There would appear to be no Jazz in the Café

San Jose Travel Blog

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Crazy World
As promised from earlier in the blog, I made a weekend visit to the Jazz Café and it turned out to be another freakish cultural experience.  You've already met Rob earlier in the piece - he was back in San José for a few days, so we came here.  This particular Saturday, Mundoloco (Crazy World) was in operation, which is the world music live show they have every week that is normally on Mondays.  Apparently, Arabika were the act, a mix of Middle Eastern music and belly dancing.  (Later, I was told my translation of bailando de estomaca is incorrect.) 

Anyhoo, we arrived at about 7.30 to an empty room with the idea of staying for a drink and a bit of food. This was duly ordered.   By the time we looked up from our plates, the place was full, we'd got kicked off our table (which was apparently reserved) and we were milling about the bar wondering what all the fuss was about.  Little did we consider the treats ahead....

Arabika = "Raw Sex" + Svelte Ladies
As an appetiser, a number of World Music videos were shown on a big screen, and then a Borat lookalike  entered stage left.  He bigged up the Arabika outfit (I assume, it was in microphone Spanish) and then three guys and an lady we later understood to be called Rita came on stage.  Rita looked to me to be a belly dancer gone to seed and I believe she must have been Arabika's matriarch.  My evidence? Only that could explain why on Earth she was allowed to shriek two numbers out at the start whilst being very poorly accompanied by a Greek looking organist.  And when I say organ, I mean a bontempi-type with preset drumbeat settings.  If you remember Roland Rivron and his two piece band Raw Sex, then you probably have an idea just how bad they were.

Now, I am perhaps fairly accused of being dismissive of other peoples musical efforts.  That is because I see so many people who have geniune talent get nowhere and it makes me a little sad to see bad musicians playing to full houses.  However...

The evening was saved!  Mercifully, Rita disappeared back to her table, to be replaced by a Goddess in red silk. And a jangly silver belt thing.  The addition of a crap drum machine beat and a couple of ethnic percussionists meant the keyboardist actually played in time.  The belly dancer did her stuff.  Now, this is sexy, especially when compared to the previous weekends experiences in Jacó.  There is something mesmerising about belly dancers, even if one of them actually had no belly to speak of.  Things are hidden and hinted at, rather than displayed in full bloom in front of ones face.  Excellent work ladies.

So the evening continued thus:  Band did a song with keyboardist singing, Belly dancer(s) arrived to enliven events.  We had fire on fingertips, a range of coloured silks and changes of clothing (not on stage I add).  And some white number with a huge, wing-like shawl that fanned out due to sticks being sew into the hem and being held aloft by the dancer. We even had member of the public up at the end.  Somehow, they had all managed to acquired the same jangly belts from somewhere.

It was fab.  Good and bad in the same package and some fun enjoying the sort of things rich Costa Ricans go out to see.
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photo by: Isoinspira