Wednesday, August 24, 2011

For the Love of Cumbia

Hi everyone,

So I realize it has been a while (okay, almost 4 months) since my last blog. I have been very busy in that time with work projects, though recently I have also been busy catching up with the entire TV series of Lost. I have so much to share that I don't even know where to start, so I will start with something easy (and to me highly amusing): translations of the names of popular cumbia bands.

Cumbia is the most popular genre of music in coastal Peru, which is unfortunate because to me reggaeton, musica criolla, salsa, huaino, and the other types of traditional and modern music they occasionally listen to here are all much better. But the people love cumbia, so cumbia is what we listen to. Here are a few popular groups in my region, for your listening pleasure.

Corazon Serrano - Mountain Heart
Agua Marina - Marine Water
Marisol - okay, this is just the name of an individual woman (which is pretty cool because most cumbia is performed in all-male groups), but it means Sea and Sun
Grupo 5 - 5 Group
Hermanos Yaipen - Yaipen Brothers (I would like to point out that only a few of the many guys in this group are brothers)
Karicias Sensuales - Sensual Caresses
Sol Andino - Andean Sun
Corazon Sanjuanero - San Juan Heart
Sexteto Internacional - International Sextet
Caribeños - Caribbeans
Armonía 10 - Harmony 10

This is just a small sampling of bands that are nationally or locally popular, but it is a great example of how unabashedly cheesy Peruvian culture is. Listening to the lyrics just strengthens that impression, and unfortunately a number of songs showcase blatant sexism. At first I absolutely hated cumbia music, but after 9 months in site of being forced to listen to it almost constantly, I have gotten pretty familiar with a lot of songs. I have a good idea of which songs are sung by which groups, and I have learned a lot of the lyrics. (And a little pat on the back for that--I think that understanding songs is one of the most difficult aspects of learning a language.) Unfortunately many of these songs are also pretty catchy, and I have even begun to like some of them, or at the least differentiate between which ones I dislike less than the others. Having attended half a dozen cumbia concerts helps quite a bit.

I'm hoping to get a more substantial update posted soon, so stay tuned!

1 comment:

  1. Good morning how are you?

    My name is Emilio, I am a Spanish boy and I live in a town near to Madrid. I am a very interested person in knowing things so different as the culture, the way of life of the inhabitants of our planet, the fauna, the flora, and the landscapes of all the countries of the world etc. in summary, I am a person that enjoys traveling, learning and respecting people's diversity from all over the world.

    I would love to travel and meet in person all the aspects above mentioned, but unfortunately as this is very expensive and my purchasing power is quite small, so I devised a way to travel with the imagination in every corner of our planet. A few years ago I started a collection of letters addressed to me in which my goal was to get at least 1 letter from each country in the world. This modest goal is feasible to reach in the most part of countries, but unfortunately it’s impossible to achieve in other various territories for several reasons, either because they are countries at war, either because they are countries with extreme poverty or because for whatever reason the postal system is not functioning properly.

    For all this I would ask you one small favour:
    Would you be so kind as to send me a letter by traditional mail from Peru? I understand perfectly that you think that your blog is not the appropriate place to ask this, and even, is very probably that you ignore my letter, but I would call your attention to the difficulty involved in getting a letter from that country, and also I don’t know anyone neither where to write in Peru in order to increase my collection. a letter for me is like a little souvenir, like if I have had visited that territory with my imagination and at same time, the arrival of the letters from a country is a sign of peace and normality and a original way to promote a country in the world. My postal address is the following one:

    Emilio Fernandez Esteban
    Calle Valencia, 39
    28903 Getafe (Madrid)

    If you wish, you can visit my blog, where you can see the pictures of all the letters that I have received from whole World.

    Finally I would like to thank the attention given to this letter, and whether you can help me or not, I send my best wishes for peace, health and happiness for you, your family and all your dear beings.

    Yours Sincerely