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THE MUSIC OF THE MBYÁ GUARANÍ Part I: Luthiers of the Forest

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Luthiers Thumbnail-video

 

Woman, woman,
Let us dance toward the land of no evil…

– Mbyá song

 

Listen:

Angel Morinigo, an Mbya Guarani craftsman and musician from Andresito village near San Ignacio, Misiones, Argentina, hand-building a Guarani 3-string violin (rabe). (Jason Rothe)

 

 

Arturo and Marta’s eyes glisten as they sing.  Each note of the chorus is given extra force, drawn out a little longer.  Arturo concentrates on strumming the guitar — a role reserved for Mbyá men — while his wife rhythmically pounds the red dirt at her feet with a large bamboo tube known as a tacuapú.  The song is called “Oremba”, and it is about how the land belongs to all the people of the forest. 

Watch the Video:

Luthiers of the Forest from Jason Rothe on Vimeo.

I don’t know any of the words in Mbyá except for one that is repeated again and again:  “Ñanderú”, which signifies “Our First Father, Creator”.  An empty wine bottle lies alongside a cut-off plastic coke bottle with a chunk of ice in it.  The wine might explain why their song is notably passionate today, as if they are singing for themselves and not just for a foreigner who has come to document their music.

Most days the aldea is a hot and sober place.  Men go out to the monte, or forest, in the cooler early morning and return dripping with sweat, carrying huge logs over their shoulders for the cooking fire where a large black kettle is perpetually boiling water for mate.  The also bring other wood like cedro, pindo and chincha that are used for carving and weaving baskets, crosses, furniture and animal figurines to sell in the local tourist market.  For most Mbyá this is their only source of income.  

Angel Morinigo, an Mbya Guarani craftsman and musician from Andresito village near San Ignacio, Misiones, Argentina, hand-building a Guarani 3-string violin (rabe). (Jason Rothe)

It’s hard to imagine a people less deserving of their tragic post-colonial history (marked by periods of slavery, sequestered religious indoctrination and disenfranchisement from the land) than the Guarani First Nation of South America.  Life in the New World prior to the arrival of European settlers had it’s trials too — there were times of starvation and bloodshed — but these traumas are small when considered in the greater context of human history, and were arguably the natural consequence of a way of life so intimately tied to the harsh cycles of nature.

Prior to the appearance of Europeans, Guarani life in the subtropical forests of the Amazon basin was one of the richest on the planet and yet, as a civilization, they constructed no great monuments to their existence.  They had no empire and did not seek to dominate the land.  They simply moved from one place to another, hunting, fishing and harvesting.  

 

Mbya Guarani residents of aldea Katupyry near San Ignacio, Misiones, Argentina, with traditional instruments hand-made in the community by a local elder. (Jason Rothe)

Their only relentless pursuit was of a mythical “land of no evil”, where the necessities of life were so abundant that they could live there peacefully, in perpetuity.  It is romantically ironic to think that perhaps this is the land in which they had lived all along.  The land they have now lost.

 

 

 

 

Arturo is playing an old six-string guitar that is splitting apart at the seams and could be bought at any pawn shop in the West for $30.  One string, however, has been purposely removed.  This little detail, and the way it is tuned, makes it a part of a cultural legacy that dates back to Spanish conquest of the XVII century.  Arturo Duarte, chief of Andresito Mbya Guarani village near San Ignacio, Misiones, Argentina, playing the guitar. (Jason Rothe)This guitar may have come from China, but it is merely a stand-in for an instrument that originally crossed the seas from Spain, and which the Guarani subsequently turned into something uniquely theirs.  They can in fact build an mbaraka, or 5-string guitar, entirely from materials found in the forest.

I’m here to find out how they make these instruments, how they are played, and what the songs mean to them.  I’m not a musicologist or anthropologist, but I believe that these traditions are vital to the preservation of a culture that is under siege by the globalization of the West and the usurpation of ancestral land for commercial interests.   Not only do I want to document these traditions, but I’d like to draw attention to them from both the outside world and the Mbyá community itself.  

Angel Morinigo, an Mbya Guarani craftsman and musician from Andresito village near San Ignacio, Misiones, Argentina, hand-building a Guarani 3-string violin (rabe). (Jason Rothe)

My interest in Mbyá music was prompted by the work of a recently deceased Argentine ethnomusicologist named Rubén Pérez Bugallo.  A musician himself, Bugallo spent years with the Mbyá and other indigenous groups, gathering instruments and studying their culture.  His collection shows a diversity of instruments ranging from simple flutes and percussion devices to unique versions of violins and guitars descended from the European Baroque period.  I know these instruments must still exist among the remaining fifty-some aldeas in Misiones, but are they still being made?

