Tuesday, December 16, 2008

My Nicaraguan Playlist

Those of you who've been following my little bloggie over the past few months have experienced Nicaragua right along with me, but I can't help but feel that maybe I've been holding out on you. I mean, sure, I've told you many tales of adventure, outrage, and hilarity, but I feel I owe you more. I've shared through stories, I've shared through pictures, but we here at Amazing Cheastypants believe in full-on, 3-D, six senses exposure to this little world I inhabit. So today I bring you a new feature I'm trying out: Memories: A Musical Extravaganza (!!!!). All right, so maybe it's not all that exciting. We don't have humans dressed as Cats, we don't have star-crossed lovers, goofy sidekicks, or dark and mysterious romantic heroes. What we have is a small collection of songs that range from the excellent to the ghastly. These are a few of the songs that for the rest of my life will hurl me back in time to the front seat of my friend Monica's car, to a crowded Managua city bus, to the backyard of my house here in the Nicaraguan capital. Granted, the list is not complete. Nobody, for example, can tell me who sings that really annoying and totally catchy little song that goes "la la la la la la la la la la." Googling lots of la's on the internet yields interesting but not particularly informative results, so that one's not on here. (I promise, you'd thank me if you knew what I was talking about.) Incomplete or not, however, here it is: my Nicaraguan Playlist. Some songs are wonderful, some songs are worse than the seventh circle, but for better or worse, these are the songs that have shaped the musical landscape of my four months in Nicaragua.

The Good:

Nicaragua, Nicaraguita, by Carlos Mejia Godoy. This song is iconographic. Mejia Godoy and his musical group are without contest the most famous musicians in Nicaragua. They got their start writing protest songs and revolutionary hymns back in the seventies, and this hymn to "Nicaragua Libre" (free Nicaragua) from 1979 is perhaps the most frequently played, commonly recognized song in the entire country. Catchy tune, sweet sentiment (Nicaragua I've always loved you, but now that you are free, I love you even more), and an accordion. What more could you ask for?

Ilusión, by Julieta Venegas and Marisa Monte. This song is brilliant. Monica bought Julieta Venegas's MTV Unplugged CD, and this song left us both agog. Several months of endless repeats ensued, and yet still I love it as much as I did the first time. Actually, more. Give it a listen; you can thank me later.

Honey Honey, by ABBA. I don't care how much you mock me, world, I refuse to be cowed into silence. I hereby declare to all and sundry, I LOVE THIS ABBA MUSICAL! I know the movie was borderline terrible, and yet I cannot help but think of it as transcendently gorgeous and emotionally fulfilling. Except for that part where Pierce Brosnan sings, but I can always fast-forward that. My housemate has the soundtrack, I have a bootleg copy of the movie, and this song runs through my head for at least 75% of every day. I luuuuuuuuuurve it!

The Bad:

Llamada de Emergencia, by Daddy Yankee. Have you ever been to a Central American nightclub? It is, in a word, wow. Bright flashing lights, murky clouds of cigarette and "atmosphere" smoke, music loud enough to stun cattle in the next county, and boisterous crowds of slick-haired, heavily-perfumed, scantily clad 18-year-olds gyrating their hips so aggressively it's a wonder they don't come unglued. And, of course, the ubiquitous slimy 50 year old men leering over their beers over at the bar. It's a love it or hate it kind of thing. "Ven aquí rápido, ven aquí rápido..."

Angel of the Morning, by The Pretenders. This song is near and dear to my Nicaraguan experience for a number of reasons. First, it is EVERYWHERE. Second, it is TERRIBLE (and by terrible, of course, I mean COMPLETELY WONDERFUL). And third, this one taxi driver. For the rest of my life I will never forget this guy: a short, sweaty, chubby taxi driver with a poorly thought out mustache, belting this song out at the top of his lungs as he drove me over to the Ministry of Health. "Yuss cowmi anyel, obdee mornin, anyelllll......"

Bon Jovi. I have a neighbor who is Bon Jovi's Number One Fan, and I don't mean that in a snarky or facetious way. He really loves Bon Jovi more than any other human being on this planet. He has an enormous stereo set up in his yard and EVERY. SINGLE. EFFING. DAY, he plays two songs, back to back at full volume. "Always," and "Bed of Roses." I've never seen this guy, but I imagine him looking like a Nicaraguan version of Joey Buttafuoco (or however you spell it). Wife beater tank top, graying pompadour, tight little beer belly, and a lawn chair. Some of us need God, some of us need booze, and some of us need Bon Jovi.


Bed Of Roses

The Ugly:

Another Day in Paradise, by Phil Collins. Oh, Managua city buses, how I love you. How I will miss you. Except, as we used to say in junior high, "NOT!!" (hehe) There was a period of about two or three weeks where I felt like every single stupid time I got on a soaking wet, grimy, steamy bus in the never-ending horrific rains and floating piles of garbage on flooded city streets, this song was playing. This part of my life was called "Cheastypants Contemplates Suicide In A Slightly Joking Manner," and this song DID NOT help. Not that there isn't a time and place for depressing-yet-contemplative-and-deeply-felt lyrics, but right then was not that time. It may be quite a while before I can ever forgive Mr. Collins for inflicting this song upon my life.

The End:

So that's it, my precious petunia-pantses. If you've even gotten this far, I congratulate you. If you've listened to even 50% of the songs, I take my hat off to you. If you've listened to them all, I crown you Emperor of the Universe Forever. It's been a trippy run down memory lane for me, but now our Memories: A Musical Extravaganza (!!!!) is over, and it is bedtime for l'il old Cheastypants. Sweet dreams, and a happy tomorrow to you all.


Anonymous said...

You may now refer to me as "Emperor of the Universe Forever". And i never want to hear most of those again.

Cant wait to see you!!!!!!

The Fairy King

Anonymous said...

Lucky you to hear Always and Bed of Roses every effing day!!!!

Kate said...

Wow. The Venegas/Monte song was stunning! Almost made me wish I knew what the hell they were saying. :) I will probably find myself drifting back to your blog frequently just to listen to it.

And, yeah, Bon Jovi, everyday? I bet you wish that you didn't have people beckoning you back to Texas.

I will make sure that Jon knows that you posted a tribute to him. Seriously, I will. My husband's cousin is a ski instructor in Aspen, and who does he ski with every freaking year...besides Lorne Michaels? Yep, you guessed it, the cowboy himself, Jon Bon Jovi and family. No kidding.

Cheasty said...

FK - Counting the days, my little Emperor! see you monday!

Anon - I thought that at first too. Now, four months later, it's enough to make a good man cry.

Kate - I KNOW. it's fabulous. basically the song is saying "I loved her so much, but i didn't know what to do, what she needed, and she left me. I really messed up, and I left the one person I loved so much." that's a synopsis, of course. :) say hi to jon for me. tell him i've always loved him. Always. hehe.

moxita said...

oh yes to the neighbour and his guns and roses, i do miss it!

JackieZ said...

its still Michael Jackson mania in downtown Rio, every stand blaring thriller. and people standing around watching his twenty-odd years old videos. as much as it annoys me, I am also strangely drawn to it, and find myself stopping to watch Billie Jean for the gazillionth time in my life.

gabrielahorbaty said...

cheasty..excelente post!! y bellas canciones? Cuando regresas al paisito? beso,