Just about anything can be found if you know where to look. But to know where to look you have to know that it exists.
Profound quote by yours truly.
One of my favourite records is one that my mother had at her home school, Aluminio School in Veracruz, Mexico. She taught the children of ALCOA Aluminum which was based there. When she moved from there to our little house in Arboledas, Estado de México in 1971 she brought her belongings including this record.
When I wooed Rosemary in 1967 I would drive her to Veracruz and we would have romantic weekends in my mother’s house. I often took Rosemary to the Zócalo (City Square) and we would have the famous coffee (the best I have ever had) at the corner establishment called Café de la Parróquia which was next to the the main church (La Parroquia). We liked to sit under the portales (roofed corridors) because the marimba groups played there. We enjoyed the clanking of the old streetcars.
These marimbas were typically Jarocho (a nice synonym for Veracruzano) and they would make extra money when you made a request. One request I often made was to tell them that my soon-to-be-wife was called Rosamaría. On the spot they would play some obscure son Veracruzano (a Veracuzan son is a tune) and inject on the spot lyrics usually describing her magnificent looks. Another feature of the marimba is that all the members of the group would have a chance to sing one of the stanzas in their own style.
This record Recordando Andrés Huesca has recordings made in 1940 including one of La Bamba which is the best I have ever heard. The lyrics are modified to the taste of every member of the group (4 or 5) so you get to appreciate their different voices.
When I listen to this record I am immediately transported to a pleasant afternoon at La Parroquia over coffee with my Rosemary.
The CD in the photograph is by an Argentine young man who is a master of the chromatic harmonica. In 2019 Rosemary and I went to Buenos Aires in September. On a Sunday we went to Plaza Dorrego which is in the oldest BA neighbourhood of San Telmo. At the square there are wonderful antiques. Nearby dance groups dance the tango and there are some mimes, also.
When we were on the square I told Rosemary, “Someone is playing Astor Piazzolla’s Oblivion." We walked a few yards and there was the duo of Santiago Álvarez on the harmonica and Agustín Luna on guitar. When they finished I was exhuberant. I told them that I was an Argentine from Vancouver and asked them if they knew Alfonsina y el Mar by Ariel Ramírez. They immediately announced that they were going to play that song for their new Argentine friend who lived in Vancouver.
I bought the CD for $3.00.
Last December when I went as a widower to Buenos Aires I hired the duo to play a concert in honour of Rosemary at my hotel and I invited friends and relatives.
The book in the photograph is about a German photographer, August Sander (17 November 1876 – 20 April 1964) who dedicated his life to photograph all the professions of his country. From paupers, bakers, intellectuals and even Jews, that if you noted the dates you knew they would not be living much longer, he did them all and always with a tremendous respect for their humanity. Since he probably did not use lights he was careful to take his shots with a very large camera under low contrast lighting (overcast days).
inspired by August Sander when I photographed the serious (but really funny) Vancouver
artist Rodney Graham.The blog with the photographs is this one.
A couple of weeks ago my daughter Hilary and I went to the Pacific Cinematheque to see Sunset Boulevard. For reasons I have not figured out we had never seen it. One of the best moments in the film is when Gloria Swanson does a personification skit of Charlie Chaplin for William Holden.
What is the link to all the above?
Yes you can find anything in YouTube. But you have to know it’s there. It is difficult to find it randomly, although random searching of YouTube is like the old-fashioned library card catalogue.
The Veracuz record is there in its entirety. There are two versions of Oblivion being played by Santiago Álvarez. There is a video where an erudite man explains the significance of August Sander.
And of course if you put Gloria Swanson, Chaplin personification you get:
Swanson Impersonates Charlie Chaplin
Oblivion with Agustín Álvarez and Agustín Luna
Oblivion with Agustín Álvarez and a full orchestra in a French Park