What’s Up, Chile? and Related Musical Adventures

On the Giants: I hate being right, though this is a classic example of the difference between reading about a game afterward and actually getting to watch it. Why did they take Sadowski out so early, giving up one run through four? I feel like I missed something, and as always, the Giants bullpen came through with a great performance. And the Rooks won, so we’re tied, but I know that Timmy can come through.

But enough about that. Yesterday was a great day for many respects, and extraordinarily musical in such strange ways.

I started off going to the Santiago Radio station, a similar but distinctly different group of people from the Santiago Times. Santiago Radio is part of the greater company I Love Chile, an English-language network primarily for ex-pats, set up by a New Yorker who moved to Chile years ago. They are separate from the Santiago Times, but collaborate regularly, as do pretty much all of the English speakers in the country.

The connection in this case is What’s Up, Chile? a weekly news and talk show put on by the interns at the Santiago Times. The station recently moved, and the show hasn’t been on for a couple months. The old host is leaving, and had us over to the station on Monday to show us the technology, and we did a half-show, an hour, just to get the hang of it.

Yesterday I went over with Natalia, my editor, and another former intern to mess around and get the hang of all of the controls, and because apparently our random blather is more interesting than an auto-DJ music system, it ended up on the station. I’ve been listening to it, trying to get a hang of what levels were good, when there was too much music or too little, when  you could or couldn’t hear, etc. I think it actually turned out pretty well, as we got into a few good discussions about Chile and randomness, so if you’re interested, check it out here. I hope you find it interesting, it was certainly fun for us. It takes a few seconds before it starts, so don’t fret.

The crux of this is that they’re looking for somebody new to spearhead the project of What’s Up, Chile?, and there I was, holding the mic. I’ve always wanted to host a radio show, particularly a news and talk show, so I’m really excited for this. The best part, I think, is that I get to build from the strong base of the Santiago Times intern staff, so we won’t ever have a problem finding people to come on. I’ve begun thinking about where I want to go from this, including maybe having a second show later in the week for guest interviews and more geared around call-ins, but that’s in the future, and I need to see how it goes this monday first. The other great thing is that What’s Up, Chile? has been a pet project of Natalia, my editor, so if and when I need to lessen my writing load at ST to do more work at SR, she’ll understand.

Still, I have my work cut out for me. Simon, she said, used to spend hours every Sunday mapping out an agenda, figuring out who’s going to talk about what, etc. The show is also podcasted online, so I’m currently downloading a few old shows to listen to it to get a handle on what I should start doing.

Anyway, I’m excited, and now I just need to figure out if there’s a better name out there, because What’s Up, Chile? is a tad odd. The best thing I can come up with so far is The Whole Empanada, but let me know if you think of any ideas better than that (shouldn’t be hard).

IMG_0916From the station I walked back to the Metro station, stopping to use a computer quickly and recharge my phone with minutes, all the time hearing amazing music from… somewhere. And then, leaving, I saw a man standing near the corner playing the mouth harp, with speakers behind him. He was quite good and, after listening for a few minutes, I bought two of his group’s CDs for about $6, and much to my surprise, they actually had music on them when I get home! Check out this rendition of “The Sound of Silence,” by Grupo Valparaíso. Or not… my internet is being strange. I’ll upload it when I can.

Wait! Here it is.

After that, I headed to the Metro, and just outside there was a group of three musicians doing jazz for tips: an electric guitarist, an upright string bass and a drummer at a trap set. They were quite good, and if I had wifi, I could get you a recording, but I did snap a few pictures.


And as if that weren’t enough, later that night I was invited by a friend to go to a Jazz club in Santiago (appropriate named “Club de Jazz de Santiago”), so I hopped a bus to get down there. I’ve mentioned before the random live music on buses, but this time it was quite different. Rather than a random guy with a guitar, or occasionally a drum, this time there were two guys with a stereo and an iPod, who rapped to the music. They were also pretty good, I think, though of course I had no idea what they were singing about. I recorded that too, and I’ll get it later.


After an entertaining bus ride, I emerged and found the club. I didn’t know that there were jazz clubs in Chile, but I was very impressed. It was a very classy joint with a $6 cover, and I sat with my friend and his housemates for a bit before the show started.

The band came on at about 10:30 and launched into a pretty entertaining set that I’d call fairly typical of live jazz, as in a few basic melodious lines in common, punctuated by a solo by each member of the group, then back to the melody.

The band was an interesting construct. The frontman, on the trumpet and wearing a Hawaiian shirt, looked like a cross between Jerry Garcia and George Baker, with hair covering most of his face and flailing his body in such a random manner that he must have been on as many drugs as Garcia and Baker combined in their hay-days. Besides the trumpeter there was a saxophone, upright stringed bass, electric guitar, electric bass, and drums. All men, each musician had either shaggy, long hair or a shaved head and tough goatee, providing an interesting look of the band.


The standout of the group, and the only one who didn’t look like a roadie for Van Halen, was the drummer, a skinny guy in a button down shirt, whose arms moved with almost cartoonish quickness, the rest of his body sitting perfectly still while his arms flailed around like Agent Smith.

Also, randomly, the two drummers I’ve so far seen in this country both used military style with their left stick, holding it at an angle. Odd, though I haven’t exactly seen a representative sample yet.

Great music, and now to figure out what to do for the radio.

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