Angel Morinigo, an Mbya Guarani craftsman and musician from Andresito village near San Ignacio, Misiones, Argentina, hand-building a Guarani 3-string violin (rabe). (Jason Rothe)The Jesuit missionaries who employed the Guarani for the production of commercial goods during the 17’th century made an intriguing and lucrative discovery: 

The Guarani were such skilled artisans that they could produce replicas of European manufactured items that were in some cases indistinguishable from the original. 

So the Jesuits set their indigenous congregation to the task of copying everything from maps, paintings and embroidery, to organs and other complex musical instruments.  When the Jesuits were ultimately expelled from the Americas in 1767, the Guarani abandoned the reductions along with most of these wares…except for the musical instruments.

Aldea Andresito, Misiones, Argentina. (Jason Rothe)Arturo is the cacique, or elected chief of aldea Andresito, a village that lies a few kilometres by dirt road from the small town of San Ignacio in the province of Misiones, Argentina.  The last part of the road is too rough for most cars and is more like a moist tunnel through the insectile hum of thick subtropical forest.  It opens onto a series of clearings that are home to a dozen families and some sixty Mbyá.  There are couple brick structures, but the houses in this place are mostly simple wooden shacks with walls made of sticks and roofs of sheet metal.  The huts are scattered over pockets of open ground, or hidden among the trees, as if the community wasn’t meant to be here.  Indeed, the people who live on this land do so on the good graces of a local church.

In the middle of the village is a more traditional hut with a thatched roof and walls that are a lattice of twigs, stuffed and smoothed over with the ubiquitous red mud of Misiones.  “This is our opy”, explains Arturo. “It is used by the opygua”.  

Mbya Guarani chief Arturo Duarte and his family in Andresito village near San Ignacio, Misiones, Argentina. (Jason Rothe)An opygua is a shaman, a traditional healer who furnishes medicine as well as connections to the spirit world.  One of his most important duties is consulting the Heavens for the names of children, which they only receive when they are about two years old.  Opyguas are important elders in the Mbyá community as sources of traditional knowledge.  They are often well-versed in the construction and playing of musical instruments.  

“Where is the opygua?” I ask Arturo, hoping to find what I seek.  But he answers that there is no opygua living in Andresito and that, when needed, the remaining opyguas in Misiones must travel from village to village, much like country doctors. 

I’m disappointed.  Both Arturo, his brother Javier, and at least one other man in the village play the guitar.  There are a number of anguapu and maracas around, but I have not seen a violin, or rabé, the beautiful three-stringed vibraphone who’s swaying creole notes somehow found their way into the New World jungle.  It is this instrument in particular that drew me here.

Ceremonial hut in the Guarani village of Andresito near San Ignacio, Misiones, Argentina. (Jason Rothe)We are all a little tipsy from the wine and even though I have been to the aldea several times before, inquiring about the music, I decide that this is an opportune moment to ask Arturo straight-out if there is someone in the village who knows how to build a rabé.

He thinks for a moment.  As usual, it’s hard to read his expression.  “Maybe”, he says. “Yes, maybe Angel knows how to make it.”

We cross the clearing to Angel’s home and Arturo introduces me.  I recognize him — a man I’d filmed playing tangará on the guitar in the shade of a tree several weeks ago, who didn’t speak much.  In his calm, modest voice, Angel tells me that he indeed trained as a carpenter and has built numerous rabé.  

It doesn’t take us long to hatch a plan.  Arturo has begun organizing a choir of children in the village and wants to add a violin to the ensemble.  Angel’s teenage son is eager to learn to play and I of course want to film how the violin is made.  I offer to gather donations back in Buenos Aires so that we can hire Angel to build this jungle rabé while I film the process.  When it’s done, the instrument will remain in Andresito under Arturo’s care.  

Angel Morinigo, an Mbya Guarani craftsman and musician from Andresito village near San Ignacio, Misiones, Argentina, playing traditional Guarani folk music with his son. (Jason Rothe)The wine is long gone and rain clouds are starting to form.  This is my cue to hit the dirt road before it turns to mud for the remainder of the day.  Angel tells me that he’ll need a hand saw, some sand paper and wood glue, which I agree to bring him from town.  Arturo talks about forming an indigenous musical group to take part, for the first time ever, in the regional carnaval parade.  As the air darkens, I get on my bike and pedal through the thick grass, impressed by how little is sometimes required to ignite small initiatives that might play on well into the future.  

