Chancha via Circuito Remixes José Larralde

I’ve just been introduced to Chancha via Circuito, a producer from the conurbano named Pedro Canale who released his super-promising first album, Rio Arriba, about a year ago on ZZK Records. (It’s already been written up pretentiously on Pitchfork, if that’s your thing.) In case, like me, you’ve missed this guy, I’m posting two of my favorite tracks from the album–the first a remix of José Larralde’s Quimey Neuquén, the second a collaboration with duo Fauna that doubles as a primer on some of the cooler currents in contemporary Rioplatense Spanish. Rooted in the Andean sounds of Northern Argentine folk music and the cumbia beats that have emerged from Buenos Aires’ shantytowns into the mainstream, these tracks are rhythmic and understated and leave me just close enough to satisfied that I want to keep listening. Most of the album is fantastic; you can listen to the whole thing on Soundcloud.


MARDER Festival

A sign of just how busy I’ve been lately–I went to an awesome young artists’ festival at Centro Cultural San Martín nearly three weeks ago, I blogged about it for Juanele, and I still haven’t linked to it on the blog. It was certainly unique enough to merit a mention. Here’s what I wrote, along with some teaser photographs by Juanele photographer Andy Donohue (there are a bunch more on Juanele and on his very good blog):

Saturday’s MARDER festival at Centro Cultural San Martín was a chaotic mix of young artists painting on giant canvases, young musicians improvising in ad hoc groups, young visitors drawing on paper at shared tables — it was, in other words, a lot of young people making art, and a lot of fun. The “first art festival in real time,” the event was the largest-scale production yet by MARDER, a group of artists and musicians that formed to coordinate “artistic experiences” in  Mar del Plata and Buenos Aires.

At first I wasn’t sure what to make of the whole “art festival in real time” claim, but the event’s uncynical enthusiasm quickly won me over. With members of a bunch of different bands jamming together in rotating sets and hip-looking 20-somethings making impromptu art all over the place as a giant countdown clock counted away MARDER’s remaining minutes, the festival seethed with raw energy, and the crowd was loving it. That a big group of young people can get a grant and fill a major cultural center to bursting with collaborative, public, almost anarchic art — it’s just another reason why Buenos Aires is such a cool place to be.


I was thinking about “Pa’l Norte” this afternoon, so I figure I’ll share it. The song’s by Calle 13, a Puerto Rican duo very popular throughout Latin America, and aside from its excellent lyrics, it seems worth posting for a few reasons. The video was filmed in and around the gorgeous Quebrada de Humahuaca, which I had the chance to visit on my trip through northwest Argentina this past January. The Quebrada’s narrow river valleys and high salt flats are amazingly beautiful, and I think the video, though a bit strange at times, does them justice. Calle 13 was also the band playing at the giant human rights rally where I was robbed for the first (and so far, only) time back in December–something this post will hopefully prompt me to elaborate on soon. And anyway, I really like the song.