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Chi! Chi! Chi! Le! Le! Le!

October 14, 2010

  Statistically, the chances that you were you one of those people glued to their computer/TV yesterday watching all the miners emerge from the innards of the earth are pretty good.  Like most of the world, I was sucked in whole hog – I couldn’t avert my eyes for more than a few minutes at a time for fear of missing the action.  It really was like watching the miracle of birth 33 times over.  Can you imagine the celebration today?  No doubt saturated with ridiculous, giddy, exhausted euphoria.

All the talk of Chile made me check out a bit more of their musical heritage.  Very steeped in traditional folkloric music, of course, but there are a few classical voices too.  Here’s an interesting one: 

This is the translation of the YouTube description:
Acario Cotapos Baeza (Valdivia, Chile, 1889 – Santiago, Chile, 1969).  Chilean composer, creator of the musical vanguard in this country.  His artistic formation was almost entirely self-taught, except for a brief period in his youth during which he received piano lessons at a music academy.  His creations shun all affiliation to schools or trends, and are solely indebted to the emotional states of their brilliant author.  He garnered critical praise from the experts in the United States and Europe , but his homeland abstained many years in recognizing his worth; only in 1960 did they deign to give him the National Arts Award and a modest monetary pension.  He was one of the best friends of Pablo Neruda who said of Cotapos: “I owe him millions of hours of happiness”; and when the musician died, the famous poet said: “In this black box we bury joy.”

Edith Fischer Waiss, piano.

Recorded in concert. 2nd season of Concerts of Contemporary Music of the National Association of Composers, South Hall, Hotel Carrera, June 28, 1951.

I’m not familiar with Cotapos’s music beyond the above YouTube piece, but if I were to judge him only by that I’d say that there’s a thickness to his style – like peanut butter stuck to the roof of your mouth, it doesn’t go down smooth and sweet.  There’s no singing melody either, or strong bass line, both of which I might have expected given the deep Chilean relationship with traditional folkloric music, which Cotapos undoubtably would have been marinated in growing up.  You hear nothing of that.  But, there’s drama, and passion, and rich colors – exactly what you would expect from a latino heart.  His music merits more exploration, I think, but that will have to wait for another day.

In the meantime, I’m thrilled for the miners and their families.  May they rejoice in their freedom, have deeper appreciation for their loved ones, and somehow stay firmly grounded in the middle of this crazy crazy time of their life.

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