December-January 2018/19

All due apologies for late posting of my News Report this month. I have been in South America for five weeks and, as well as losing track of the time – month-wise – I have been busy with one thing and another. Given the amount of material available, I have decided to keep this posting as fairly descriptive – even travelogue – rather than go into detail. Also, given it is already nearing the end of the month, and not much other than Christmas is going to happening from now until the end of the year, I am treating it as a special ‘Double Month Issue’ of News Report.


My first stop in South America was Chile – where I spent a few days literally on the edge of the Pacific – Paradise like. Some great experiences here, and at every level – work and festivities, social and visual.







From here to Mendoza and to take stock for a few days.



Then, on to Buenos Aires:







An exciting city. My Musica en Moviemiento colleagues – Luciano and Marcella – and I here did a music workshop with the group based around Fernando Kabusaki’s music academy – very successful it was too.






This was followed up with a great BA visit thanks to my sponsor Raul Navas and his family. Time to get to know more about its history. Also, to dip into café society there.







Then, a lecture in the splendid surroundings of the Law University::







I also encountered ‘The Blue Circle’ – a BA based group of writers, painters, journalists and others involved in the media and arts in BA. At one point, we were visited by a Bandoneon player who treated us to some traditional melodies. I managed to grab snatches of him and his playing:











I had a few days off and went to Iguazo Falls – an incredible experience. Some 240 waterfalls over several kilometers and opportunities to see them from many directions and angles:









From then, on to Salta and sampling some nightlife in this city I fell in love with last time I was here:






Again, a lecture at the university is splendid surroundings, and with my interpreter Minnie:







Followed by dinner and two treats. Firstly, some of the principal lecturers there turned out also to be poets and musicians.  Some fine Argentinian guitar playing and song in the Peruvian style:







We were then visited by an indigenous singer – in fact, she had been singing for the G20 summit in BA the previous week. Extraordinary shamanistic singing accompanied only by a single drum:










Next was the MeM guitar project proper. And, very successful in all respects. A good few days in a centre outside of Salta; and then the performance itself at Samsi – a Yoga and T’ai Chi centre in Salta managed by one of our team, Vijaya:










After the project, we took time to visit Cafayate and La Caldera – both stunning visually:







Time then to return to Mendoza for my own birth day surprise celebrations with Lucho and Lili on the 14thand then flight out back to England – just in time to catch the Winter Solstice.








With all this going on, I did not really have time to have a ‘CD of the Month’. However, this song featured in our discussions at one point: firstly, as a lovely song by Jose Gonzalez; then, how it was used in a stunning advertisement for Sony; and then thirdly adopted by the Swedish group The Knife for their electronica:



During the trip, I also read Christopher Hill’s The Upside Down World, which deals with the history of radical thought during the mid seventeenth century in England. From about 1660, this way of thinking went underground, but obviously re-emerged in the eighteenth century with the likes of William Blake and his mixture of the spiritual and the mundane. It is my tradition. A great read: