Monday, November 28, 2011


Street musicians from Santa Clara la Laguna
24" x 18", oil on canvas, 2011
Arsenal set a unique record last Saturday: All 14 players (the original 11 and the maximum allowed three subs) had a different nationality. I'm a fan of Arsenal. Their international character is reflected in my top 100. The Top 100 2011 is rapidly becoming my most international list ever. The 38 songs in the list so far represent music from 23 different countries. Number 39 is from Guatemala (that makes it 24). The Guatemalan song is an old time traditional urban song (ranchera) performed by a group of indigenous street musicians from Santa Clara la Laguna. The song, in the format of a video blog, was recorded in 2008 by Rudy Girón in the city La Antigua Guatemala. The musicians were playing for some handouts from by passers, mostly tourists. Near the end of the video some policemen come over. They talk to the guitar player while the other three keep on with their song (a religious hymn). According to Girón the policemen asked them to stop playing, supposedly for not having a permit. Girón concludes that the real reason for police intervention was that the type of music they were playing was too exotic, too third world like, to be heard on the streets of a city that is so dependent on tourism. They are welcome to play in my back yard though (which is where they are situated in the painting).

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