Mom’s Music

For the past month I’ve had to do without the services of my usual chef. Luckily my first chef, my mom, is in town and willing to cook lunch for me or at least delegate it to one of my aunts. All I have to do is drive 20 minutes to the campo where my grandmother lives to be served. Second on this list of first world problems is the fact that my parent’s vehicle doesn’t have an i-Pod jack. So when hunger forces me out of my research cocoon I scan the local radio.

I haven’t had a car to myself in a year. I don’t even have this car to myself, truth be told. And my little Nose, God bless its lack of automatic features, somehow had an i-Phone jack. So it’s been a while since I’ve tuned into the radio. Not that I’m missing much. The radio stations in Curicó seem to play the same running-in-place party music so I end up scanning. However one station plays folk music and I came across this gem last week.

I knew this song. That voice and that delivery were so familiar but I had no idea who sang this song. I tried humming it for my uncle and aunts at lunch but I’m a terrible singer and only remembered the line “me voy”, which happens to be one of the most frequently used phrases in Chilean music. Case in point, Violeta Parra.

Parra was a prolific singer-songwriter so it’s logical she’d have this phrase in one of her songs. Once I found Fernandez and spent some time with Parra I went deeper into this tangent. My initial search only involved “me voy” along with “Chile” and “folk music.” Yet somehow this classic from my childhood found its way back to me.

This song I definitely knew! My mom had Inostroza on a red cassette tape and she’d play it ad nauseam. Literally, I’d get carsick listening to this voice for hours everyday. But now that I’m older, it’s endearing. And a few more minutes down the rabbit hole led me to another Inostroza hit.

I still have no idea what he’s singing about and my mom doesn’t either. I have a feeling he’s made up half of the words. But mom still had a good time following me down memory lane.

Not to leave my dad out of the picture, his music tendencies are less folk and more cueca, like the Hermanos Campos.

For my dad, cueca sounds better with a harp. It’s not the easiest instrument to tote around and how someone figured out that pairing it with a guitar would inspire people to dance is beyond me. It works beautifully! In hindsight listening to these songs is a great way to learn Chilean Spanish.

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