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Musical Pairings: Atahualpa Yupanqui – Grandes Exitos

Today concludes our Argentina coverage, and we are ending with one of the last and best places we explored during our vacation: Salta. Truly, Salta was amazing, and exceeded our every expectation. The Salta and Jujuy provinces are what you’d get if you were able to mash Sonoma, Nashville and Death Valley all in to one very safe, beautiful and extremely livable area. You have subtle, crisp and refreshing white wines (torrontes) from Cafayate, Cachi, and Valles Calchaquies. You have the heart of Argentina’s famous folklorica and center of easily discoverable music at the many peñas of Salta (such as at La Casona del Molina – see video below) where musicians gather and take turns playing guitar and singing traditional music throughout the night over bottles of cheap red wine and beer. And you have cactus, desert, salt flats and the beautiful, multi-colored mountains of the Andes in the northwest in Purmamarca, Tilcara and Salinas Grandes. There is no question in my mind that Salta should be a priority destination for any vacation to Argentina (and I highly recommend our guide David Alejandro Martinez if you are looking for a private driver and guide: dalemartinez00 {at} hotmail {dot} com). And since the Salta region is famous for its folklorica, I can’t imagine pairing any other genre with the area. Folklorica is extremely popular and also has a lot of history. I’ve not even scratched the surface in my experience with the music, but I can say without hesitation that I love the music of Atahualpa Yupanqui. I’ve already downloaded a few of his albums, and my favorite so far is Grandes Exitos.

Atahualpa Yupanqui is a singer, songwriter, and guitar player who was raised in the Tucuman region of northwest Argentina. Initially, he began playing in the northwest region of Argentina, but as his popularity spread he began traveling to Buenos Aires to perform and later to France where he performed pursuant to an invitation from Edith Piaf and subsequently began touring the world. Grandes Exitos begins with Don Ata’s (as he is sometimes known) track “Los Ejes De Mi Carreta.” The track features soulful, melancholy vocals atop clean, ringing and masterful acoustic guitar. The song “Luna Tucumana” demonstrates equally impressive finger-picked acoustic guitar and beautiful, poetic lyrics: (translated into English) “I do not sing to the moon because it shines and nothing more, I sing because she knows of my long walk.” And Don Ata’s guitar work on “Cruz Del Sur” is nothing short of stunning. And those are just the first three tracks of a fantastic collection of music. Definitely worth checking out.
Atahualpa Yupanqui – Cruz Del Sur
Atahualpa Yupanqui – Luna Tucumana

Head back to eating/sf to read Kasey’s round-up of our culinary adventures in Salta, Tilcara, and Purmamarca.

At Casona Del Molina in Salta:

Posted by Matthew Hickey

MattNekoRecords

Matthew is the music editor and co-founder of Turntable Kitchen. He’s addicted to vinyl records, pour over coffee, craft beer, small batch bourbon, and pan roasting pork chops.

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