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!