perryma191's Travel Journals


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Musica y labora

A morning with DP

Musica y labora

Afghanistan Afghanistan  |  Feb 19, 2011
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 "Necesito mas cafe!" 

Two Thursdays ago, our group helped DP on his farm for the second time.  We were scheduled to meet at 7:00am.  I showed up a little early, and walked solo to the house DP and V.  "Upe!" I yelled to announce my presense.  V came to the door, we exchanged greetings, and I tried to explain in Spanish, "I am here with Ernestos group again, we are helping today".  I wasn´t sure whether or not she knew we were coming.  She invited me in and sat me on the couch ("Sienta te").  She asked, "¿No entiende espanol?", to which I replied, "no, yo entiendo mas tan hablo" (which may or may not have been an intelligible thing to say, I was going for "I understand more than I speak").  She sat next to me and we talked about the weather ("Hace mucho frio hoy y muy viento tambien"), about how she had lived in San Luis her entire life, and how the sink filled with cool water served as her refrigerator.  DP came in from the bedroom bright faced and smiling. He is probably in his sixties, but looks much younger from years of smiling.  I stood up to shake hands, we shook, and he gestured again, waving his hands, "sienta te, sientate".  We chatted a minute ("¿Como amanecio?", "Bien, bien"), and he went in the bathroom.

Sarah and Maggie showed up together, walking down the dirt path to the house.  They were followed shortly thereafter by Ernesto & Melissa.  Emma had not been informed of the start time the night before, and as a result would be late.  Having to wait would prove fortuitous.  We made ourselves comfortable.  V offered Ernesto coffee and theyt spoke in Spanish while I drifted in and out of comprehension, picking a word here, noticing syntax there, and taking in the rhythem of conversation.  I talked music with DP, and he eventually brought out his guitar, harmonica, and maraca.  The harmonica was a good six or seven inches long, with three notes in each hole (such that what would be a note on a regular harmonica is a full chord).  The harmonica was fitted into a wooden box with and open side over the blow-holes, and the box was tied to the top of the guitar such that DP would stood his head to play it while cradling the guitar.  The maraca he held in his picking hand so it shook while he played.  He he was a one-man mariachi band.

He played up four or five songs ("La puerta negra" being the only title I recall), some of having been popular tunes many decades ago.  I remember the sound as lively, and I would almost describe it as a ruckus--this was dancing music.  His picking style looked to me similar to that of my host brother, W, with the base note changing and flowing with the chord progressions and even the high strings carrying their own melody.  He ended each song with an abrupt florish of the hand extended outward in a classic vaudevillian manner.  After a few songs, he joked, "Necessito mas cafe", for this was a high energy affair.  He then handed the guitar to me, and I dabbled a little, feeling remarkably inferior with my static chords and predictable 4-chord progressions.  Melissa, I think, requested Wagon Wheel, and yo toque y las chicas cantaron para DP & V--un intercambio de musica.  Y despues, nosotros fuimos a trabajar.

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  • Musica y labora

    February 19, 2011
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