Monday, January 16, 2017

Unraveling a Musical Mystery

16 January 2017

We're still in Lima, we had a few more tasks to take care of and it was just easier to do here than in a new location.

Richard found a doctor who is a specialist in tropical diseases, and we've visited him twice to deal with the pirate parasites.  Richard is now armed with other antibiotics and we're giving those evil hitchhikers a one-two punch, first a left and then a right hook.  Or something like that.

We also needed to take care of the yellow fever issue.
Apparently one needs a World Health Organization (WHO) card to enter Brazil, stating that either we've had yellow fever inoculation, or that we have a medical reason to not do so.

Turns out that the CDC recommends people over 50(ish) NOT get yellow fever vaccines, there's an increased rate of adverse reactions to the serum used.  And we're both over 60.  (Although I had a yellow fever inoculation in 1981 or so, before going off to Liberia in the Peace Corps - but I don't know if those records are available, nor if I can get a new WHO card with that old information.)

So Dr Tropical Diseases wrote a nice letter, in Spanish, saying we're too old to get the yellow fever vaccines (vacunacion de fiebre amarillo in Spanish), and told us to go to one of the national health centers to get the certification.  Of course, the place nearest our hostale turned out to have problems so that the staff person who does the certificates wasn't there.  We ended up at the children's hospital.  Surrounded by families with babies under a year or two old, getting their baby inoculations.  (Including fiebre amarillo, at about age 15 months.)  It was just funny, and ironic, or ludicrous, to get our WHO cards at the children's hospital, saying we're to old to get our yellow fever shots.

Between fun things like that, we visit the kitty park, read in the parks, and explore other parts of the city, or even more areas in our neighborhood.  We found a café and bakery that seems to specialize in small and almost miniature sandwiches and sweets, featured in the photos here.  I loved it, because I could try three different sandwiches, each one being only three to six bites (and the price was roughly 30 to 60 cents each)!  Plus look at that macaron, smaller than the bowl of a teaspoon!  So with sweets that tiny, I had a baby macaron and a teeny little truffle.  I thought it was great fun, but Big Rich wasn't quite as enthralled as I was.

And then, one afternoon, I encountered the oddest musical mystery.  I was having lunch in my friendly little neighborhood cafe today, and I heard a very familiar melody on their sound system. I listened a bit more closely, and while I couldn't understand any of the words (since I'm in Lima, Peru, and much of the music is in Spanish), I could have sworn I knew the melody.

I listened more closely, and suddenly I knew - this was the tune for "A Groovy Kind of Love" - a song from my youth!  I kind of hummed along, and while there were a few parts that weren't in sync with what I remembered, most of it was there.

So I asked my friendly waitstaff, since we chat every time I'm there - and here's the piece I heard. A song named "Agnese" by the singer Ivan Graziani. And it's in Italian:

Here's the Phil Collins version of "A Groovy Kind of Love" - it's slower than the original version by the Mindbenders, from the 1966 version. (Next post.)

So, Phil Collins:

And the Mindbenders:

Bizarre, isn't it? Not even the same song, and the Italian one is from some 13 years after the original English version.

I couldn't figure out what happened - how did these two songs end up with the same basic theme music??  Was it a spontaneous thing, like people in various parts of the world figuring out how to weave at the same time, without having contact with each other?  Or was it something else?

So, after more research, I found this gem: Wikipedia (useful despite its frequent inadequacies) says that "Groovy Kind of Love" is HEAVILY based on the Sonatine Op. 36 No. 5 - Rondo by Muzio Clementi, who wrote it in 1797 - and here's the link to that piece:


I'm guessing that both the British and Italian composers of the modern songs "borrowed" that distinctive lilting melody from Clementi - and since it was about 200 years after his original, there really weren't copyright violations.  

I felt like a detective, researching and figuring out all of this.  Pretty easy in the internet age, but I'm not a music person, so this was quite exciting!

So of course, the next day I had to explain all of this to my buddies at the café, in sort of a mix of English and Spanish.  And being young, they looked up the music on their smartphones, and connected the phones to the sound system, so everyone could hear the classical original and then the two modern variations on a theme.

Plus the original is allegro molto in tempo - Italian for "very fast" - which of course in Spanish is muy rapido.  While the two modern versions are slow and soulful love songs - in musical terms, lento, tardo, even adagio.  Modern Spanish would be despacio (which we see on traffic signs, as in SLOW), tranquillo, or even lentemente.  Yeah, you can imagine the conversation we had, tossing around all those terms!

Oh, I also took another ganache and truffle making class at the Choco Museo.  I was the only student, but they basically gave me a private class, which was wonderful!  My teacher was Fiorella, which means "little flower" in Italian.  She told me what to do and had me do pretty much everything.  We had a great time, and of course Richard enjoyed the truffles!

Lima never gets boring!

But we have a new adventure planned, and we head off on Saturday.  We're going to one of the major natural sights in South America, and I'm excited!  I don't want to give too much away, so that's all I'm going to say at this point.

Look for our next post to find out!!!

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