The music of Argentina

Argentine tango

Viva the duo flew to Chili over the snow capped Andes, from there they began their South American tour with a connecting flight to Buenos Aires. Tango is the music associated with Argentina, we were fortunate to experience some of the best music in Argentina with a group of musician's called Sextet Mayor a youtube link is  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-buEWqL3vs  We also enjoyed the tango’s performed by street musicians  

View a Video of some music we heard in Buenos Aires at Youtube link

IGUAZU FALLS

Iguazu falls

View a video of Iguazu falls at YouTube linkI

Viva the duo, went to Iguazu Falls on the way to Brazil, we spent a couple of days taking in the glorious sights. The pictures speak for themselves

The Music of Brazil

the reedemer

The next stop of the Viva tour is Rio De Janeiro. We went to Brazil at the recommendation of a good friend of ours, Don Burrows. There was a tribute to Don Burrows made on stage by Mike James at Triboz

Samba is the music associated with Brazil, we were fortunate to experience some of the best music in Brazil at Triboz. We also went to the central music district at Lapo and savoured some traditional Samba music, there was also some samba music at Ipanema

Rio De Janeiro is a beautiful City, easily traversed with a good transport system with took in the sights from Sugarloaf Mountain at sunset and the Redeemer

View a video of sights and sounds of Brazil at you tube link

SIBONEY CUBA

cuban revolution

Viva the duo, went to Siboney to research where the Cuban revolution began on the 26thJuly 1953 with Fidel Castro, Raul Castro and Abel Santamaria. Fidel gathered a small band of soldiers at a small farmhouse called Granita Siboney the night before their attack on Moncado Barracks in Santiago about 14km away. They stored their weapons in a well covered with a flower pot. Fidel tried to take advantage of the Santiago Festival on the 26th July, however their efforts were thwarted and many of the soldiers were killed. Fidel was captured and later released. He went to Mexico where he met Che Guevara. They returned to Havana Cuba and eventually overturned the government led by Baptiste in 1959. Che was given some great responsibilities rebuilding the social structure of Cuba.

Siboney beach was the site of the landing of American troops in 1898 when they helped the Cuban people overturn Spanish Rule and gain independence

The Guitar player from Buena Vista Social Club Band was Compay Segundo, he had a house in Siboney

View a video of Siboney on youtube at Link to where Fidel Castro started the revolution

The Music of Cuba

Santiago

Festival at Santiago

Santiago is the hub of Traditional Cuban music and Cuban Salsa, Located South East of Havana. Viva the duo, stayed in Santiago for a week taking in their famous festival and amazing music

At the Melia Hotel where they stayed there were at least 50 musicians employed at different times. The Cuban Government provides music and university education free for it's people, there are at least 50 music conservatoriums in Cuba, all the musicians we witnessed were excellent at their craft.

HAVANA Cuba

Havana Hotel

Viva the duo, moved from Santiago to Havana. The hotel they stayed in was amazing, with it’s 50’s charm it felt like Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall would walk in at any minute

View a video of Santiago festival and sights of Havana at Link to sights and sounds of Cuba

The music of New Orleans

paddle steamer

Viva the duo, travelled to New Orleans for the Satchmo (Louis Armstrong) Festival.

We were surprised to see the dominant music of New Orleans was rock music, particularly on Bourbon Street, There we about 50 Rock bands in different clubs in a strip of about 400metres, all playing at tremendous volumes. People were allowed in the public street to consume alcohol stumbling from bar to bar with drinks in hand. There were also highly visible semi nude male and female prostitutes roaming the streets

It seems the white musicians were in the clubs at night and the black musicians were performing in the streets in the daytime. It appeared obligatory to tip the musicians if you wanted to take a photo.