Upcoming:  The Making of an Mbyá Violin (rabé)

 

 

 

Mbyá Guaraní Photo Gallery and Slideshow

Cacique Geniolito Busking

A video clip of Cacique Geniolito (Guarani Chief Lorenzo Benito) and his companion busking at a restaurant in San Ignacio, Misiones, Argentina.

 

Cacique Geniolito from Jason Rothe on Vimeo.

 

Fernando Leider’s Violins

I met Fernando Leider when he was recording with Yacaré Manso in Buenos Aires.  It turns out that Fernando and I share an interest in the bamboo violins that are made by forest peoples in certain parts of South America.  Baroque and classical music was introduced to indigenous peoples in the jungles of Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay and Argentina by Jesuit missionaries who found that they had a tremendous affinity for music.  

Alas, as Fernando points out, the Jesuits taught them how to play Western instruments such as the violin, but they weren’t willing to lend them any to use…so these members of the Guaraní, Chiquitano and other tribes learned to make their own versions of these instruments using materials from the forest.

It turns out that Fernando made his own bamboo violin, which has a few quirks, but is otherwise highly functional.  He also showed me a middle-eastern vibraphone that he received as a gift, and a Toba “lata” (can) violin from Argentina’s Gran Chaco region.

 

The Violines of Fernando Leider from Jason Rothe on Vimeo.

 

Yacaré Manso – Live Shows and Favourite Videos

Here are a few favourite live videos of Yacaré Manso playing in Buenos Aires.

 First, an interview with some music:

 

Entrevista en Guapachoza from Jason Rothe on Vimeo.

One of my favourite tracks by El Yacaré:

 

Yacaré Manso – “Irme Lejos” en vivo @ Velma Cafe from Jason Rothe on Vimeo.

A couple of clowns…

 

Yacaré Manso – DonClown from Jason Rothe on Vimeo.

Yacaré Manso – Clown de Fito Paez from Jason Rothe on Vimeo.

“Delay”

Yacaré Manso – “Delay” Live at Guapachoza from Jason Rothe on Vimeo.

 

 

 

 

Yacaré Manso – Roots

Musician Yacaré Manso from the northeastern province of Corrientes, Argentina, in a short interview talking about the roots of his music.

Fore more information visit www.yacaremanso.com.ar.

 

Yacaré Manso – Raíces (Roots) from Jason Rothe on Vimeo.

 

Argentine musician Raul Martinez, aka Nikoberqui, aka Yacaré Manso, speaking about the origin of “Yacaré Manso” or “Gentle Crocodile” and the fight to save the Esteros de Iberá (Iberá wetlands) in northern Argentina.

 

Nikoberqui – Yacaré Manso from Jason Rothe on Vimeo.

Forest Song Single-Shot Take

This is a single-shot take of Mbyá Guaraní music recorded in Aldea Katupyry (San Ignacio, Misiones, Argentina) with voiceover by chief Arturo Duarte speaking about the role of nature and music in the Mbyá community.

For more on the music of the Mbyá Guarani, please visit the project page.

 

Forest Song from Jason Rothe on Vimeo.

Dan Mangan’s Smorgasbord

Multimedia coverage of the “Smorgasbord” fundraiser in Vancouver on March 4, 2011 hosted by musician Dan Mangan and End Homelessness Now. Dan speaks about giving back to the community and the social importance of art and music.

 

Dan Mangan Curates ‘Smorgasbord’ to End Homelessnes Now from Jason Rothe on Vimeo.

NEI KATU JAJEROJY Single-Shot Take

Single-shot video of the “band” of Katu-Pyry down by the river Cazador in San Ignacio, Misiones.  To find out more about the music of the Mbyá Guarani, please visit the project page.

 

 

NEI KATU JAJEROJY One Shot, Down by the River from Jason Rothe on Vimeo.

Keruchu’i Jochuka’i

This is an initial video of music by the Mbyá Guarani.  Keruchu’i Jochuka’i means “let us walk toward the path of no evil” in Guaraní. This is the first in a series of recordings of the Morinigo family in aldea Katu-Pyry near San Ignacio, Misiones, Argentina. All are new songs written over the past three years by the community.

 

Música Mbyá Guarani #1 – Keruchu’i Jochuka’i from Jason Rothe on Vimeo.

Initial Project to Support the Music of the Mbyá Guarani

Here is an introductory video on the music of the Mbyá Guarani indigenous living in Misiones province in northern Argentina.  This was part of a small fundraiser I organized so that we could build some new instruments in the communities of Katupyry and Andresito, near San Ignacio.   Thanks to everyone’s contributions we were able to build a new guitar (mbaraka), drum (anguapu), and three violins (rabe) – almost exclusively from materials found in the forest using very basic tools and a little glue.  The check out the instruments, watch more videos and find out more about the project, visit the project page here.

 

Help support the Music of the Mbyá Guarani from Jason Rothe on Vimeo.

Rainforest Warriors

I’m pleased to announce that some of my photos (not the cover) from Suriname will be included in a new book by Richard PriceRainforest Warriors: Human Rights on Trial.  This is an important book on an important subject – the fight by Suriname’s Saramaka maroons for the rights to their own piece of the Amazon forest.

Below is the publisher’s description as well as a photo gallery of my work in Suriname for another book – The Riverbones by Andrew Westoll.

Rainforest Warriors is a historical, ethnographic, and documentary account of a people, their threatened rainforest, and their successful attempt to harness international human rights law in their fight to protect their way of life—part of a larger story of tribal and indigenous peoples that is unfolding all over the globe.

The Republic of Suriname, in northeastern South America, contains the highest proportion of rainforest within its national territory, and the most forest per person, of any country in the world. During the 1990s, its government began awarding extensive logging and mining concessions to multinational companies from China, Indonesia, Canada, and elsewhere. Saramaka Maroons, the descendants of self-liberated African slaves who had lived in that rainforest for more than 300 years, resisted, bringing their complaints to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

In 2007, when the Inter-American Court of Human Rights delivered its landmark judgment in their favor, their efforts to protect their threatened rainforest were thrust into the international spotlight. Two leaders of the struggle to protect their way of life, Saramaka Headcaptain Wazen Eduards and Saramaka law student Hugo Jabini, were awarded the Goldman Prize for the Environment (often referred to as the environmental Nobel Prize), under the banner of “A New Precedent for Indigenous and Tribal Peoples.”

Anthropologist Richard Price, who has worked with Saramakas for more than forty years and who participated actively in this struggle, tells the gripping story of how Saramakas harnessed international human rights law to win control of their own piece of the Amazonian forest and guarantee their cultural survival.

Fuego Y Tambor

Fuego y Tambor from Jason Rothe on Vimeo.

Fuego y Tambor (Fire and Drum) is a 13-minute documentary video that explores the role of Candombe drumming as an agent of revolution and social unification in the small South American country of Uruguay.

Language: Spanish/English
Subtitles: English/Spanish

 

Artist Profile::Nikoberqui

Use the audio player below to listen while reading

[audio:http://www.theethnomusicologist.com/audio/Irme Lejos.mp3|titles=Irme Lejos]

Nikoberqui playing live at Guapachoza in Buenos Aires, July 25, 2010. (Jason Rothe)Nikoberqui is a 27 year-old Argentine musician who’s roots (video interview) are the moist subtropical forests and marsh lakes of Corrientes (map), a province in northeastern Argentina…

This project has moved…it is now online here at The Ethnomusicologist

The US/Mexico border and dental tourism

In light of the recent controversy surrounding senate bill 1070, Arizona’s new immigration law, I thought it would be interesting to share a few words and photos related to the US/Mexico border story on dental tourism that I did a few years ago for the Toronto Star.

View of the US/Mexico border at Andrade, California. (Jason Rothe)

Hilltop overlooking the US/Mexican border at Andrade, CA

Every night at the border between Andrade, California (map) and Los Algodones, Mexico, dozens of men and women sneak onto US soil, where they are watched and pursued by US immigration officials and the National Guard.  I spent a week on the Quechan Indian reservation that hugs the border there (now also the site of a massive casino complex), sleeping in my Volkswagon van atop a small hill surrounded by foot trails in the sand and dust.

Dentist works on a tourist patient in Los Algodones, B.C, Mexico. (Jason Rothe)

Dentist operating on an American patient in Los Algodones, MX

Whereas the days were hot and relatively quiet, the nights were truly surreal.  Black, shark-like military helicopters flew low over the hills and often stopped and hovered nearby.  Several times I heard voices come out of a loudspeaker from above, like some scene out of Apocalypse Now.  While sleeping in the thin tent atop the van I was often awakened by the scuffling sound of people fleeing and/or giving chase among the gravel and prickly desert shrubs below.  And every couple hours the border patrol trucks would slowly crawl past on the sandy roads, making an odd clunking and tinkling sound which I later discerned to be a metal rake which they drag over the dust so as to grade it and make any new footsteps visible come daylight.  Shooting photos early one morning in the pet cemetery there, I met a man camped nearby with a little dog who claimed that his pooch was especially adept at locating “illegals” among the bushes and had led authorities to the capture of several dozen.

