Tuesday, August 30, 2011
TUNES FOR TUESDAY - Yamulemao
After a summer break, Tunes for Tuesdays is back.
Much has happened since our last entry in this series. Most notably, Joe Arroyo passed away in July at a clinic in Barranquilla, Colombia. He was only 56 years old. Colombians lamented, cried, remembered, and then sang and danced to Joe Arroyo's music. "It's the best way to say good bye" they said. It was yet another excuse for a big party in Barranquilla, a city that has never experienced a shortage of such opportunities.
All the big names in Colombian music had something to say. From Shakira and Juanes to Fruko, who cried on camera. Even the President of Colombia made a public statement. Abroad, Willie Colon and Oscar D'Leon, among others sent their condolences from the USA, and the BBC reminisced about a time when Island Records distributed his music throughout Europe. Then others also reminisced: that it was Fuentes who discovered him in 1972, that he used to sing in brothels in Cartagena as a little boy wearing a bucket on his head, that he came from the African Barrios of Cartagena de Indias, that there he learned the language of a Senegalese tribe whose words he often incorporated into his songs, that at the top of his success he was using crack cocaine, that he created his own music genre, the Joeson.
The usual Colombian-style controversies followed: That --yet another-- "exhaustive investigation" should be conducted to determine whether his wife had exploited him during the last months of his life by making him appear at concerts while terribly ill. That his surviving relatives were quarreling over the control of his fortune. That at age 56, a simple case of pneumonia should not kill anyone were it not for the Colombian health care system. . . . All the while a Soap Opera about his life continues to run with strong ratings and with a realistic end to come soon. En fin, it is another episode of Macondian proportions in our Colombia.
But here's a curious song by Joe Arroyo, Yamulemao: