Argentine Talents: Eduardo Falú

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Eduardo Falú was one of the most important folklore artists of the country. The guitarist, composer and singer, was known for his warm voice and for combining the traditional sounds of the northwestern region of the country, which is where he was from, and classical aspects of music, which he dedicated his life to studying.

 In the sixties and seventies he became one of the voices of the “nueva canción” in which folkloric elements combined with social protest, although he was less political than other renowned voices of this movement. He also composed music for words by the likes of Borges and Sábato.

Born in Salta, the influence of the region’s indigenous music marked him and he began to learn guitar on his own, at a local barbershop (it is rumored). The renowned artist passed away this past 9th of August at the age of ninety and the traditional sounds of his home and his soulful talent are ever present in his music, a rich addition to Argentine culture.

Top Destinations in Argentina (outside of BA)

(Photo by teipsum)

Summer is the time when locals take vacation and in Argentina there are many locations that are well worth visiting during the year’s warmer months. Of course, the most popular destinations are the beaches, both in Argentina and in Uruguay.  The Atlantic coast is a favorite of many and some of the hottest places to visit include Pinamar, Villa Gesel, Mar del Plata, Necochea and Punta del Este in Uruguay (find a full list of recommended beaches here).

Further South, in the Chubut province is Puerto Madryn a beautiful spot that is popular for scuba diving and for whale watching between the months of July to December.

(Photo by Perfídia)

The rest of the Patagonian region is also very popular due to its stunning lakes, forests and mountains. Recommended places in this region include Calafate in Santa Cruz, where the famous Perito Moreno glacier is located; El Chalten, which is the Argentine trekking capital; Bariloche; the beautiful Villa La Angostura, and many other towns and hidden spots, surrounded by vibrant buzzing nature.   The climate in the South is dry and it is an area known for its cuisine based on lamb,  trout,  smoked meats, berries and chocolate.

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Bordering the Andes, a little further up north is the Argentine wine region in the provinces of Mendoza, La Rioja, San Juan,and Salta. This area’s sceneries are also stunning and there are several wine routes in which visitors can stop by different wineries and try everything wine related. The fiesta de la vendimia  (harvest festival) will take place in March this year and from the 26th of February to the 5th of March there is a fun-packed event being prepared by La Morada de los Andes.  (http://www.lamoradadelosandes.com)

(Photo by David Alberts)

As previously mentioned Salta is part of the country’s most prolific wine region and it is also the home to a large indigenous community and unique landscapes. This makes it a very popular destination along with its northern neighbor Jujuy, despite the scorching heat. In this region referred to as el Norte (the north), some of the top attractions are the Cerro de los Siete Colores in Purmamarca and the famous Quebrada de Humahuaca in Jujuy, amongst many others.  Along with Gualeguaychu, in the province of Entre Rios, this is also one of the areas that make big celebrations for Carnival.

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Another very popular tourist destination is Córdoba, which is a province in the center of the country with access to hills, rivers, streams and small cascades.  Some popular places are Villa Carlos Paz, La Cumbre, Capilla del Monte (reputed to be a place with unique energy and alien sightings!), the German village Villa General Belgrano and other tranquil towns (including San Pedro, a hippie commune and Cumbrecita an eco town). This region is also known for its typical alfajores.

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Finally, Argentina’s most popular tourist destination is the Iguazu Falls in Misiones. The sweltering heat dissuades many but still the stunning beauty of these well-known waterfalls attracts many a visitor. The province is also known for its unique vegetation and red earth, and for a stunning location called Saltos de Moconá, which is a long line of 10m high waterfalls that can be seen when the river tide is low.

Argentine Pre Hispanic and Colonial Art

(Photo by Historias de Cronopios)

Argentina is well known for its strong artistic identity and its history, as far back as prehistoric times, is reflected in its art.

The oldest registers of art in Argentina are the many cave paintings that remain throughout the country in the provinces of Salta, San Luis, Tucumán, Jujuy, La Rioja, San Juan, La Pampa, Cordoba, Rio Negro, Chubut and Santa Cruz. The most famous of these is the Paleolithic Cueva de las Manos (Hands Cave),which is in the Santa Cruz province and has been declared a World Heritage Site.

Later art work by indigenous groups also spanned across the country but mostly flourished in the Northern region, which was the most developed prior to the arrival of the Spaniards.  The materials used in the North, mostly in Salta and Catamarca, were ceramic, metal and textiles on which geometric figures, and both realistic and fantastic representations of humans and animals were engraved. Many of these relics can be seen at the stunning Archeology Museum in La Plata.

