Grupo Folklórico does Arsenio

Many Latin music acts that have been around for a while carry the tag of “legendary” in their press releases. But few of them have surprised as much as Grupo Folklórico y Experimental Nuevayorquino did a few years ago, when they reunited to play a few concerts 30 years after releasing their second album.

This week, they have got together again to play a single concert in The Bronx, tributing the music of Cuban star (and yes, true legend) Arsenio Rodríguez. I had the incredible fortune of interviewing Grupo Folklórico’s producer, René López, and Israel Berríos, who played with Rodríguez for 13 years, at NY1 Noticias.

Watch here.

The Debt of Rafael Gumucio

I have admired the wit and writing chops of Rafael Gumucio since I first read his columns and short stories in Chilean newspaper El Mercurio somewehere in the early nineties. Everything he touched was immediately impregnated with self-deprecation, melancholy and a strange sense of humor. When his first book, a collection of stories, was widely panned, I smelled envy. (It would take me many years to understand why—but that’s another story.) Soon after that, Gumucio started appearing on TV shows, taking part in the cult-phenomenon Plan Z, still one of the most inventive comedy shows in the history of Chilean TV. Further books gained him national and international respect.

When I had the chance to meet him and interview him in New York, the circle was closing: he had published La deuda, a novel that, once again, I liked against the judgment of Chilean critics. In this interview, we talked about that book and his interest in tackling a topic good Chilean literature has barely scratched: the middle class.