Musical Memory Triggers
June 29, 2011
When I moved to Italy, I immediately started trolling CD stores and watching MTV Italia with pen in hand, digging into Italian music to find the good stuff. There’s nothing like having a few songs you love in another language to work said language into your brain. Subsonica, Tiromancino, Mau Mau and 99 Posse were a few of my favorite finds.
With my sights now set on Argentina, I’ve begun to do recon on spanish music. A friend recommended Andres Calamara, and when I came across a song called “Flaca,” a long unused synapse burst in my brain and brought up a song I’d loved in while living in Florence, called “La Flaca.” A few keystrokes later I had the video to the song – I love you, internet.
Jarabe de Palo means “syrup of the stick,” according to what an Italian friend told me 10 years ago. I have no idea if that’s true, but I like that I remember it.
Here’s another song of his that I sang a few hundred times while living in Florence:
I haven’t heard either of these songs in a good 5+ years. It’s incredible how a song can enable time traveling – I close my eyes and listen to either of these and I’m back in 2000, 21 years old, blissfully living the dream in Italy, studying art, drunkenly puttering over cobblestones on the back of my Italian boyfriend’s motorino, wearing the knee-high leather boots I’d bought in Sienna, my arms wrapped around him and my eyes squeezed shut for fear of dying in post-soccer-match traffic (when the cops pull us over because he’s given me his only helmet, he says, “But my girlfriend’s American!”, and the polizia let us continue on our way). I love that that world continues on in my mind, and all I need to do to trigger it is come across some old song.