I meant to write some encompassing post about live music in Argentina at one point during my 4 months here. Struggling with the impossibility of that post, I’ve decided to share one common theme of my musical time in Argentina instead of trying to generalize every style, genre and concert Buenos Aires has to offer.
First, I’d like to mention that I was once lost in Buenos Aires during the beginning weeks abroad and walked into a kiosco to find out where to go. While I ended up being a few blocks away from my apartment, it took me 30 minutes to get there because we started talking about the Beatles. But I couldn’t catch that it was the Beatles. He kept saying Los Beat-les over and over until he began naming songs. Then I caught on.
He said he learned English by listening to the Beatles then singing along. We talked about our favorite songs and who our favorite Beatle was — he liked Paul McCartney and I told him I couldn’t decide. From there, we started talking about the songs, now in both English to get the names of the songs and Spanish to talk about what they mean. After a while, and forgetting what I was there for, he pointed his arm around the corner and told me to walk straight and I’ll hit Libertador, my street.
Then while first exploring the San Telmo fair, I walked across a CD store and saw Tango & Beatles, an album of re-imagined Beatles hits recorded with the signature tango style. I bought a copy and brought it back to my apartment for a listen. And the very next week, my tango professor but on the same CD and played a few songs for us to dance to.
And few weeks ago, Paul McCartney came to Buenos Aires to perform at a stadium in the city. Besides the posters of his face plastered around the city, I was constantly reminded of home by my Spanish teacher, a Beatle fanatic and a lucky ticket holder. The day after the show, she came to class with droopy eyes and no voice. She had been in the pit singing and screaming along to every song. “Fui una locura,” she said. “I was a crazy person.”
But last Thursday, we went to a Peña (a folkloric bar where anyone can grab a guitar and start playing) for a relatively calm night out. Many cheap beers later, a group of Porteños at the table next to us started to play famous licks from all of the top Beatles songs. Maybe they noticed our English and wanted to get us involved, but it worked. We started to sing the choruses of Hard Day’s Night, Hey Jude, Let it Be, Day Tripper and some others.
And then we went home. No real point to it all, I just needed a distraction to my coming departure from this city. But a good story nonetheless.