The Music of Buenos Aires
The bands of Buenos Aires don’t seem to play in typical venues or in typical numbers.Â A band in the US may consist of 4-6 members, 6 being on the larger size.Â But here in BA I have found the bands to be well into the double digits and playing in places I would not suspect.
Thursday night, I was directed by locals to the Uniclub in Abasto.Â I did not think much of the threeÂ tiered clubÂ that seem toÂ play the typicalÂ electronica,Â butÂ then to my surprise a performance wasÂ announced by a percussionistÂ tapping a beat along the metal railings urging the crowd on to the third floor. Upstairs the club transformed into a hippie drumÂ circle familiarÂ to VeniceÂ beach. But more than a drum circle this multi-pieceÂ band had beyond drums, sax players, singers and a conductor.Â The crowdÂ danced around the tunes that projected from the middle of the room. When I askedÂ a local who the band was he told me their name was La Bomba del Tiempo, and that in fact thisÂ was not the band, butÂ students affiliated with the band. To get the full effect he assured meÂ I had to come out on Monday nights, when the entire company included a full string section.
On Sunday I decided to walkÂ along Denfensa street in the barrio of San Telmo, which is famous for a large artisan street fair, notÂ unlike Portobello Row in London, England. Though the trinkets, weaving and metal work were well-priced and to be admired what really caught my attention were the street performers.Â Used to seeing a few guitaristsÂ orÂ drummersÂ jamming for crowds while a hat is passed, in San Telmo,Â street musicians play in groupsÂ ofÂ at least 10, taking up whole sidewalks.Â One band I was especially impressed with was Ciudad Baigon.Â This 11 piece groupÂ had four accordion players, four violinists, two cello/bassists, and oneÂ pianist (I was curious to know how they transported a stand up piano to a cobble stoned side walk). The music was all instrumentalÂ and can only be describe and a Latin flavor with European influences, like so many things in this city.Â The crowd grew as they played andÂ youngÂ people began to sit in the middle of the street, children danced together, and photographers grabbed for their cameras.Â The wind began to pick up and bubbles from a man selling toys flew across the sunlit street asÂ everyoneÂ happily grooved to the funky tunes.Â
For information on La Bomba del Tiemp go to labombadetiempo.blogspot.com/