Monday, May 08, 2006

the busy market where the gems aren't for sale

This is archetypal Melbourne weather - 17 degrees with a chill to the wind, overcast but the sun shining directly behind the grey. Your drive leads you inadvertantly to The Vic Market which is always a flurry of activity. Bro is leading you through the crowds at high speed to find the hot jam donuts. He knows of a vendor that stocks the "good stuff". As always you halt proceedings by stopping to look at the animals. Bro is impatient while you stand by the cage and make strange noises at the dwarf bunny rabbits. The black one is huddled against the corner of the cage while the white one hops around and sniffs at a piece of apple. You push your fingers through the wire and gently pat it. Then it pounces upon the apple, nibbling and licking with gusto while watching you. In the corner of the store the Jack Russell puppies are sleepy and sweet looking and along the wall some of the fish have googly eyes. The place is full of children begging parents for pets. You did the same when you were a kid.

The line at the donut van is long. Everyone seems to be stocking up on hot jam donuts today - they are small, sweet and made on premises. They are the Melbourne secret everyone knows about. You and Bro eat one as you stand by the florist and watch the latin street band belt out Bamboleo. This part of Melbourne is so messy and interesting. A man in a suit grabs his son and they dance to the music while everyone else stands around them in a circle laughing and clapping. Both father and son move joyously, laughing at eachother and the crowd.
The cars beep as they go past.
Street vendors shout their specials to passing customers.
The weather may bite but the atmosphere is vibrant and warm.
It's been a good day.

And so I bring you two songs this week, mostly because I couldn't decide and also because they follow the theme of my entry.

First: Alacran Y Pistolero - Tito Larriva
It's just a beautiful song. A traditional sounding piece.

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Second: Right On - Ray Barretto
It's basically a polar opposite to the song before. I found it on a compilation CD The NuYorcian Funk Experience: Salsa Caliente de New York!, which I bought on a whim one day. I mention this because I absolutely recommend this album if you are into latino street funk - which is really an appropriation of many different kinds of music, actually. When you take one culture and drop it into another extraordinary things happen I think. It's I suppose what happens when you put a bunch of latin singers into a busy Melbourne market on a Saturday afternoon. This is funky but with a twist.

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