A drummer from a Zydeco band got very hostile with us if I attempted to take a video of their band performance

We went on a paddle steamer Natchez and had a tour of the industrial sites along the Mississippi River bank, we also went on a swamp tour where the fan boat operators were swimming with Alligators. They were of the opinion that alligators were far more fiercer than our crocodiles

All in All our experience of new Orleans was negative and we have advised our travel agents of this

View a Video of Music in New Orleans at you tube link

TIPS FOR TOURIST TO SOUTH AMERICA

 

The Pros and Cons of Argentina

The Argentine people are very patriotic and gentle, the people respect their leaders Their wages are lower than Australia however their goods and services are cheaper Argentina is safe for tourists and entertainment is excellent with emphasis on tango music and Astor Piazzolla music

The populace is very nervous about their economy and currency prospects There is a flourishing black market activity in the exchange of foreign currencies. The people like to hoard foreign currency as a hedge against the likely collapse of their peso. The government imposes a levy on the exchange of foreign currency at banks and businesses and (unofficially) restrict their people in the trading in currency

A tourist can expect an exchange rate of $8 pesos to 1 $ USD at banks, money changers and businesses. The going rate in the black market is $12 pesos to 1 $ USD. Tourists should be wary of counterfeit currency in any financial transaction on the street. Only pay in small denominations in taxi’s, It’s common practice for taxi drivers to hand back a $100 Peso note with the remark "“ don’t have change". You may have given him the legal currency which he immediately secretly exchanges for a counterfeit note and hands it back to you

The Pros and Cons of Brazil

The Brazilian people are courteous and friendly to tourists It’s easy to get around Buenos Aires with an excellent public transport system. The sights around the city and environs is stunning, particularly at Sugarloaf Mountain and The Redeemer.  Entertainment is very good with traditional Samba at the Lapa district, Ipanema and Copacabana. There are a few good venues for Jazz music, one notable Australian Jazz venue in Rio De Janeiro is called Triboz

 The Brazilian people are very independent and generally business orientated they enjoy a similar wage as Australians, however, their goods and services are dearer

They perceive their politicians appear very corrupt and wasteful with their taxes they collect. They don’t like their politicians and avoid paying taxes where possible by dealing in paperless transactions and cash monies. To overcome this, the government imposes taxes on goods and services between 18% for rice and 56% for a can of beer or White goods. The tax is called ICMS — Impostos Sobre Circulação de Mercadorias e Prestação de Serviços

The Pros and Cons of Cuba

The people of Cuba are very friendly and courteous to tourists, particularly Australians. They have a hard life primarily because of the American Embargo. We perceived they were a bit unhappy with the slow progress of improved living conditions as promised by the Castro Government over 50 years ago, although Fidel Castro has done a lot for children, education and women. Citizens of Cuba are provided free housing, free education and free medical, they are also provided with meager food rations and pensions. The downside to their economy is that wages for a skilled worker is less than $1US per day and they work at least 12 hours per day, consumer products are scarce and expensive, there are no supermarkets such as ours in Cuba.

Public transport is generally provided with old trucks, pre 1958 American cars, Russian motor bikes and horses and carts. They have a two tiered currency The CUC which is equivalent to $1US and their own Cuban Peso which is worth about 4 cents. Most citizens purchase their food with their Cuban Peso as it is rare for them to be able to afford basic food requirements using CUC. If tourists tips a musician or a waiter 1 CUC it is equivalent to a day’s wages, so they go out of their way to look after tourists

We are noticing a change in Cuba, there is a accelerating degree of restlessness created by the introduction of the Internet. With the slow change to the economy, private enterprise is being slowly introduced eg. a taxi driver can purchase a taxi on a credit scheme and share the profit from that enterprise with the government, however this creates an opportunity for black market transactions. The driver purchases fuel on the black market so the full disclosure of profit is diluted. 

The standard of entertainment in Cuba is exceptionally high, most musicians are classically trained at any one of their 50+ free conservatoriums. Their music is Classical, traditional Cuban folk and Cuban Salsa.

VIVA VIDEOS

a band on youtube videos provides an opportunity to listen to music performed by the Viva bands on the soundtracks - at these links:

live performance of Edith Piaf song by Corinne Andrew and Viva at the Factory Theatre at Padam Padam

Sydney band Viva with Corinne Andrew performing Libertango live at radio 2rrr Gladesville in August 2011 at this live at radio 2rrr

French Singer Corinne Andrew on a boat cruise and with Viva at the Factory theatre at" Corinne with Viva

Duo playing French music at an event for North Sydney Council Ride to Work day

Samples of Viva the duo CD "The Journey" Samples of Viva the duo CD "The Journey" with some French music

Viva in Paris French music in Paris

Scenes of Japan Scenes of Japan

An interesting Video of Vietnam where the Viva band performed 400 concerts for US troops in 1969 -1970 at Scenes of Vietnam on youtube