Musica Folklorica de la Argentina (Argentine Folk Music)

During my service as a missionary for the LDS Church in Argentina, one day in the small town of Choele-Choel a friend named Oscar sat down with his guitar and sang “Zamba de Mi Esperanza.”  My companion, Elder Ed Rogers, had a great enthusiasm for gaucho culture, and shared that interest with me.  One thing led to another, and during my last days in Argentina, in the the city of Santa Rosa in the province of La Pampa, my companion Elder Sergio Krasnoselsky took me to El Martrero and some music stores, and helped me select audio cassettes of some of the greats of Argentine folklore.  Once home in the United States, I made backup tapes of the cassettes, and played those tapes numerous times over the years.  A few years ago I purchased CDs with music by some of the same artists.

It seems I may have more interest in this music than the average Argentine.  Most Argentines I meet don’t listen to this music, and don’t seem to relate to it.  As for me,  I enjoy listening to this music a great deal, and even took this music with me on my first trip to Japan in 1993, on the theory that I could immunize myself from culture shock by playing music from a foreign culture with which I was familiar.  I arrived on a Sunday evening, alone, and worked all day Monday in a hotel room as it was a national holiday – – I played Argentine folk music as I worked away in my room at Tokyo’s New Otani hotel.  At week’s end I listened the music as I traveled from Tokyo to Osaka on  Shinkansen (bullet train).

While  the music appeals to me, I have to admit that I don’t fully understand either the overt meaning of all the lyrics (there is a great deal of Argentine slang and gaucho terminology), let alone the intended messages or connotations of the songs, or the context in which they were written.  I have some sense of Argentine history, of how the gauchos were marginalized members of Argentine society who with the stroke of the pen of wealthy politicians in Buenos Aires were converted into hired help for distant landowners of large estancias, but my understanding is superficial.  But, even with that limited understanding of context, one is not surprised if much of the music has tones that invoke sentiments of protest, nostalgia, injustice, or some blend of all three.

During my days as a student at BYU, one day when I lived in apartment number 2 at Miller Apartments a friend passed by and heard my Argentine folk music playing.  I believe a Jose Larralde song was playing at that moment.  This friend, Alberto Polo, who is from Peru, asked in Spanish:  “Hermano, que escuchas?  Ese es comunista, o a lo menos socialista.” (“Brother, what are you listening to?  This singer is a communist, or at the least a socialist.”)  I’m neither communist nor socialist, I think, but learning the political leanings of the singers did not necessarily surprise me or bother me.  My favorite of all the Argentine folk music is “Zamba de Mi Esperanza.”  The political context of that song, and of the performer of my favorite rendition, appears below.

Today much of his music is available online.  Here are some of my favorites, each appearing under the name of the artist that performs them.

Jorge Cafrune

Balderrama (video, audio, lyrics [english, espanol / castellano])

Coplas del Payador Perseguido (video, audio, lyrics [english, espanol / castellano])

La Martin Guemes (video, audio, lyrics [english, espanol / castellano])

Virgen India (video, audio, lyrics [english, espanol / castellano])

Zamba de Mi Esperanza (video, audio, lyrics [english, espanol / castellano]) – – This is my favorite of all the Argentine folk music I have, though for many years I had little understanding of the life of the man whose recording I like best.  The wikipedia article on Cafrune includes this background:  “In 1977, after several years spent living in Spain, [Jorge Cafrune] returned to his country. Times were difficult for Argentina, as the government was under the restrictive military dictatorship of Jorge Rafael Videla. The government saw a menace in Cafrune’s outspoken music, particularly his politically controversial song, Zamba de mi esperanza. On his persistence, Cafrune said, `Although it is not in the authorized repertoire, if my people requests it of me, I am going to sing it.’ On January 31, 1978, Lieutenant Colonel Carlos Enrique Villanueva ordered the assassination of Cafrune. After being run over by a van driven by two nineteen year old men, Cafrune died within twelve hours.”

Jose Larralde

Cosas Que Pasan (video, audio, lyrics [english, espanol / castellano])

De Los Pagos Del Tiempo (video, audio, lyrics [english, espanol / castellano])

Diferencias (video, audio, lyrics [english, espanol / castellano])

El Por Que (video, audio, lyrics [english, espanol / castellano])

Pa’ Usted Senor (video, audio, lyrics [english, espanol / castellano])

Que Cruz La Que Lleva El Viento (video, audio, lyrics [english, espanol / castellano])

Quien Me Enseno (video, audio, lyrics [english, espanol / castellano])

Los Chalchaleros

Angelica (video, audio, lyrics [english, espanol / castellano])

3 Responses to “Musica Folklorica de la Argentina (Argentine Folk Music)”

  1. Florencia Krasnoselsky Says:

    Hola Greg, feliz cumpleaños! Estarás comiendo rosquillas de naranja hoy…
    Cada vez tengo menos tiempo de entrar en tu página, pero siempre que lo hago es un placer.
    Gracias por recordar a Sergio hoy. Él siempre te recuerda y menciona. Cada vez que enseña a los misioneros sobre llevarse bien con el compañero, por ejemplo.
    En el último consejo de Líderes de Zona, incluso proyectó la foto en la que estás limpiando la pila bautismal de Santa Rosa. La historia es muy emocionante y enseña muchas cosas, entre ellas, a trabajar con menos activos, a hacer nuestra parte y permitirle al Señor hacer el resto, a preparar el camino para los milagros y a trabajar, trabajar, trabajar.
    Qué bendición ha sido la misión de Sergio en su vida y qué bendición lo ha sido en la mía!
    Te amamos!

    • gregjonesorg Says:

      Hola Florencia,
      El dia de mi cumpleanos recibi tu nota, y tambien vole a Denver para visitar a mis padres en Littleton. Asi que, recibi regalos especiales este ano. Se que usteded estaran tan ocupados, me alegra que tomo parte de tu dia para escribirme. Ni imagine que Sergio me mencionaria a mi cuando ensena a los misioneros. Recuerdo bien la experiencia cuando sacamos el oxidio (?) de la pila bautismo y la pintamos de nuevo; creo que que la idea de Sergio, que si seguimos sin una pila bautismal que sirve, demostramos que no esperamos bautismos. Todo esto sucedio durante la epoca del asunto de Las Malvinas (tambien el mundial en Espana), y el pueblo estaba tan enfocado en la guerra que pocas personas nos querian escuchar las charlas, pero de todos modo seguimos con la obra.
      Es una gran bendicion haber sido companero de mision de Sergio, y despues amigo de todos ustedes – – fue Sergio que me inspiro a asistir la reunion misional en Bahia Blanca en 2005.
      Agredezco su amistad, y que el Senor les bendiga en todo.
      Con amor,

  2. Florencia Krasnoselsky Says:

    Hola Greg, feliz cumpleaños! Estarás comiendo rosquillas de naranja hoy…

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