segunda-feira, 13 de abril de 2009

Peru: The Grupo Néctar Tragedy

Peru: The Grupo Néctar Tragedy

Translator's Note: On May 13, Peruvians awoke to the news that thirteen members of a popular musical group, Grupo Néctar, comprised mainly of Peruvian immigrants in Argentina who had succeeded in building a strong following both in Argentina and Peru, had been killed in a horrific automobile accident in Buenos Aires. In this article, Juan Arellano discusses this tragedy, and more importantly what this group's popularity has to say about changes in contemporary Peruvian society, as people from Lima's more working-class neighborhoods and Peru's provinces, and their musical and entertainment tastes, transforms the state of popular Peruvian culture. End of Translator's Note.

I don't think I'd be mistaken if I say that Sunday, Mother's Day in Peru, was celebrated with the music of Grupo Néctar. Many radio stations played their songs, and I bet at many of the private celebrations throughout the country, their music was played. The reason? The news of the tragic death of the entire group in Buenos Aires. It would have been sad news if just one of the members of this Peruvian musical group had died, but the tragedy in this case is that the entire group was killed, except two members who happened to have been in Lima at the time.

Grupo Néctar was formed in 1995 by singer Johnny Orozco in Argentina, where he was living and working. Ten years later, the group's career also ended in that same country. There are rumors the automobile accident which provoked this tragedy might have been intentionally caused by the mafias who control the musical circles in the Argentine capital, but to date nothing has been confirmed.

Today, I was in different parts of Lima, where radio stations continue to pay homage to this group by playing their songs. The evening news reported that other Peruvian musicians of the same genre were in the process of writing a song in memory of the group. Bloggers have also had a massive reaction to the news of these sad events. At Diario de IQT (ES), Paco Bardales writing from the steamy Amazonian city of Iquitos, explains what Grupo Néctar signified in recent Peruvian musical terms:

un terrible accidente de tránsito ocurrido en Buenos Aires se ha llevado a mejor vida al grupo Néctar, uno de los más importantes referentes de la música popular peruana … los liderados por Johny Orozco (qepd) han sido parte del soundtrack de ese vertiginoso panorama social que nos tocó en el quinquenio final del siglo XX. Claro, aquel que nos legó a Fujimori, Laura Bozzo, Susy Díaz, los cómicos ambulantes, Montesinos, los diarios comprados por la mafia, la movida de Janet Barboza, las marchas estudiantiles contra la dictadura, el calor tropical de Ruth Karina, … Néctar es parte de esa gloria chicha que encumbró a agrupaciones que antes no habían tenido el favor de los medios de comunicación (más preocupados en mirar para afuera que desde adentro) … la “cultura combi” no solo fue un intento de barbarización y enajenación colectiva, sino también (sospecho que sin querer) un primer vehículo de reivindicación de las periferias y las provincias, una auténtica revolución pacífica, sabrosa y tumultuosa que bajaba desde los cerros y, al fin, pudo convertir en realidad el sueño de Chacalón y Los Shapis de trascender las carreteras y polladas y ganar un espacio en la actualidad oficial.

A terrible traffic accident which occurred in Buenos Aires has taken the lives of the members of Grupo Néctar, one of the most important popular Peruvian bands… Led by Johnny Orozco (RIP), this group formed part of the soundtrack, the social panorama, that Peru has experienced in the last quarter of the 20th century. Of course, that same panorama gave us [former president] Fujimori, [talk show hostess] Laura Bozzo, [entertainer and Congresswoman] Susy Díaz, street comics, [former head of Peruvian intelligence] Montesinos, newspapers managed by mafias, [television personality] Janet Barboza, student marches against the dicatorship, the tropical heat of [Amazonian singer] Ruth Karina, …Néctar is part of that glorious popular culture known [in Peru] as chicha, made up of groups that in the past never had the support of the [established] media (which was more interested in looking at what came into Peru from abroad, and not what came from within) …this cultura combi [referring to the combis or small buses that ply the streets of Lima, usually packed to the gills with mostly working-class Peruvians] was not only an attempt at the collective barbarization and alienation [of Peruvian society, since it was originally a type of social manipulation by Montesinos and the Peruvian secret intelligence services], but also (and I suspect, this was an unintended consequence) the first glimmer of revindication [by the people who live in Lima's] peripheral neighborhoods and [Peru's] provinces. It was a truly peaceful, rhythmic and tumultuous revolution, one that emerged from the [working-class] hillsides to finally convert in reality [performer] Chacalón and Los Shapis' dream of crossing barriers and attaining a space within the official reality [of Peru].

