Monday, July 2, 2012

Date Night!

June was a month full of stress and sickness.  We started the month out with a cycle of stomach flu - I got hit hard right on Kaylee's birthday.  At the same time, we all got colds, and are still coughing.  Of course, my friends attribute it to the fact that I wear shorts and a t-shirt at 65*F. :)

We realized that we desperately needed a break from the pressure of language study and started planning a short vacation, here in the city.  Unfortunately, due to a slew of church events that we want to participate in, we've had to put it off a few more weeks.

In the meantime, however, Kaylee did an excellent job planning a date for my birthday!  She found out through our language institute that Kjarkas, Bolivia's most well-known folkloric band, was going to be in Cochabamba for a concert the day after my birthday.  She bought us tickets and got a reference for a nearby coffee shop.

Because my brother and his family are temporarily living in our downstairs apartment, babysitters are easy to come by!  We put the girls to bed like usual, and headed into the city.  The coffee shop was busy, but pleasant - Kaylee said that the cheesecake was the closest she's had to the "real thing" here.

At 8:30, we walked to the event center where the concert was going to be.  Along the way, we stopped for a picture by a fountain, and ran into some friends.

The listed concert time was 9pm, but of course it didn't get started until well after 10.  We spent most of the time chatting with other students from the institute that had also come.  The atmosphere was MUCH different than the Kala Marka concert we went to 6 years ago, which was at a theater, filled with good-natured hooligans.  This was a high-class, sit-at-a-table-and-sip-rum (we refrained) kind of concert.

Kjarkas is celebrating 41 years of existence.  They tour internationally and are a cultural phenomenon.  It was fun to see them in concert, in their hometown (they actually originated in the Capinota province of Cochabamba).

Here's a sampling of the photos we took (more here!)

Bootlegging isn't a problem here - it's an accepted way of life.  I shot video of several of the songs and have uploaded 5 of them to our YouTube account.  The following is one of my favorite songs in the Tinku style, featuring traditional dance and costumes:

This one is by far their best-known song.  As a friend told me, it ranks right up there with the national anthem:

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