Tag Archives: Música

WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Light

What photographer doesn’t love light? And while natural light is absolutely lovely, I wanted something different for this challenge:

© Margaret Snook 2009 All Rights Reserved 6th Annual Wines of Chile Awards

These images were shot during the 6th Annual Wines of Chile Awards ceremony in Santiago de Chile in January 2009. The artist is Marcelo Peña-Villegas who performs as Metahue. (See more about him and his music at Etnoelectrónico). Continue reading


Sandro: Adios to a Legend

Sandro Album: Después de Diez Años (1973)

Latin America is in mourning today. Argentine singer Roberto Sánchez—much better known as Sandro—has died. His fans waited in long lines outside the National Congress in Buenos Aires tonight to say their final goodbyes, and the government has announced that the building will remain open all night to accommodate the millions who have made the trip to honor their hero.

The dark and steamy “Latin Elvis” began his singing career in the 1960s and has driven his mostly female fans wild for more than 40 years. Tonight’s news showed these aging fans, or “Nenas de Sandro,” grandchildren now in tow (as well as many impersonators), clutching prized photos and mementos, weeping in the streets, outside his home, and waiting in the searing sun (followed by evening rain) to file past his coffin.

Born in Buenos Aires in 1945, Sandro was one of Latin America’s first singers to venture into the field of rock, although he later developed his own melodramatic-romantic style of very latino love songs and ballads. In his early years he was inspired by Elvis Presley—and dressed in tight pants and a ruffled shirt, he took his idol’s quiver and shake to heights Presley never dreamed of. Check out the action—from twitching toe to writhing torso—in the opening segment of his 1975 performance of his hit song “Rosa Rosa” in Viña del Mar…

I’ve been hearing about Sandro since I first met my husband, who told me the news with a long face this morning. How he began his career as a young teenager in the 1960s and was huge in the 1970s, how he was known as El Gitano (the Gypsy) for his sultry dark and handsome look, what a great voice he had, how romantic his songs were, how many people swore they fell in love to the sound of his voice and the words to his songs . In fact, the Guachacas blog posted a piece in his honor tonight that said:

How many Chileans owe their very existence to Sandro’s seductive powers? He is one of the few people responsible for our own baby boom in a decade in which freedom and romanticism played hide and seek. (translation mine)

Sandro in "Gitano" (1970)

I have also been told (repeatedly) how he wrote all his own songs, recorded 52 albums, and starred in some 16 movies over the course of his 4-decade career. And then there’s the part where his fans haunted him day and night until he finally built a bunker-like complex in Banfield outside of Buenos Aires and hadn’t left his house more than 3 times in 10 years. And how he smoked 4 packs a day and still managed to keep his voice,  how in later years he adapted a special microphone with a tube that blew oxygen to his mouth so he could keep singing despite his ever-worsening emphysema, and how he was on a waiting list for a lung transplant.

He finally had his surgery—a heart and lung transplant—in Mendoza in November. His Nenas and other fans formed and joined “prayer chains” (cadenas de oración) for his health. At first his recovery seemed to go well and hopes were high, but he took a turn for the worse. At 8:40 PM on Monday, January 4, 2010, Sandro, aged 64, made news for the last time.

RIP / QEPD (Que en Paz Descanse) Roberto Sánchez—Sandro—Sandro de América—el Elvis Argentino—el Gitano—el Hombre de la Rosa, (August 19, 1945–January 4, 2010).

Want to know more about Sandro?

Watch the news over the next few days, the TV (at least here in Latin America) will be full of stories, biographies, documentaries, and old movies in his honor. You’ll find dozens of his songs on You Tube or take a look at Wiki: Sandro de América, for starters.

Elvis Junior, alegrando mi día

No hay nada como un poco de Elvis -es decir, el mismísimo Elvis Junior chileno- para alegrar una tarde santiaguina.   Click here for English

Elvis Junior and his amazing homemade 1-man band

Elvis Junior and his amazing homemade 1-man band

Santiago tiene su cuota de personajes, esas personas de la calle que todo el mundo reconoce, aquellos que son parte esencial del paisaje urbano y que aportan una dimensión humana que hace de esta ciudad un Santiago inequívocamente santiaguino. Continue reading

Elvis Junior, Brighten Up My Day

There’s nothing like a bit of Elvis—Chile’s own Elvis Junior, that isto brighten up a Santiago afternoon. Para español, hacer click aquí

Elvis Junior and his amazing homemade 1-man band

Elvis Junior and his amazing homemade 1-man band

Santiago has its share of characters… those folks on the street that everyone recognizes, people who are an essential part of the cityscape and who add to the human side of making this city unequivocally Santiago. Continue reading

Los cantantes chilenos de la micro

Aunque el progreso y el ya famoso Trans Santiago se ha arrasado con una amplia cultura comercial arriba los buses urbanos, los cantantes de “la micro” siguen entreteniendo a los pasajeros.

