Chinoy: Sex, Drugs and Walt Whitman?

Irrational demands, late start times and gaggles of adoring fans fawning over your every move. These are usually just a few perks and quirks of being an up-and-coming musician.

itemId=7126 Photo by Alfredo Pernas

Not if you are Chinoy, possibly one of the most well-behaved artists to grace the Chilean stage. It came as quite a surprise to find him in the post-gig chill out room in Palacio Carrasco completely alone, with a flask of tea by his side and a bunch of grapes to nibble on, reading a collection of Walt Whitman poetry.

itemId=7121 Photo by Alfredo Pernas

Having disturbed his peace, Chinoy graciously suspended his activity to sit and chat for an interview. A soft-spoken, seemingly solitary soul with piercingly clear eyes, he is originally from San Antonio, south of Valparaiso. Nowadays, though, the 27-year-old male singer-songwriter Chinoy now resides in Chile’s "Capital of Culture" Valparaiso and is becoming quite a regular on the Chilean folk circuit. He is part of the newest generation of singer-songwriters though has no formal albums released yet. His music, he says, is discovered mainly by word-of-mouth and MySpace.

With just a guitar for company onstage earlier that night, Chinoy warbled and hit some supernaturally high notes for an enthusiastic audience. He enchantingly commanded the attention from everyone in the room with smiles, short interludes of conversation between songs and, of course, his pitch perfect, uniquely melodic voice. For some of his more popular songs such as "Igual Igual" (Equal, Equal) and "Derramar" (To Spill), Chinoy was almost drowned out by the audience, who knew every word and key change.

itemId=7129 Photo by Alfredo Pernas

Chinoy has a voice that all at once captivates and slightly confuses. The sound emanating from the humble male figure onstage, dressed simply in a Dennis the Menace-style red-and-black jumper, was distinctly effeminate. Singers such as Tracy Chapman and Antony of Antony and the Johnsons are just a couple examples of singers whose dulcet tones belie their gender. So is the case with Chinoy, who looks set to join this list of androgynous-sounding artists.

Chinoy is not your average artist-with-attitude. But with sincere performances and simple yet catchy melodies, he is causing quite a stir on the Chilean music scene. Just don’t expect him to be tardy, demanding or drunk.

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