wk2, entry 4 - Flamenco!

Buenos Aires Travel Blog

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The Flamenco show provided a very different side of Argentine culture.  Up till now, I had not thought too much about Andalusian or Moorish influences here in Buenos Aires.  I knew there were a very significant amount of Italians who settled here, and that there has been a very large Jewish population for a long time, and that the Buenos Aires back in the day tried to adopt all the European trends, but I had not thought much about other specific influences. 

The Flamenco dance was beautiful and seductive.  The dancers were very skilled, and very intense.  The musicians were equally skilled, but seemed more relaxed and free-flowing, less serious.  Though it may be different when danced in more social situations instead of as a show, the dance seemed rather rigid and defined, with the moves very much expected and not much give and take, not much leading.  The hombre was a phenomenal dancer - I could see many elements of American dancing that I have seen in the many recitals I sat through as my sisters were growing up.  The stomping of the feet and clacking of the shoes on the wood looked very similar to tap dancing, and the spins (WOW was he talented) were the same that I have seen my sisters perform many times.  It's interesting to look at the origins of dances in such different cultures and think about how very similar moves and styles became incorporated in both.

You could definitely hear the Moorish influence in the vocals.  I don’t know if the singer speaks Arabic, but the sonido very much reminded me of Arabic music I have heard.  I find it fascinating that Buenos Aires has been shaped by such a wide variety of influences.  Man, I thought America was a melting pot - here you encounter vastly different cultures, that somehow all mesh to create one unique porteño culture.  I love it!  I love Buenos Aires and its richness.  I think that is the best part of Buenos Aires, the part I appreciate the most.  Its deep history that has created a unique richness unlike anywhere I’ve ever seen.  The dichotomy fascinates me:  The plentiful variety and complementing differences juxtaposed with the cohesive porteño life which is worn so proudly but at the same time so welcoming to outsiders.

I met a guy last night at a club, Luciano, that makes a perfect example.  “I am not Jewish.  You aren’t Christian.  You aren’t Catholic.  We’re HUMAN!”  This excited and very friendly fellow was full of philosophical ideas when we bumped into each other in the club, after having a great time laughing at our English-Spanish exchanges while waiting in line outside to get in.  His vehemence that we're all the same despite our differences shows 1) how welcoming the people are here and 2) how unified the porteños are despite their many differences.

And I'm not sure if this fits in to this blog or not, but I have to mention it because it is hysterical:  The taxi driver after the Flamenco show - “Viva Bush!” he kept saying once he found out we were Americans, LOL.  Screaming in my ear, he proceeded to elaborate on why countries go to war - for the plata!  He assumed that everyone in the US supported Bush and the war because it makes us richer, and I had a hard time convincing him otherwise, that not everyone supports the war, though I’m sure it must have about, what, a 90% approval rating?  Ya, right up there around where Bush stands.  Hah.

Ah, the BA.  I think I could live here.  Excuse me while I end this to drink mate and read the Buenos Aires Herald.  Ciao Ciao!  :)

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