In aid of having fun, meeting people, and spreading the word of our project, we have been regularly visiting Parque Centenario on Sundays. Parque Centenario is a park not far from our house where loads of people congregate during the weekends. There are drumming sessions going on, families playing with children, dancers and musicians everywhere. It packed with excitement.
Valeria makes the most amazing, traditional Argentinian sweet called an alfajore (which I am completely addicted to) so a couple of weeks ago she made a decent batch of alfahores and we took them, my guitar and a few project flyers along to the park (Parque Centenario). We put up a little sign selling the sweets, strategically placed around some flyers, and I bashed away on the guitar. It’s not a money making scheme, just a bit of fun and an experiment to see what comes of it.
Coincidentally it involves food and music, just like our project, Food for Thought. Our project involves theatre and art also, but in our park experiment we are concentrating on food and music. These two things, that I am increasingly becoming aware of, are integral parts of our lives. We all eat food and we all listen to music. They are also two things in our lives that make us happy. For example, what are the two things that you always have at every party?……..you guessed it! So we have taken this food and music theme and applied it in a different setting.
On the first outing we sold three alfajores. I think the lack of sales was due to our bad choice of location with little foot traffic. But we also met some great people. This is the aspect of our experiment that I am most interested in. Two young guys sat themselves down about 7-8 meters away and started to play a little drum along to my guitar playing. After a few smiles and head nods they came over and sat with us. We had an impromptu jam session there in the park. One guy singing sweet tunes (amazing voice), the other playing the drum and singing harmonies, and me on the guitar. I was in heaven!
Baltizar and Nahuel play in a band. Nahuel was very interested in our project and wanted to collaborate with us in delivering music to the children. I have met up with him since and we have thrown around a few ideas for our music program. He is also keen to help us in setting up a small vegi garden at the venue.
The next Sunday I went by myself because Valeria had other things on. I chose a better location with more foot traffic and sold 8 alfahores, yesssss! I also met a few more interesting people. One girl crouched down in front of me and started to sing along (she also had a great voice). Her boyfriend started to play on a harmonica and afterwards he pulled out a wooden recorder. Another impromptu jam session followed. I even plucked up the courage and had a little sing a too. This freedom and confidence to express is contagious.
Her name is Vavy and his is Leon. They both play music and create art. Vavy is also a photographer. Once again they both showed interest is collaborating with us I our project. I haven’t met up with them yet but will definitely do so soon.
The beautiful thing that I am encountering in this country is people’s openness. Many people that I have met here in this park and around Buenos Aires are not shy and are not afraid to express themselves in which ever way they feel comfortable. People sing out loud, play instruments, perform and dance in public areas for all the world to see and hear. They have a sense of pride in their actions and at the same time are not preoccupied with what anyone else around might think of them.
I am basing this on only a couple of months in this city and a few weeks spent in a park watching and interacting with people, so I wouldn’t say that this is a thorough investigation! What I can say is, I love it! If this park is a representation of the Argentinian people then what a thriving cultural hub of artistic and creative people I have found myself in. We need to get out there and grab some more of this creative energy and direct is towards the kids of Monte Chingolo!
More to come….