Saturday, 31 January 2015

Lost In Translation

I am rather ashamed to say that, after two years living in Spain, my grasp of the language is progressing at a glacial pace. However, it seems that I’m not alone amongst expats and periodically this can lead to some interesting misunderstanding. Every couple of months I put together a new 2 hour mix featuring my recent favourite tracks.

Towards the end of last year one of my friends told me how much they loved the VIP song on one of my mixes. I wasn’t quite sure what she was talking about but thanked her and thought nothing more until another friend told me about how she and her daughter loved dancing round the kitchen dancing to the “VIP” song. Obviously something was resonating with people and so I began researching which of my nearly 50 mixes they were talking about. In the end I discovered that the track in question was a jolly Brazilian number called, “Take Me Back to (no not the VIP but) Paiui” by Juco Chaves. When I bought the track I had no idea where Paiui was (it’s north eastern Brazil) but from the enthusiasm of the singers it sounds as though it’s worth visiting and is much more exciting than any VIP area I have been in. However, it appears that some of my friends have a much more positive experience of VIP areas which is why they are so enthusiastic to return to those privileged places.

Although my understanding of Spanish is less than basic I love the sound of it and while I might regard French as sounding sweetly sexy, to my ignorant ears, the sound of some female Spanish singers is positively erotic. In fact amongst my enthusiastic collecting of various Latin music I have a particular penchant for that which feature the husky whispering of erotic sounding Spanish women.

So it was that one day last year I found myself playing to a full beach restaurant including many Spanish families. I had been proudly playing an assortment of Latin flavoured vibes for the past half hour when I decided I would drop a gentle deep house track with an almost whispered female vocal. But of course, while it might have been whispered in the mix, played through the clarity of a Funktion One sound system all was perfectly clear to hear. The track hadn’t been playing long before I was jolted by the site of a women, seated with her young children on the other side of the restaurant, who shot me a sudden and staggering glance of outrage. She said nothing but I knew immediately she was in effect saying, “What the fuck do you think you are doing playing that with young children present.” I didn’t stop to query but rapidly brought down the fader to replace it with another more neutral track. It was only in retrospect that it occurred to me that the reason the voice sounded so enticing and erotic was because it was sampled from a Spanish language porno film. I have still have no idea exactly what she was saying but now, listening to it again, its intent is as clear to me as the young mothers withering glance.

Then, a couple of weeks back, I came across a Tango style song. The vocals were male and there was something lascivious and cheeky about his voice. I loved it immediately but based on my previous experience was determined to be a bit more circumspect before playing it in public. So, before playing it at a gig I approached one of the waitresses and asked her to listen out to the lyrics and tell me if it said anything inappropriate and if so to please let me know immediately so that I could mix to something else. When I put it on she was on the other side of the restaurant and turned to smile to me waving positively as it progressed. After it finished she came over to tell me that the words were saying something like, “They say I have a big nose but I am enjoying my life.” She then added, “I think they are talking about cocaine but it is never mentioned.” Phew, got away with that one then.

If you would like to hear the rest of the mix featuring Take Me Back to Paiui here’s a link:

Warm Winter Beaches

Alternatively here is my latest mix:

Gratitude for Sunshine