On our recent World Cafe Travel Adventure to Buenos Aires we learned one thing right away: Argentineans may be known for tango, but really, they like to rock! We were invited to the home studio of Catupecu Machu, one of Argentina's most popular bands.
We welcome back Judy Cantor-Navas, Managing Editor of Billboard En Espanol for this Latin Roots segment on flamenco. Much about the origins of this music is contested. Yes, it is now strongly associated with Spain but some say its beginnings actually stretch back to India. It is also strongly associated with the Spanish city of Sevilla but Judy tells us that is also contested.
It didn't just develop, it exploded in popularity through the 90's. Post-Revolution, after training in jazz and classical conservatories, many Cuban musicians were looking for something new that would challenge their skills. Timba developed as a music combining Rumba with other dance music including even funk.
The a cappella style has a sense of urgency, like a physiological necessity for those who sing it. A naked person walks into a fancy gala. In a world of overproduced, painstakingly packaged and perfectly polished music, that's what it's like to hear Canto Cardenche — a completely a cappella style of Mexican music — for the first time.
"Oh! It is so good to fly, at two in the morning, at two in the morning it's so good to fly, oh mama! To fly and let yourself fall, into the arms of a lady……The witch grabs me, she takes me to her home, she sits me on her lap, she gives me kisses …. 'Oh tell me, tell me tell me: how many creatures have you consumed?' 'Nobody, nobody! I only wish to consume you!' " The classic Mexican song "La Bruja" ("The Witch") reads like an erotic nightmare fitting of a David Lynch film. In a drunken fog, the main character is taken hostage by a witch who has her way with him. A dissertation could be written (and probably has been) about La Bruja's insight into Catholic-Latin sexuality, the enticing fear of the woman who "consumes" men in the wee hours of the night, that woman who is even promiscuous in her cannibalism.