outdoor live music
When I was a kid, my idea of music were the religious tunes, sung in a capella, that my grandmother listened to every morning as I got ready for school. On Sunday mornings she’d listen to Latin boleros. A type of music for which I have – inexplicably – kept a soft spot. It makes no sense because I hated the overwrought sentimentality. But every now and then I don’t mind a little Juan Luis Miguel. My grandmother didn’t speak a word of Spanish but it didn’t matter. And, it doesn’t matter now that I had never listened to jazz and blues before because you don’t need to understand much to enjoy music. You just need to feel it. And boy, did it feel good.
A little boy brought his toy guitar and jammed like a devil. It was sensational. I stood for two hours. This is a preview, a baptism of sorts, in live music. Next week I will have my confirmation. We are seeing The Boss himself live in Madrid. The mutherfucking Bruce Springstein. My running playlist always includes at least three Springstein songs. I love the belly-growl of that voice; the energy is contagious and the lyrics dig canyons inside me. Perhaps what has sold me completely on him is the talk he gave at this year’s SXSW conference.
I’ve been thinking about American culture lately.
Even though I’ve lived here for 15 years there’s a lot of this land and its communities left for me to explore. I’m curious about the autoctonous traditions in the remote pockets of the mainland like the fragile legacy of fife and blues in Mississippi and what people really mean when they call themselves “Southern.” I want to know and perhaps the next best thing to being there is listening to the music.
It was amazing because I’m sure most of these people would have to think before they could find the English words to ask for the nearest bathroom but they knew the words to these classic blues tunes. I knew they were classic because even the sextogenerians knew the words. I, on the other hand, was clueless. My musical repertoire is very lean.
Javier Vargas Band in Aluche, a suburb of Madrid.