Grupo Néctar had humble origins, like the majority of Peruvian groups playing cumbia, technocumbia, chicha, or whatever you want to call it, whose origins are in the provinces or the peripheries of Lima. Its success was due to its talent and hard work. As they say, they made it. In ¡¡Y no paran de soñar!! (ES), blogger Bruno Ortiz tells us his version of those years:

En la capital se rompió (por segunda vez, por lo menos que yo recuerde) la barrera que permitió el ingreso de música popular de provincia (la sierra y la selva) y que hasta antes de ese momento era considerada por muchos (aunque ahora lo puedan negar) “para cholos”. … La tecnocumbia y las toadas se bailaban en todas las fiestas de todo el país. Y, por supuesto, en las fiestas de la universidad. Todos se sabían las letras de las canciones de moda. Incluso muchas de las escenas que nos llaman la atención y nos causan gracia de aquellos reportajes sobre las fiestas chicha, en donde los asistentes cantan a voz en cuello, con la cara compungida, con lágrimas en los ojos y con la cerveza en la mano, se podían repetir hasta en las fiestas más exclusivas de la capital… y siempre con la misma música de fondo. Yo creo que por eso, esta tragedia le ha movido el piso un poco a todos. Todos nos sabíamos esa canción o por lo menos la habíamos escuchado más de una vez. Creo que por eso hay tanta información sobre el tema disponible en la red y que por eso casi todos los medios de comunicación le han dedicado espacios tan grandes al tema (para El Comercio fue su nota principal de portada.. ¿increíble, no?).

In Lima, the capital … a barrier was broken down [which finally] allowed the entry of popular music from the Andean and Amazonian provinces, which until that time had been considered by many (even though they may deny it) [as music just] for cholos, [as non-white Peruvians are pejoratively called]. …Technocumbia and the [tropical rhythm] toadas were danced at gatherings across the country. And, of course at University parties. Everyone knew the lyrics of the most popular songs. When we watched those [television] reports about chicha music, there were certain scenes that caught our attention and amused us, such as when the [performers] sang with their hearts on their sleeves, with their sorrowful faces, with tears in their eyes, and a beer in their hand, [scenes] which were recreated even in [Lima's] most exclusive parties while the same music played in the background. I think, that is the reason this tragedy has moved everyone [so much]. We all knew [Grupo Néctar's most famous] song or had heard it at least more than once. I think that's why there is so much information about this event online and why almost all the media outlets have dedicated so much space to the subject. At [the main Lima daily] El Comercio, it was the front page headline. Quite incredible, right?

Although, as some say it was incredible El Comercio [mentioned this tragedy] in [its main] headline, [the newspaper] did not refer to them as Grupo Néctar, but as “thirteen Peruvians who died in Buenos Aires”. For those who don't know the song referred to in the previous post, it is called El Arbolito, The Little Tree. This is Grupo Néctar's most well-known song, and the video is linked in many of the posts mentioned. The author of Luna Antagónica (ES), tells us her personal feelings about the group:

De Lima a Carabayllo, de combi en combi, de fiesta patronal a fiesta patronal, en la alegría comunal, en las salidas de campo, bailar con la gente, coreando sus canciones, viéndolos en vivo. En toda fiesta, Néctar y su cumbia deliciosa, se han ido… dan ganas de llorar..

