2003   NOVEMBER 1   #305

Los Cuatro Amigos en el Espacio - Trácate

Here's a wondrous Latin American recording from an album I found at the spacious "Bio-Bio" fleamarket in Santiago de Chile some years ago. Like most of the records I've purchased there I judged the LP by its cover in the first place. Unfortunately the record is fairly warped, so I am just able to listen to the songs starting from the middle of each side. But the cheerful music arouses interest in following those four friends into whatever warped space a bit further.

Their jolly interpretations of classical tunes like "Jingle Bell Rock", "Theme from The Third Man", "Saint Louis Blues" as well as a traditional medley range among moderate party Swing, Twist, Waltz and (Italian) film scores, with a blend of Latin rhythms. All songs create a whiff of quayside bar feeling caused by the accordion being the key instrument. The track "Trácate" is the most innovative: Combining lively, sophisticated rhythmic accompaniment with Surf-inspired guitar riffs, a jew's-harp and delay effects over the title word being chanted within the breaks refers strongest to the spaced-out cover artwork. Unfortunately I couldn't find out the meaning of the imperative "Trácate!"; must be a Latin American idiomatic expression around the time the LP has been recorded.

There are only few facts I know about the band. This mainly instrumental combo from Argentina has recorded various LPs on Columbia Records in the late Fifties. Line-up has been: Roberto Vignola (accordion), Enrique Costa (guitar), Héctor Candró (banjo) and Gregorio Fumo (drums), occasionally joined by double bass player Alfredo Skuza and vocalist Eduardo Farrel.

Find out more about Argentinean/Latin/international music from the 50es/60es via the following site (in Spanish, lots of cover scans):
loads of downloadable full tracks (incredible selection, but minor ram-quality):
to get an impression, check Hazy Osterwald's "Kriminaltango" in a version by Billy
Cafaro: http://rockolamusic.com.ar/BillyCafaro-KriminalTango.rm

Each time I've visited Santiago de Chile I went to the impressing fleamarket as big as a village, covering not only several blocks but even streets and squares. Ask a taxi driver for a ride to "Bio-Bio" (inner city) which is not only the name of the market but also of the street where its main entrance is located. You'll experience one hall full of screws, one hall full of nuts, five halls offering radios/TV sets, ten halls offering cracked software, uncountable halls offering furniture etc. and in between lots of snack stalls and private second/third hand record dealers. Don't expect to discover exclusively original pressings of excellent quality, rather be prepared to dive into loads of hidden 50es-70es Latin gems. They are originated from almost every South American country, having been stored in dark places for a decade or three, covered with cellar bar patina and antique dust. After one has rummaged in piles of records, hands look like they've been digging in dirt. Whenever I've visited this vinyl paradise I gathered about 30 obviously exciting LPs within 20 minutes, some of them even in very good condition. Each of them sells around $1,50-2,00.

- James Dean Brown

TT-2:43 / 3.7MB / 192kbps 44.1khz
"Trácate" composed by Santos Lipesker
from the LP: Los Cuatro Amigos en El Espacio
(Columbia "Serie Bailable Especial" Xlp 45435/8.262), Chile 195x

(Image courtesy of http://rockolamusic.com.ar/)

Frank D. writes:
Because of my interest in language, your note about "Los Cuatro Amigos en el Espacio - Tracate" made me curious. I checked my online English-Spanish-Dictionary, The root verb "tracar" means "land", as in land a plane -- or space ship. "Landing" in English translated as "atracar". So I think "tracate" is an idiom for "land" [this here].

Claw writes:
The word "Tracate" does not refer to "landing", and is not connected with "atracar". In Argentina, "tracate" is an onomatopoeic (sp?) expression without any particular meaning. It's used to imply that something happened suddenly, or without any reason or cause: "...and then, tracate, the car stopped..." or "... the glass was on the table, and tracate, without any notice it broke into thousand pieces...". It could perhaps have some sexual connotation, as a reference to sexual intercourse.