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Friday, March 11, 2005

Eduardo Mateo: pending debt (deuda pendiente)

about a year and a half ago maybe two now i went in to the kultura's bookstore on connecticutt avenue here in washington dc... why? they've usually got two boxes full of records.. now, they are usually the same records.. overpriced and overscratched...and they will be there next year too!.. who's going to buy them? but on this day i found an interesting record which read on the cover "mateo solo bien se lame" and had been pressed in argentina (i don't know this for a fact but i believe kultura's is run by argentines or uruguayans.. the books i sometimes find.. the used CDs from argentine artists, the high prices all lead me to this conclusion)...i picked it up and tried to remember "mateo mateo mateo".. well i could not remember much.. i think all i remembered was he was supposed to have been somebody interesting....bought the record for the best $8 i ever spent and came home.. put it on the turntable and got blown a-WAY....ah the joy of discovery...i felt like christopher columbus when he discovered something.. thought it was india.. but really did not know...what i heard instantly reminded me - and i'm not saying it to join the nick drake bandwagon (latest evidence see "garden state" movie)... i've loved nick drake's music for about ten years now- anyhow.. what i heard reminded me in some ways of nick drake.. the fragility of the vocal delivery. the plaintive lyrics...the to my ears unheard of guitar chords/tunings/style... but all combining together to produce the real mcoy - the package deal- the whole enchilada of life affirming art....and most importantly in an inclusive need to listen to it 80 times or read 80 highfaluttin critics telling you its good.. you get it sum, a record that instantly became one of my spanish of course.. and seemingly a product of the river plate (after all the record was pressed in argentina)

and then the questions began.. the recriminations flew... wait a minute.. what's going on here? how come i don't even know who this genius is? is he from argentina? is he from mars? where is this guy? why have i not heard of this guy? i spent 18 months in argentina recently.. how come i never came across anything by him on my countless trips to the parque rivadavia to joyously shop for the wax that keeps me breathing and moving? no.. i just could not believe i had never heard of this guy.. i was delighted to discover something so fresh so good so new from what i proudly determined must be my family's original country...

drum the internet spock....first stop the trusty all music guide ...nothing!...i went in to cds must be everywhere i said .... nothing zilcho nil nada.... google me up scotty.... a few very brief mentions on a page here or there..the internet letting me down? i don't believe it!.. i pressed on.. and what i found out was that the man - whose first name i learned was EDUARDO- was and is largely unknown- he is from uruguay and some people credit him with being the father of modern uruguayan music (yes, that music for which drexler won his oscar last week).... i learned he was born in 1940 and played in some early uruguayan rock bands in the 60s..then apparently travelled to brazil.. was influenced by some samba ..came back to uruguay where he fused some brazilian influence with the uruguayan national music candombe to create his hybrid and this is his , i understand, contribution.... eventually makes it across the river to argentina to record the lp Mateo Solo Bien Se Lame which means "mateo solo" "bien se lame".. in other words its just mateo performing everything.. "bien se lame" means to my understanding "good we lick"... i'm just not sure if its a play on words which should be read as "solo bien se lame" in which case its "alone well i lick"... don't shoot me i'm just trying to make sense of this.. anyways apparently he never sold many records and lived most of his life in absolute poverty..recorded very sporadically and died in 1990 without much recognition..and oh... apparently he was somewhat loony tunes.. but then again you have to be...

subsequently his music has been rereleased in some uruguayan compilations which i don't know where one would find.. even argentina's equivalent of say tower records at musimundo has no mention of any of his recordings.. perhaps the compilations released in the 90s sold out or perhaps they are still available in uruguay..all i have is this record...i never see anything by him come up on ebay though i check frequently..

i 'm going to try and gather some information on this man and post it..and soon i hope to add "solo bien se lame" to my audioblog (got to figure out how to convert records to easy task)

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