and Chile. Nevertheless, Bolivia offered me a musical treat in the form of the Museo de Instrumentos Musicales. I was taken on a journey, not of music, but of instruments. I got to explore a plethora of new and interesting instruments. The historic people of the Andean Mountains found plenty of creative ways to make music. Plus, with Bolivia’s diverse geography, the variety of instruments and the history of them was huge. There were long horns that curled back like a hook, whistles sculpted into statues out of rock and guitars with five sets of strings in the shape of a star. I left Bolivian with a very sincere and informed appreciation of music, and how it can mean the same thing to so many people but in so many different ways.
I have only just made it to the Argentinian capital, Buenos Aires. Already, I have found a vibrant and cultured city. Musicians are busking on the streets, the opera house is marvellous beyond belief. As win the rest of the continent, Latin, salsa and jazz are prevalent - a welcome change from the music of the west.
On the to-do list is to watch a tango show and visit the orchestra. Here’s hoping for the best!