THE SUBSIDIARY OF HEAVEN – V. La Sucursal del Cielo (for timbal and live electronic)

The heat became more and more unbearable and after a full lunch, with salad, fish soup and fried plantain, to move was not an option. However, it was his last day in the city and he wanted to use it well. He scrambled to his feet with difficulty and decided to walk. He wanted to kill two birds with one stone; wander through downtown and eat a delicious “cholao” as dessert.

He started his tour in the 10th Street, near to the Obrero neighborhood. There he took a moment to hear the cries of the street vendors crammed into a single corner. Peculiar were the accent and the words used by these to attract potential buyers.

After some minutes he continued his tour, now through small streets crowded streets, filled with people tasting the delights of Cali cuisine. Here he devoted himself, curiously, to eavesdrop on small groups of people; they speak loud and fast, interrupting each other constantly. Somehow it made it increasingly difficult to follow conversations. The soundscape was dense and concentrating on just one sound source was not entirely possible. The cocktail party effect wasn’t working.

In a less crowded area, he turned his attention to a more general soundscape; a sort of outdoor nightclub with thousand different music rooms; all radio frequencies. The loud music coming from the most diverse loudspeakers, some of them with an amazing capacity for its condition, changed as he continued advancing down the road: penetrating techno beats, romantic pop melodies, an old son montuno from cuba, bachata guitars, noise, is that Mozart? the voice of Celia Cruz, tango bandoneon and his cousin the vallenato accordion, noise, cowbell, noise, clave 2-3 pattern, noise, clave 3-2 pattern, silence ,                                 a timbal solo.

Finally, at the Pan American courts, he ordered a Cholado (a delicious mix of shaved ice, fresh tropical fruits and condensed milk) and sat down to enjoy his reward after a long walk in the midday sun.

Eating his dessert in a quieter environment, he thought about the intense conversation he had a couple days before with Alexander Daza about the musical diversity in Cali. Alex tried to explain him, based on his 30 years of experience working as a Dj in bars and clubs, how many music styles have tried to capture the popular music scene in Cali, but none have been able to take the throne of Salsa. Some have done better than others; Vallenato y Bachata, talking about popular genres, and Rock and Electronic Music in styles from abroad. However, although some of these styles have had moments of glory, Salsa has managed to stay on top of Cali music scene for more than 50 years.

“Cali is not only Salsa, but Salsa resists everything”

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