spreading beauty, chaos, art and ideas into the world

SET 15-17 Esteban – Infancia en un mundo global, ¿o no tanto?

My cousin’s music series on the channel. Thoughts and reflections.

Infancia en un mundo global, ¿o no tanto?

Esta entrada para el blog de Nikolas List la dedico a reflexionar sobre si vivir en una mega-ciudad como el Distrito Federal en México siempre tuvo tintes “globales”, es decir, si por el tamaño y población de esta megalópolis siempre tuve acceso a manifestaciones artísticas de todo el mundo y hasta del espacio exterior, enfocándome en la música que solía escuchar.

When I was a young boy my parents used to send me to summer camp at US. When I went for the first time to a kids camp at Cincinnati, Ohio, everything was new for me, even the things I thought would be much more familiar, like the music. I was wrong if I considered myself and expert of English spoken music. In the early 80’s and late 70’s at the States, Heavy Metal and pop artists were hitting the charts. There I learned about Van Halen, Ozzy Osbourne, Rick Springfield, and many more, unknown by me back then.

Ahora que lo pienso bien, mi desconocimiento por los hits musicales que reinaban en los Estados Unidos, se debió a la gran variedad musical de diversos países que tuve en mi niñez. Los suburbios de Cincinnati eran, definitivamente, más pequeños que la gran Ciudad de México.

Starting with the music: I liked this next song very much, but it makes me remember a childhood story that caused me some frustration. At my bilingual elementary school, teachers transcribed the lyrics from songs in English and the kids should learn them and sing along at the classroom trying to understand what was their meaning.

I proposed my favorite Boney M’s song “Rivers of Babylon”, which I used to listen from at a radio station named “Radio 590 – La Pantera (the panther)”. The song didn’t have the preference of my teacher and didn´t win. Instead we learned The Knack’s “My Sharona”, which was a top hit in the United States.

I was ashamed of two things, I didn’t know the song that won and I made my father buy me Boney M’s record cause I told him it was for a school assignment.

Well, analyzing the song I proposed, I can say now that Boney M is a German-made band, with Caribbean musicians, playing a Jamaican Reggae song and hitting the UK charts. Were we talking global or what?

Rivers of Babylon

Como lo dije, mis padres me enviaban a campamentos de verano en los Estados Unidos, específicamente a Ohio, un lugar donde en los 80 a nadie le gustaba expresarse en español. Me quería considerar un niño que sabía de música en inglés y mi terrible sorpresa fue que no sabía de los cantantes y las bandas que estaban de moda en una región muy al norte.

Mi momento de felicidad fue cuando una de mis canciones favoritas de Blondie (artista que amaba), ¡si estaba sonando en la radio estadounidense! Gracias “The tide is high” por hacerme feliz. Incluso uno de los chicos que más escuchaba música en el campamento me dijo “it’s a good song”, entonces pude celebrar como niño, literalmente.

Además, me encantó su video tan Kitsch y ochentero.

The tide is high

Radio 590 “La Pantera” was indeed my favorite radio station as a boy and the place where I started learning new rock music. They used to program a combination from old and new songs of rock and pop genres. In many ways, it conformed the musical taste of adults from my generation.

The beauty of listening constantly to a particular radio station I resume it in two things: You could win prizes like records and movie tickets and number two, deeply enjoying your favorite songs when played.

This Rocky Burnette’s southern rock and roll song, “Tired of Toeing the Line”, made my feet move and my heart beat, and still does

Tired of toein the line:

Would you believe I lived in a world where John Lennon was still alive? A school teacher gave us the news when he was murdered. I hardly realize what was going on and who was the guy who died in terms of peace activism, but I could feel the musical loss because “Woman” was a song constantly played at Mexican radio stations.

It was good to have Lennon in the artistic scene back then, he helped us to think about machistic behavior with his “eccentric” example, at least to some of his fans.


Tengo la hipótesis que no sólo Julio Iglesias utilizó a México como trampolín para llegar al mercado norteamericano con canciones “soft pop” para todo el mundo. Hay bandas como este dueto australiano (Air Supply), que cuando llegaron a su madurez se dieron cuenta del mercado que tienen en México y de cómo han sido impulsados a través de las fronteras musicales, por los fans más sosos e incondicionales de la galaxia: nosotros los mexicanos.
Estaciones de FM y AM del país los programaron tanto que nos dejaron en nuestros muy románticos corazones grabadas sus melosas y cursis canciones, ideales para el romance.

Esta canción me sabe a “amor desesperanzador”, quizá por inocente e ingenua, como una buena parte de mi niñez.

The one that you love.

Mexican’s hearts debate from being machos and loving as many people as possible. Being good friends if everybody accepts our style. Falling in love but under specific conditions. Most of this feelings are expressed in the traditional pop music we listen (as well as in many other musical styles). To me the top singer from my childhood to my adultness that shows the passion of the Mexican popular music is José José.

He is daily news until now, he has the voice we all try to copy and imitate, he sings the songs we shout at the shower. José José sings songs of despair and hope. His main hits belong to my childhood even though I used to listen them and getting drunk and feeling hopeless in love.

I was looking for my José José’s favorite songs on video but none of them have the punch of this highly recognized participation at the “Festival de la Música Latinomericana”, where he was ovationed to the point where the crowd threw flowers to the stage.

El Triste

What José José did to my generation and many more after and before is unrepeatable. He took the corkiest part of our culture and sang hymns with deep emotion and passion, the grand finale of the Mexican Fiesta.

This was the part of my childhood too and transcended through a life time too.

Here is recent version of one of my top José José songs, in a good video which represents perfectly how we feel when listening to his eclectic romantic songs (the image of the bashed performer). The band DLD makes a tribute to the song “Mi vida”.

Mi vida – DLD