Bariloche Gives Gift of Ska to Young and Old

December 24th, 2007 Posted in lifestyle

Written by Shanie 

The community, in the Christmas spirit,  was given a gift by the city last night with a free concert at Centro Civico.  It was also in recognition of the Mapuche people and their plight of loosing land and loved ones in the war of property rights between the Indians and Chile and Argentina.  The Ska band Los Calzones was the headliner.

 In true Argentine fashion we arrived a bit late so ended up missing the first band.  Centro Civico was unlike I had ever seen it.  They had closed off the entire area and had built a large stage at one end.  Strobe and colored lights lit the fading twilight sky.  Mother Nature responded with a silvery moon rising over the lake and the fading pink sky reflecting gold, fuchsia and violet colors on the mirrored surface of the lake. 

The crowd was already thick.  People were jovial and loosened up from the previous music.  There was a mixture of ages; grandma, grandpa, mom and dad, sister and brother, all enjoy the holiday cheer, loud, rocking music and mate.  The people took up most of the square making us think there were about 1000 people.

Before the Calzones showed themselves three activists for the Mapuche people came on stage to express their concerns.  They were in their early 20’s but spoke very eloquently and passionately.  The fire and dedication in the female speaker, in particular, made me pay attention to her words and feel her pain.  They are forming petitions throughout the country to support them in their struggle against governments taking their land.  Their people are also dieing in the fight for their rights.  These young adults main plee was to get the word out to the world, not just South America.  At the end of their speech the crowd whistled and cheered, seemingly supportive and not just there for the free entertainment.

With the music approaching the crowd did the early bum rush and position jockeying for best viewing.  Sublime came over the speakers, lightening the mood a little.  The mosh pit boys started their descent into the pit; tinges of blood and sweat still clinging to faces and arms, evidence that they had warmed up the mosh technique with the first band.

Jamie and I found an open area to stand that was about four rows back, left of center stage.  Sublime’s ”I’m in the mood” sang to the crowd.  Perfect song to get the party going.

Then the music stopped.  Smoke started to billow from the stage.  A shirtless, skinny man with a Mohawk ran on stage and sat in drummers seat.  More smoke.  The rest of the band followed.  The lead guitarist in an Argentine Select futbol jersey.

The crowd cheered and jumped up and down expectantly with the first chords played.  And then the image of Ska in Argentine form came running out.  Well, actually skipping, ska style.  He was a short, stocky man dressed in a black suit with grey pinstripes, a white dress shirt and grey tie.  His hair was shaved closed to his head but was bleached in a checkered pattern around the base.  He had a small moustache and large, dark sunglasses.  His energy was contagious and the crowd erupted in praise.  The jumping up and down and mosh pit wrestling commencerate.  It was on.

The Calzones brought the crowd up.  The mosh pit started to gain strength.  I looked around me and saw that I had a four year little girl being held in her mothers arms to my right, a darling little six (or so) year old girl rockin’ out to my left and a grandma around 80 standing in front of me.  The mosh pit threw their weight our way.  I watched as the family members surrounding these unlikely Ska listeners came out of the wood work to protect their loved ones from the drunk moshers.  The beligerante young men in the center of the circle started to spray beer in the crowd.  It didn’t seem to bother the eclectic gathering to much.  They moved out of the way and brushed off the foam, but continued their collective bobbing of heads and arms. I noticed that the Grandma was being handed small cups of wine to help her stay in the groove. 

It struck me how amazing it is that music, any type of music if open-minded enough, can bring all ages, classes and cultures together. 

We were all there to support the Mapuche and enjoy the strong music of the Calzones.  For the little girls and grandma their age was of no importance. 

I love rock and roll.

  1. 2 Responses to “Bariloche Gives Gift of Ska to Young and Old”

  2. By Maura Mack on Dec 24, 2007

    Merry Christmas, you two!! It is hard to imagine the longest day of the year just past for you and it is probably hotter than blazes. We are finally seeing winter with good snow here and starting to get good coverage. We would love to come soon and see Los Calzones! They sound like they rock!!
    We miss you in Tahoe. Same old thing, but everyone is cranking out babies…
    Feliz Navidad-

  3. By John Staab on Dec 25, 2007

    I can picture it now, sounds like a great time. It’s nice to know that everyone everywhere “Like to Rock n’ Roll”. What a way to spend Christmas. Thanks again for the GREAT vaca, keep up the good work with the pic’s & Feliz Navidad.

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