45 Hours on a Bus in 4 Days

This weekend I was lucky enough to be granted a whopping 16 ½ hour bus ride, each way, for a chance to take a glance at Arequipa, Peru. But it was really Sophie who hit the jackpot as she had the privilege of sitting next to me during the entire expedition! She was even more excited when each of us was confined to four inches of wiggle room if the person in front of us had his/her seat reclined, which turned out to be approximately 94% of the time. But to be fair, it was hard for me to argue as I was skillfully bringing home the gold for the USA in a game of Bingo, earning me a free ticket back to Lima. In fact, it was so impressive [Continue reading…]

Oct 262009
Punk Rock Lima

I am getting plenty old. Pretty soon, I’m sure I’ll need bloodwork. But there are some things that I never seem to outgrow. And violently thrashing around a pit filled with a horde of sweaty, riotous, tattooed youths is apparently one of those things. I’ve had my ears thoroughly inundated with music during my six weeks here thus far and have made a great effort to secure that fact. But I have long been interested in how the Lima musical underground operates. It’s like those nature channel shows where the Aussie documentarian gets right up in there with the tigers, risking life and limb. You can’t just watch from afar. You’ve got to experience it for yourself So, on Saturday afternoon, I hopped a cab over to the “Super Complejo” [Continue reading…]

A Tango With My New Charango

“Julio, can you show me where the music shops are?” “Oh there’s a strip of about 20 in a row right in downtown Lima.” It was all over from there. With some child-like begging and a few temper tantrums, my plan succeeded as we headed to music central. I don’t know why that is considered immature because it is clearly a flawless technique. With a bounce in my step, I was able to regress to childhood and become a kid in a candy store again, except much less mature this time. At my first outing (obviously there were more than one – I was an experienced colic baby), I picked up a couple inexpensive instruments to hold me over, such as those zampoñas and a pair of maracas to smuggle [Continue reading…]

Oct 222009
8 Courses of Heavenly Bliss

It is hard to pass a newspaper stand and not see Gaston Acurio’s face surrounded with a mop of curly hair on the front cover of a pocket sized recipe book hanging for sale.  The man is a legend within Peru, known for revolutionizing the way that Peruvians feel about their own cuisine as well as developing and reviving the art form.  So there was  no choice but to pay a visit to Astrid Y Gaston, Acurio’s original restaurant, which is regarded as one of the top restaurants in Lima. The restaurant, located on a quiet street is set in an old colonial house in the Miraflores district of Lima.  The interior is comfortable, not stuffy like you can often expect from top end restaurants. The back end of the [Continue reading…]

The Downfall of Machismo in Peruvian Garage Rock

In researching Peruvian music, I’ve recently become aware of a certain unspoken phenomenon. Within the last ten to fifteen years, the female presence in rock, electronic and punk music has just become overwhelming. This doesn’t seem to be one of those intentional and actively-staged rebellions but, rather, a natural progression; one which is very logical when one examines all of the things that already make Peru so spiritedly independent amongst other Latin American countries. Basically, the cosmic beard fest that tends to envelop the bulk of the louder electro, rock, garage, metal and punk music throughout the Americas has a much less fierce pull in this particular area of the world. And that’s really a good thing. Much like in Japan, the role reversal in music has become very apparent [Continue reading…]

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