I feel like it’s been a while since NPR’s Felix Contreras has had a Tiny Desk for a band playing Latin American music. And Monsieur Periné (French name and all) plays some really fun Latin American music. They are from Colombia, which is evidently known for its Afro-Colombian cumbia.
But they don’t play strictly cumbia. Their long set plays around with tempos and styles. It is fun, fun, fun with a lot of swing and big horns. There’s some great electric guitar and electric upright bass and two fantastic drummers. There’s even a 1920s jazz feel to some of their music (the guitars especially)
This is all set behind the lead singer’s beautiful voice (and the guys’ harmonies). And the great riffs from the saxophone nad trombone.
The first song “Nuestra Canción” (Our Song) opens slowly with several different tempos. I love that once the singing starts, the two guitars play very different things that works so well together. I like watching the drummer and percussionist playing the same rhythms. And it’s especially interesting when this six-minute, very jazzy-feeling song (albeit it sung in Spanish) takes a turn in the middle of the song to sound very cumbia.
“Sabor A Mi” (Taste of Me) is a bolero–very dancey. The guitarist has switched to a twelve string instrument with a very small body. I assume it’s a guitar but who knows. The lead guitar is actually played on an acoustic guitar outfitted with a pick up. The sax player has switched to clarinet and the clarinet and trombone y play a great melody together.
“La Muerte” is 7 minutes long with a spoken introduction. This made me very curious because the introduction is in Spanish for a song that she sings in part in French (and in Spanish). The horns sound great on this song. And the guitar solo comes in it a has very surf guitar sound while still saying very Latin American. There’s a long instrumental section that slows things down and then they come blasting out with their great riffs.
This band is a lot of fun and would be great at a party.
[READ: February 4, 2016] “Mother’s Day”
I have really been enjoying the work of Saunders lately. I particularly enjoy his darker comic pieces, but there’s something about his non funny pieces that is also pretty grand.
It’s never clear if you’re going to get funny Saunders or not when you start a story.
This one even seems like it might be funny as we slowly learn more and more about one of the Mothers featured this Mother’s Day.
The story is told in that strangely detached way that Saunders has where it seems like what seems like a third person may actually be the inner monologue of the narrator. But told at a distance? “Paulie had flown in and Pammy had taken her to Mother’s Day lunch and now was holding her hand. Holding her hand! Right on Pine. The girl who once slapped her own mother for attempting to adjust her collar.”
Pammy and Paulie and their mother are walking down the street. Their mother is older and has no tolerance for this walking business. “What was Pammy trying to do, cripple her?”
And most of the trip is spent with the mother in a reverie over the way things were. Her former husband Paul, Sr was a character. He was always funny and flirtatious. In fact, he liked to do it in all kinds of weird places–outside (they were caught several times by the kids and Paul Sr made great jokes about that).
She is disdainful of her children. Paul Jr is bald and fat and working at the Penny Saver. Pammy worked at a placed called “‘No Animals Need Die.’ That was the actual name. Place smelled like hemp.” And they were so bright as children, too.
Most of their mom’s reverie is making excuses for Paul Sr. He stayed out all night, but who could blame him, home was no fun. That one time he had to send Paulie to the shed for doing something wrong. But no, he wasn’t sent to the shed, he went there on his own… right? Her memory seems to conveniently forget details.
She has several stories that makes him out to be even more horrible than we assume until she sees a neighbor across the way–Debi Hather.
She hates Debi and refuses to even acknowledge the dirty hippie. The woman who would sleep with anyone. And where’s her daughter? Unseen in thirty ears.
Then the point of view switches to Debi. She sees Alma walking up the street with her kids. And she thinks back on her life. How she loved men, and all the ones she slept with. And why shouldn’t she have? .She thinks back on a few of them like Tim? Tom? from Ohio who was into blindfolds and carried them with him.
Then we learn what happened with her daughter Vicky and why she hasn’t been heard from in 30 years.
Then Debi imagines what will happen at the pearly gates when she, Debi, is waiting for Alma to show up (although she believes that she will outlive Alma, it’s only fair). Debi will laugh at Alma’s smugness when she sees Debi in there already–bad mouthing her all the time.
And then we learn just why Alma hates Debi so much (it’s a good reason).
Then a storm comes and the story goes really dark pretty fast, when a storm comes. And anyone hoping for a comic ending is not going to get one.
For ease of searching I include, Monsieur Perine.