The Week Chuchumbe Came to Town
We went to see Chuchumbe.
Chuchumbe means bellybutton to bellybutton.
It is a word from Senegal.
Chuchumbe is from Veracruz.
They play music in the son jarocho style.
They make their own instruments.
The audience goes away smiling.
After the concert I wanted to buy a CD.
So,I asked one of the musicians.
He said to come to their motel the next night.
They had left the CDs there.
So I went to the motel.
The desk clerk called their room.
He sent me to to room 108.
They opened the door.
We exchanged greetings.
I bought 2 CDs.
Then there was a knock on the door.
One of the band members was bringing in a case of beer.
More introductions and an offer to stay and enjoy a beer.
So I stayed.
We drank a few beers.
We watched a Lakers game.
We talked about music.
We talked about our culturas.
We talked in Spanish.
We talked in English.
We talked in Spanglish.
We talked in solidarity.
They invited me to go to a party the next night.
They had been invited.
So they invited me.
That is the Mexican way.
They party was at Santa and Jorge's house.
They are from Veracruz also.
I picked up several of the band members at the motel.
They needed a ride.
I was playing the soundtrack from Vengo on my car stereo.
I loaned it to Andres who later returned it.
He really liked "Nací en el álamo".
It is sung by Remedios Silva Pisa.
She sings in the style of a gypsy from Central Europe.
She sings in Spanish.
But, anyway we get to Santa and Jorge's house.
Everbody is there.
The band members. Except for the Colombiano.
We ate well.
Platanos y frijoles.
We ate in the kitchen.
We ate at the big table.
We had big conversations.
We had little conversations.
Then we went to the living room.
Lots of music.
The band had brought their instruments.
They were skilled at making up lyrics.
Cameras were passed around the room.
Pictures of everyone from every angle.
It turned out that Santa had a cousin who was married to a cousin of one of the band members.
So they were cousins.
It turned out Iguana was descended from a family of conversos.
And my greatgrandfather was the last of a line of rabbis.
So we are cousins.
When the party was over,
everyone left with a full belly
and a happy heart.
Maybe if we could hold a big party we could find out how we are all cousins.
We need more parties.