Sex, Night – The Brooklyn Rail
Los PiraÃ±as, El Shirota and Mujeres Podridas are three daring groups that make music that evolves the Spanish language into “a luminous heat that could burn, smell or even vaporize,” as Octavio Paz noted of cursed poet The poetry of Alejandra Pizarnik.
A vernacular language of Latin, Spanish has traditionally existed like Latin; to enjoy a few. Antonio de Nebrija wrote the first Spanish grammar and dictionary. According to him, “the language is the companion of the empire”. Ancient Spanish literature, such as the tales of Friends of Gaula, spoke of dreams of conquest and adventure. Thus, the great commentary on the conquest and adventure in a fundamentalist Catholic society of the Jewish writer Cervantes, Don Quixote, on the delusions of a sleepless landowner, with his servant forced to go for a hell of a ride.
The contemporary Spanish language was born from the unity of Castile and Aragon. Thirteenth-century Spain was dominated by three languages: Galician in the west, Castilian in the center, and Catalan in the east. With the unity of Castile, the center, and Aragon, the west, Castilian came to dominate and became the Spanish language. When he accidentally “discovered the new world” for the Spanish crown, Christopher Columbus traveled with translators who knew Hebrew, Arabic, and Aramaic, but nothing about the Native American language. Communication between the indigenous peoples and the conquistadors was at first difficult, until the Spanish crown recommended that the conquistadors marry indigenous women to found a “new race” of bilingual mestizos, able to communicate and dominate the nations. Indigenous Peoples. These half-breeds spoke Nahuatl, Quechua, Cuzco and other native languages ââthat predominated and understood the cultures and imaginations that articulated in these languages. Along with these half-breeds, the church, crown, and criollo (Spaniards born in the Americas) extracted enough wealth to build elitist and oppressive Baroque towns and civilizations on native lands.
The amplified, warped guitars, hard-hitting percussion, and disciplined harmonies of El Shirota obviously contrast with the crisp mega-egos of today’s contemporary mega-city of Mexico City, with a population of around 21.9 millions of inhabitants, and a dominant commercial elite descended from the Creollo. Their drums and guitar playing lead the charge. Mexico City is where the first “grammars of the indigenous language” were published in the “Americas”. Understanding the language of others has been used as a tool of oppression, as can be the case in the culture of mass consumption that enriches these mega-egos. El Shirota allows us to both think and feel an alternative to this.
The words of Tiempos RarosThe âLa Ciudadâ of âLa Ciudadâ are critical and direct. “It’s weird to walk / under the city light / it’s weird to walk / where I want to be / it’s rare to hide / when you’re not at peace / sometimes I’m scared / not easy to forget, âthey sing in short and concise lines, as from a poem by John Trudell or Paul Ãluard. The choice of words is simple but critical.
David Graeber writes in Debt, this philosophy as we know it – Buddhism, Confucianism, Christianity, and other spiritual and religious rebellions against the ego – emerged to counter the soulless markets created by the newly invented currency systems to pay soldiers. With these coins, soldiers could purchase goods that were once sold on credit, to be paid for after the buyer’s harvest. That same rebellion was the amplified and electric blues of Muddy Waters, Howlin ‘Wolf and Sister Rosetta Tharpe which would become the dominant style of guitar in punk.
The instrumental play that Mujeres Podrida performs at the tempos they choose distracts us from their words. The lyrics are generally very difficult to hear in detail. Based in Austin, Texas, the group Muerte In Paraiso album introduced horror into the Spanish language in the Black Sabbath tradition started in English. The album is full of simple song titles that translate to “Why”, “Morning” and others. Here, as with El Shirota, there is a project to define simple and popular concepts. Expressing “Morning” through heavy riffs is an act of speech, a restless and expressive language. The same goes for the description of the “sons of the border” through punk: it is an insurgency against corporate and harmful language.
âSex, Nightâ is the title of a poem by Alejandra Pizarnik. Sex, Night is also a suitable title for Spanish-speaking punk, or any music rooted in punk, today. Sex, Night being a marquis neon sign, both advertising and hiding social and political thoughts, beliefs, hypocrisies, fashions and visuals of music and the public. âWe are aware that the mirror sounds like a watch,â Pizarnik writes in his poem, which explains how and why we play and dance the music of sex and the night.
At Natural History, Los PiraÃ±as’ drums and timpani are crystal clear, while the guitar and organ playing is wild and distorted like haunting psychedelia. Los PiraÃ±as is a Colombian band that plays music that changes the mind. The cumbia, heard in the “Puerta del Sol” (“The Sun Gate”), was, and still is somewhat, intended to alter his state and consciousness. Drumming, intense concentration, rhythmic dancing, and fatigue are all traditional neuropsychological ways of impairing consciousness, such as ingesting psilocybin mushrooms. Their music is not punk, but also offers language. The Sun Gate here is not the modernism understood in the language of a telenovela or a politician. It – joy, fulfillment, enlightenment – is transcendent, as music and language.
How does the âunthinkableâ arise, as Pizarnik asks? In other words, how does this music and its language emerge? Is it a generational prerogative to speak in a language faithful to oneself? So is she inspired by those around the musicians above, women, men, two-spirited, non-gendered, spirits and other sentient beings? Does it come in a dream? It’s a mystery that exists with musicians. Thinking of punk, the Pre-Raphaelite beauty of William Eggleston’s photos of his punk cousin Lesa Aldridge, as well as photos of Bad Brains’ HR backfling on stage, come to mind. What can we really see from those who, when âbombs fell on Mexico City / but nobody noticed itâ (Roberto BolaÃ±o), decided to speak in a language close to their hearts? Thoughts to contemplate while listening to the music of Los PiraÃ±as, El Shirota and Mujeres Podridas.