For English use the translator tool or see the summary below.

En Santiago hubo una modernización del transporte urbano que arrasó con muchas costumbres capitalinas relacionadas con la venta y comercialización de productos “arriba de la micro”, en el autobús. Se vendían desde diarios a herramientas de jardinería, borradores mágicos de tinta, calculadoras, bebidas y helados en verano, chocolates y dulces en invierno, parche-curitas (bandas adhesivas con esponjita para proteger las heridas), calcetines, llaveros, linternas, paraguas, quitasoles, pilas, relojes, sombreros plegables, chalas… Todo se acabó. Prohibido. Pero pese a ese cambio en el transporte urbano hay un gremio que era tan típico y autóctono que permaneció: los cantantes de micro. Esos maravillosos “cantores”, que le diría un amigo argentino, que piden permiso al chofer para subirse al bus y entonar una canción (guitarras, charangos, tambores, panderetas en unos casos y en otros, los raperos, generando los sonidos con la boca, por parejas o tríos).

Si ves subirse a uno, préstale atención, seguro tiene mucho que decir, son gente de oficio, son cantores de micro, no son cantores de escenario o de plaza o de fiesta, son otro tipo de cantores, tienen su particular público que se sube y se baja y te golpea para pasar, tienen otras habilidades. Y casi todos son muy buenos.

¿Te has topado con algún cantor de micro en Santiago? ¿Qué música cantaba? ¡Cuéntanos!

A continuación puedes ver el video de un cantor ciego en una micro por Av. Vespucio, de noche:



The recent modernization of Santiago’s public transportation system did away with an entire way of doing business on the bus. Vendors would board the bus to sell everything from gardening tools, magic marker erasers, calculators, cold drinks and ice cream in the summer, chocolate and other candy in the winter, bandaids, socks, key chains, flashlights, umbrellas, batteries, watches, fold up hats, sandals… you name it, but that’s all gone now. Kaput. It’s a shame, but the one hold-over from the old homegrown transportation system are the wonderful busline singers. They ask the driver for permission, and then start to sing and play their guitars, charangos, drums, and/or tamborines in some cases, and in others, perform their raps in pairs or trios using the human voice to provide rhythm and backbeat. It’s quite an experience–and most are quite good! Watch the video above for an example.

Do you have a story about singers on the buses? Let us know!


One of my favorite Chilean characters is the “Chinchinero”

Young Chinchinero in Providencia, SantiagoPara español usa la herramienta de traducción o ve el resumen abajo…

“Chinchineros” are a common site on Santiago streets, especially on weekends. They strap a large drum called a “bombo” vertically on their backs and attach a strap to their foot that is connected to a set of horizontally placed cymbals on to of the drum. The long drumsticks are tucked under their arms (chicken-wing style) and they start to dance and twirl like dirvishes without missing a beat.

Chinchineros are usually–perhaps always–men, and the trade is often passed down from father to son. It is especially fun to see the really young boys with their miniature drums dance up a storm. They often wear black felt hats that are then passed among the crowds for tips.

They are often associated with organ grinders (“organilleros”), although I have never personally seen them perform together. Look for them on weekends in busy places such as in front of Santiago’s Estación Central, Bellavista, Providencia, and elsewhere. And don’t worry about missing them–you’ll hear them from blocks away.

Take a look:

Also check out the web site http://www.chinchineros.cl/ (in Spanish, with photos)

Do you have a story about chinchineros? ¡Please tell us!



“El chinchinero” es uno de mis personajes chilenos favoritos. Llevan un bombo vertical colgado de la espalda, a modo de mochila, sobre el que se sitúan dos platillos horizontales que están amarrados por una cuerda al pie para hacerlos sonar al ritmo de sus pasos. Llevan una varilla en cada mano, con la que golpean el bombo y bailan girando sobre sí mismos, como si fuera una tormenta.

Es una tradición de hombres (casi no se ven mujeres chinchineras), que se traspasa de padre a hijo. Y es muy frecuente verlos en tríos: padre, hijo mayor (10-15 años) e hijo menor (3-8 años). Son divertidos los más chicos, con su bombo en miniatura, vestidos igual al padre.

Los puedes encontrar los fines de semana en el Centro, en Providencia y en Bellavista. El sonido de los tambores y los platillos es muy fuerte y escandaloso, por lo que resulta fácil escucharlos de lejos e ir buscándolos por el sonido.

¿Conoces alguna historia sobre chinchineros? ¡Cuéntanosla!