Friday, July 9, 2010

A Culture of Troubadours

It seems that everywhere I've gone this week, I've encountered elderly men singing. It's not uncommon in Medellín for older men to spontaneously break into song. Whether it be a janitor humming along to an old vallenato number or a father strolling along in the park singing to his daughter, these older Paisas seem capable of tapping into the numerous latin ballads floating in the air and broadcasting them to the those around them, if only for a few seconds.

It's commonplace for many of these same older men to be seen with one headphone on their ear, the other dangling around their neck. I had always assumed that like the men who wear these at sporting events, these Colombians were tuning in to keep in touch with the gambling line. This myth was refuted today when I was talking to a friend's father who suddenly interrupted the dialogue with a whimsical: "y los ojos siempre mostran la verdadero amor" to which he nodded in my direction, expecting me to recognize this classic love song. It seems that these older Colombians through electronic apparatus or reminiscing to their glory days keep their spirits high by singing classic melodies throughout the day. For the uninformed observer, this is a fascinating experience that will continue to make me smile whenever I hear it.

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