Tourists returning to California from Los Algodones, B.C, Mexico with shopping bags. (Jason Rothe)

Tourists returning from Los Algodones, MX

Nonetheless, as soon as the border opens at 6AM, a whole different breed of migrants arrive – thousands of Americans and Canadians who cross the border daily seeking vastly cheaper dental care, medical treatment, prescription drugs, fish tacos and plastic kitsch.  They come with swollen faces, in wheelchairs, many of them elderly and on limited retirement incomes.  But unlike their Mexican counterparts who by this time are hiding under a mesquite bush somewhere in the desert, locked in the back of a pickup truck or stranded at a depository back in Mexico, they don’t have to swim the canal or dodge helicopters to get to their destination.  Crossing the border is as easy as walking through a white gate, no questions asked.

Read the original story in the Star here.

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More photos in the gallery below:

Still under renovation, but making progress!

The site is still under renovation, but things are slowly coming along.  Check out the new Nikoberqui project page, as well as Yemanjá, Goddess of the Sea in both English and Español.  The published page has also been redone.

I will be trying to make as much of the site as possible bilingual; it will just take some time!

Jason

“The Devil and the Mountain” in Orion Magazine

Orion Magazine May/June 2010

Feature story and photos

Visit the “Devil and the Mountain” project page here to check out a video feature of this story.

Potosí Photo Outtakes

Here are a some photo “outtakes” from The Mountain That Eats Men in an alternate style.

 

The day of Compadres is celebrated inside the mines where miners honour one another by hanging streamers around their necks.

The day of Compadres is celebrated deep inside the mines, where the men pile heaps of streamers around each others necks to express their respect.

 

 

The infamous Cerro Rico, or “rich hill”, looming over the city of Potosí.

 

 

Miners decorating a cavern deep in the mine for the Compadres party.

Miners decorating a cavern deep in the mine for the Compadres party.

 

 

A young miner drinking grain alcohol from a hollowed out fruit inside the mine.

A young miner drinking grain alcohol from a hollowed out fruit inside the mine.

 

 

Coca leaves are a staple in the mines, during work and celebration.

Coca leaves are a staple in the mines, during both work and celebration.

 

 

A miner preparing a challa, or offering, on the day of Compadres.

A miner preparing a challa, or ritual offering, on the day of Compadres.

 

 

The entrance/exit to La Negra mine.

The entrance/exit to La Negra mine.

 

 

“El Tio”, the devil inside the mountain, emerges for the Carnaval de los Mineros.

 

 

Miners and children dancing during the Carnaval de los Mineros in Potosí.

 

 

A band performing during the Carnaval de los Mineros.

 

 

The miners cemetary in Potosí.

 

 

A miner from the “La Negra” mine cooperative.

 

 

Quechuan musicians/dancers performing during the Carnaval de los Mineros.

 

 

A woman performing in the Carnaval de los Mineros

 

 

Performers in traditional dress at the Carnaval de los Mineros.

 

 

Children participating in the “dance of the young miners” at the Carnaval de los Mineros.

 

 

Costumed dancer at the Carnaval de los Mineros.

 

 

A group of Quechuan women at the Carnaval de los Mineros.

 

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Explore Magazine

Explore Magazine
Sept/Oct 2008

“Yes, the Andes Kicked Our Asses”

“Sun, Sand and Root Canal” – Toronto Star

Dentist works on a tourist patient in Los Algodones, B.C, Mexico. (Jason Rothe)

The Toronto Star

12/08/07:  “Sun, Sand…and Root Canal”

Dental Tourism in Mexico

Feature travel story and photos

View the full photo gallery below.

The Devil and the Mountain – Audio Slideshow

The video below features photos and audio recorded in Potosí, Bolivia.

The Devil and the Mountain from Jason Rothe on Vimeo.

