As people came in all sorts of get-ups, from AC/DC t-shirts to Madonna hats and from khaki army trousers to posh sunglasses, it was clear that today was going to be all about diversity. It could all only mean one thing: DIA DE LA MUSICA had arrived.
After the success of 2008’s event in Quinta Normal, Club Metro brought the Chilean music festival back to Santiago’s very own Parque O’Higgins. More than 40,000 festival-goers flocked to the site throughout the day to see a whole host of Chilean artists, packing the place to breaking point.
With a fabulously jaunty horn section and excited boogying from front woman Paz Court, Jazzimodo’s mix of jazz, cheery pop and bright rave colours got everything started on the dance floor, with girls being flung around in every direction to tracks “El Rock Mundial” and “Caramelo”.
Next, crooners Alexis Venegas, Pablo Herrera and Mario Guerrero pulled out every ballad trick in the book. DJ duo Mawashi, dressed in lucha libre masks, then jumped onto the stage and immediately threw a whole load of electro bass and filthy beats in your face, luring out people’s best robot dances. Tizana, using both African beats and rolling bass lines, continued the fun and got people skanking to great chant tracks like “Danho,” while, to the cry of “asalto,” Porfiados De La Cueca kicked out their fantastic brand of urban cueca, making even the kids get their hankies out.
A sea of red (thanks to the complementary red caps given out at the gates) then rushed to the front to see the infectious Anita Tijoux. The hip-hop songstress, although a wee lassie, cracked out rhyme after rhyme faster than a speeding bullet while cascading a cloud of trip hop over dirty bass that would have shaken the roof had there been one.
The sun now seemed to be beating down harder than ever, with people all reaching for the sunscreen. They quickly forgot when Grammy nominee Camila Moreno arrived screaming into the microphone and quivering as she stomped her feet wildly.
The crowd simply stared as, doubled over, she jumped up and down, bending her guitar strings and making it wail in pain. With such a wonderfully bizarre performance, people seemed relieved to finally receive Fernando Ubiergo, who appeared less folk singer and more granddad telling his next grand tale.
Without any need for pleasantries, every man and his dog started shouting for Tommy Rey as they fired up with classic tracks, moving the entire Chilean audience to dance madly and kick up dust.
The sun had well and truly faded, but people were still sweating buckets, and so, to calm things a little and bring yet more folk to the day, Manuel Garcia stepped up. Many people began to mill around at this point, looking for a beer or completo vendor, but no one could fault Garcia’s charming voice and beautiful guitar play. The Chilean folker eventually bowed out, giving way to a hip-hop and reggaeton ending to the evening with Movimiento Original, Croni-k (not just a clever name) and Zaturno. If you had a scarf tied round your head, a long hanky dangling out of your back pocket or simply precariously baggy trousers, it was a given that you rushed down to the front at this point.
Leaving through the back gate, I was met by a terribly drunken fellow who seemed to want to make friends. Using classic lines like the fact that he was a contracted artist at the festival and playing a distorted rendition of The Beatles’ “Love Me Do” on harmonica; I was almost convinced to stay for a beer with him. Then deciding it his mission to find me a Chilean girlfriend, he stopped every female in their tracks and thus made me feel thoroughly embarrassed. Here, I thought it wise to make my getaway, to which the drunken harmonica player retorted “oh go on! Just buy us a beer!”
As the night drew to a fitting end and everyone squeezed onto the same metro train, it seemed that we had all been treated to a rather special day. Full of musical delights Chile had got the stage it deserved and showed us that there’s plenty of talent here, you’ve only got to look for it.
Dia de la Musica 2009
November 22 2009