In my youth I was no different from those of my ilk. By the time I had a record player I would play over and over again music I liked.
In the late 50s in Austin, Texas this meant The Everly Brothers, Brenda Lee, The Ventures (and believe it or not) Conway Twitty.
Then by the 60s I became a more discriminating follower of Miles Davis who was my introduction to jazz as was the Dave Brubeck Quartet.
In the early 70s I acquired an Acoustic Research transistor amplifier and a pair of AR-3A speakers. I even had an AR turntable. I was a discerning audiophile. And I have been ever since.
In this 21st century I believe that good sound in the reproduction of music has gone to the barking dogs.
The beginning of the end for me happened when 5 years ago we purchased a Chevrolet Cruze that had no CD player.
I must interject here to clarify to those who love vinyl. I
purchased lots of brand new records that had built-in scratches and even the
best of turntables (I have a Sony linear tracking one with a Stanton 500 MKII cartridge) will have bothersome
clicks. CDs eliminated all background noise (only John Cage would have
objected). I have a good vinyl collection that contains records that never became CDs.
I cannot comprehend how folks listen to music while driving with their smart phones connected to the vehicle’s sound system. Furthermore I must point out that while almost all kind of music is available on YouTube you must first be aware of the existence of that which you want to listen to.
Whenever I visit my native Buenos Aires and stay at the Claridge Hotel on Calle Tucumán, I walk around the corner to Calle San Martín, to Casa Piscitelli. I am greeted by the owner Ing. Fabián Piscitelli (his father opened the store in 1939) who will place in front of me CDs or DVDs that I will surely like. This past December one of the CDs was Ariel Ramírez – 20 Grandes Éxitos.
In that CD I have become obsessed with Nostalgias Tucumanas. I have been playing it over and over in my very good home sound system that has JBL Studio Monitors. I like Nostalgias because of the combination of Ramírez’s piano, a large Argentine drum called a bombo, and a very small guitar called a charango. The composition was composed by a noted Argentine composer, singer and guitar player called Atahualpa Yupanqui.
And (very important!) because I have the CD and I know the existence of the composition I was able to find it on YouTube. And here it is below. Note the strange rhythm. This is called a zamba (with a zed!).
Because of my present obsession with Nostalgias Tucumanas I have been playing the CD in my car with a Sylvania CD player that I connect to my car’s sound system. I place the player on two woollen winter gloves to prevent it from sliding. The player does not skip at bumps but will if it slides.
To finish this sort of rant I want to clarify the Americocentric concept of what is Indigenous music. I love CBC's Reclaimed. They play Canadian and American Indigenous music.
But (but!, but!, but!) are Canadians and Americans aware that most of the music south of the Río Bravo (Rio Grande) is Indigenous all the way to that southernmost city of Ushuaia?
Listen to that bombo in Nostalgias Tucumanas. This is splendid Indigenous music.
Nostalgias Tucumanas - Ariel Ramírez on piano
Nostalgias Tucumanas - Los Chalchaleros
And Ariel Ramírez in one of my fave ever of his compostions on solo piano