Site Under Renovation…

I’m currently renovating the website…please bear with me for a bit…

Jason

Yemanja

Rituals on the "Day of Yemanja", goddess of water, in Montevideo, Uruguay. (Jason Rothe)Press PLAY below to listen to audio recording

[audio:http://www.jasonrothe.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/YemanjaSong1.mp3|titles=YemanjaSong1|loop=yes|autostart=no]

Yemanjá is one of the most revered Orishas, or deities in the Yoruba spiritual order that since ancient times has been adored by millions of Africans.  The later colonization of the Americas brought scores of these peoples to the new world as slaves, and along with them a vast diversity of cultures and religions that were eventually adopted by people of all races.  In the case of Yemanjá, many were moved by the faith, while others joined out of curiosity or superstition.

Known as “The Queen of the Sea”, but also the sweet waters of rivers and lakes, Yemanjá is often worshipped in the New World as part of a syncretic faith – the African deity of Yoruban origin being identified with the Catholic Virgin María under the appellation of Stella Maris, patron saint of navigators, sailors and fishermen.  As such she is the protectress of all seafarers and caretaker of the ocean’s bounty as well as a goddess of fertility.

(photo gallery.  Text continued below)

Every year on February 2, all countries on the Atlantic coast of South America celebrate the Day of Yemanjá (also known as Iemanjá, Jemanjá, Janaina, Yemayah, Yemalla and Yemana in the Americas).  On this day thousands of gifts and offerings are given to the Queen as appeals for the relief of pain, suffering or sickness, as well as for prosperity and protection.  The gifts include the favourite sweets of the Queen like cider, grapes, watermelons and other fruits, orRituals on the "Day of Yemanja", goddess of water, in Montevideo, Uruguay. (Jason Rothe) objects to suit a feminine taste like flowers, perfumes, jewelry, mirrors and combs.  Many devotees earn very little money and yet spend a relative fortune in order to include the freshest and sweetest fruits in their gift collections.

At sunset the offerings are loaded into miniature boats made of wood or foam so as to navigate the ocean currents that can carry them to the goddess.  Her devotees walk into the sea fully clothed, bearing with them letters from loved ones, family members, the aged and infirm.  The legend says that those cards which are returned by the sea have not been attended to by Yemanjá.

Ritual offering on the "Day of Yemanja", goddess of water, in Montevideo, Uruguay. (Jason Rothe)After leaving their offerings, the people walk backward out of the sea, their gazes constantly fixed on the horizon.  Back on the beach they dig pits in the sand to hold candles which are guarded with prayers and chants while music and festivities continue throughout the night.

Peña Electrica and Zizek

Zizek Club party with Pena Electrica at Konex in Buenos Aires, March 12, 2010 (Jason Rothe)Zizek Club and Peña Electrica at the Konex cultural center in Buenos Aires, March 12, 2010.  Performances included Gustavo Santoalalla, Terraplen, Semilla, El G, Tremor, Doña Maria, Chancha Via Circuita, Fauna, Villa Diamante and Peña Criolla.

Photo gallery below.



Zizek Music

Zizek Club party at Niceto Club, Buenos Aires - February 2010 (Jason Rothe)After a successful European tour,  the always experimental electronic music label Zizek has returned to Buenos Aires for what promises to be a hot season of parties.  Zizek has been making waves in the worldwide electronic music scene for its unique blend of electro beats, Cumbia, Reggaeton and Argentine folk music.

Here is a photo gallery from the homecoming party.










Gran Milonga de Tango

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Saravá and Alerta Pachuca

Brazilian band Saravá with special guest Alerta Pachuca (música Latin Americana) at the UniClub, Buenos Aires.

Click on any image for details or visit the full archived gallery here.

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Escape from the City

At times we all need an escape from the madness of the city, and Buenos Aires has plenty of madness.  Fortunately, the good folks at Urbanbiking.com provide a way out…at least for a day.  Train + bike + kayak = 8 hours of fresh air and adventure in the Tigre delta.  Here are a few photos.

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I can’t help it, I love this desert shot

I just came across this shot of the Kelso dunes in the Mojave National Preserve.  I spent the night in my van more or less where the photo was taken (one of my favorite camp sites) after driving 14 hours or so from Jay Maisel’s workshop in Santa Fe, NM.  There’s something about the balance of the light and the weight of the clouds, as if the entire sky is sagging like an overburdened mattress.  Nothing funky has been done to it other than basic exposure/contrast tweeks in Lightroom.  The light was beautiful that morning and I had just enough time to fill a few flash cards before hitting the road again for San Jose.

Kelso Dunes

La Clave Genetica @ Uni-Club

¡Baile Salsa!

Sunday night Salsa dance party at a local club here in Buenos Aires.  To get your groove on, check out the band’s website:  http://www.elsonar.com.ar/laclavegenetica

These guys rock.

Baile!

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