From Lima to Carabayllo, from one combi to another combi, from one village festival to another, in our communal joy, in trips to the country, dancing with the people, singing along to the songs, seeing them live. At every party, Grupo Néctar and its captivating cumbia is gone… it makes me want to cry.

Despite the pain and sadness, in Un sitio muy personal (ES), blogger Jorge reminds us that these sorts of situations can be overcome and serve to not let us be defeated:

A veces está cantada y sólo se la espera q llegue, a veces es “suave”, a veces es despiadada, y a veces llega de golpe, como una maldita entrometida. Sin embargo cada promesa que se lleva la muerte se convierte, como una venganza de los q quedan, en parte de la leyenda que nos da fuerza para seguir adelante.

Sometimes it is [announced] and we wait for it to arrive; sometimes it is soft; sometimes it is pitiless; and, sometimes it arrives suddenly, like a damned meddler. Nonetheless, every promise death takes can be turned into [an opportunity for triumph] for those who remain, and that gives us strength to move forward.

There are many blogs that have posted about this event. Here is a list of the ones I have been able to see, and I hope I haven't missed many:

Diario de IQT: Tragedy: Grupo Néctar killed in a traffic accident in Argentina and Néctar, in Heaven (with Sarita Farfán)
Peruanista: Videos of the tragedy of Grupo Néctar and a brief history of the Peruvian cumbia
Blog de Notas: Music: Why is Grupo Néctar remembered so much?
¡¡Y no paran de sonar!!: Why is Grupo Néctar remembered so much?
Pueblo Vruto: The Little Tree
Utilisimos: A little tree has wilted
El blog del morsa: tragedy: grupo néctar has died
mundo chanfainita: Goodbye Grupo Néctar
Un sitio muy personal: Grupo Néctar, from Argentina to Heaven
Luna Antagónica: Néctar makes us want to cry…
De todo un poco: [Video] First images of the accident in which the members of the Peruvian group Grupo Néctar were killed
MEDIA PERU: The tragic disappearance of Grupo Néctar
Todo musica: [Video] Accident of the musical group Grupo Néctar
El Golpedegato: Peru: Tragedy of Grupo Nectar in Google News
RCPAL Takillakta: Video, Musical group Grupo Néctar killed in accident in Argentina
DttodoMúsica: [Video] Members of musical group Grupo Néctar killed
Radio Alfil: Grupo NÉCTAR, the tragedy, Causes of the tragic accident on Highway 25 de Mayo under investigation, and Néctar, a cycle ends
El útero de marita: La cholósfera se despide del Grupo Néctar
Océano de Mercurio: “Néctar” y mi canción de combi favorita
Farandula Tv.: Mueren integrantes del grupo “Nectar”
Sonidazo: Vídeo Grupo Néctar - El arbolito
Angelux: Adios al Grupo Nectar - Descansen en Paz
El Blog de Veperu: Grupo Nectar…
Blog de FiZeR: Tragedia con el Grupo Nectar

And some more links:

What Lima's El Comercio says about Grupo Néctar.
RPP radio special on Grupo Néctar.
The latest on Grupo Néctar at Google News.
Videos of Grupo Néctar on You Tube.
Peruvian Cumbia Forums, with testimonies and messages of condolences about Grupo Néctar.

I can't think of anything else to say. I imagine Grupo Néctar would like people to continue to listen to their music, so go ahead and do so.

Translated by Alejandro García.

2 comentários:

  1. Hey Gracias por el enlace! Obrigado!

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  2. Yo agradezco a usted por estas valiosas informaciones sobre el Grupo Néctar.
    Y quedo a su disposición para lo que usted gustaria enriquecer con sus aportes de este acervo musical de la Cumbia Peruana.

    Atentamente,
    Lucimary Vargas
    Dirección General
    Radio Latina FM

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