With the colonization of America, European style art was introduced. During the early settlements the artwork was mostly religious, with the intention of Christianizing the local indigenous people.

Jesuit painters worked in the Rio de la Plata city (known today as Buenos Aires), Tucuman and Paraguay, and not only incorporated religious paintings and sculptures, but gave the locals artistic education. German Jesuit Florian Pauke’s watercolors of the Argentine colonial period remain as a testimony of the time.

A few years later there was a great influx of foreign artists amongst which Emeric H Vidal, Carlos Pellegrini and Cesar Hipolito Bacle’s work stand out. These artists paved the way for the nineteenth century artists that would define the new Argentine art.

The Museo Hispanoamericano Isaak Fernandez Blanco has an interesting collection of art from the colonial period. Suipacha 1442, Downtown. 4327 0228.

Carnival Festivities in Argentina

(Photo by Paula Silva)

Brazil is the first destination that comes to mind when Carnival season arrives, however colorful festivities take place in most South American countries. Since carnival weekend is coming up we share with you some of the most effervescent alternatives in Argentina.

Gualeguaychu, Entre Rios: The Gualeguaychu Carnaval festival, in the province of Entre Rios to the North of Buenos Aires, is the most popular in Argentina. It is similar to the Brazilian Carnival and also includes a spectacular parade with choreographies, and fancy costumes.

Corrientes:  In the Corrientes province, which limits both with Entre Rios and Brazil, the carnival is also celebrated with big productions and a lot of street dancing. Some of the best places to go for the Corrientes festivities are Paso de los Libres (where there is a bridge connecting to Brazil), Goya, Santo Tomé, Esquina, Monte Caseros, Curuzú Cuatiá and Empedrado.

Salta: The Salta carnival is a showy display of dancing and feathers but also of  indigenous traditions related to harvest rituals. Water is one of the protagonists of the Salta festivities as it represents purification. It is not uncommon to end up soaking wet from unexpected water filled balloons and buckets. In the Calchaquí Valley, after the water games and street festivities, “carnavaleros” gather in someone’s house to have abundant lunches. In the evening dancing takes place at parties where flour and confetti is thrown. Finally, the carnival is buried on a Sunday. A hole is dug in the ground and the pullcay, a doll that symbolizes carnival, is buried whilst people sing, dance and cry.

Jujuy: The Jujuy and the Bolivian carnival have a lot in common. In the Quebrada de Humahuaca there is a predominant representation of demons that animate the festival. Costumes including masks with horns are accessorized with necklaces made of fruits, onions,  and goat cheese, amongst other edibles. These demons also carry traditional instruments and go around the city enticing the public to dance and participate. Finally the carnaval is buried in the afternoon on the outskirts of the village. Since they only like participation from those who are culturally linked with the celebration it is difficult to learn where the burial will occur. At the burial they dance and reverence the symbolic devil, surrounded by offerings of fruits, coca leaves, and chicha. Once the burial is finished those dressed up as demons quickly change back into their clothes.

In other Argentine provinces there are also Carnival festivities, but not to the same degree of those previously mentioned. In Buenos Aires it is common to run into murgas, learn more about them here.

Wine Regions of Argentina: Salta

(Photo by Tanenhaus)

Although Salta is most commonly known for its impressive landscapes and colorful indigenas, wine making in the region (as in most of Argentina) dates back to the sixteenth century, ever since Spanish Colonials inhabited the area.  Despite producing a smaller percentage of the country’s wine than other provinces such as Mendoza and San Juan, the viticulture activity of the area has increased in the last years, producing top wines that have acquired great acceptance in the local and international markets.

The two main areas of viticulture in Salta are Cafayate and further to the north Colomé, both in the stunning Calchaquí Valleys. The dry warm weather,  the irrigation from the valleys melt water  and nearby rivers and the arid rocky soil are favorable for the cultivation of fine grapes. Additionally, the vineyards are at very high altitudes (they are amongst the highest vineyards in the world) and have  a lot of exposure to sun, which increases the amount of polyphenols (antioxidants) in the grapes. (The large amount of beneficial antioxidants is generally recognized in all Argentine wine.)

The typical grape of the Salta region is the sweet Riojan Torrontes, for which it is internationally recognized,  and other white grapes that also grow well such as Chardonnay and Chenin. There is also a large production of red grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Syrah and Tannat.

For a special sample of Argentine wines, accompanied by snacks from HG Restaurant, don’t miss our weekly tastings every Thursday starting at 7PM at Fierro Hotel.  Soler 5862, Palermo. 3220 6800. recepcion@fierrohotel.com.