Andrés Cárdenas

🇨🇴 Thinking out-loud about Free software, privacy, Football & Rock music.

(For a While) I Couldn’t Play the Guitar…

Oniona is too busy with classes these days so her guitar has been in a corner of our apartment collecting dust lately. The guitar has always felt too hard for me to learn, but upon listening to Spacemen 3’s Come Down Easy the idea that “it’s just 3 chords, I could learn that…” has been on my mind.

When I was a kid a music teacher was sent to the village to start an orchestra so I got music theory classes and learned to play the Tenor Saxophone. As I was making it into the orchestra, my mother, at the time a Seventh Day Adventist, just wouldn’t allow me to play non-Christian music. She provided me with enough Gospel scores to continue learning, but the teacher wouldn’t allow me to play those because well, he needed me to learn for his project. So that was it for the Sax.

By the time I discovered The Beatles and became obsessed with learning to play the bass in my teens, teachers had come and gone over the years, but the instruments remained available in the “Culture building” for anyone to go there and learn on their own.

I went to pickup the bass and found out there there was only an old guitar amp available. It was impossible to get it to produce clean notes but it also meant nobody wanted to learn the bass so I was allowed to take it home on the weekends and learn online.

The first song I learned was Donovan’s Season of the Witch. From the archive, here’s the moment captured on video. Look at that technique! 😅

Truth is all the instruments available were old and sounded terrible, but that didn’t stop us from starting a band. With some of my friends, we began jamming to Latin Jazz classics and after just a couple of weeks rehearsing we played 2 gigs to good reception from the small crowds. There’s no video of these times, but I treasure this recording from one of our early practices.

After a couple of months it felt like we were getting somewhere with the sound, but around this time a new mayor was elected and bureaucracy here, bureaucracy there, he “just wouldn’t have a bunch of noisy stoners destroying the town’s expensive instruments”, so that was the end of the band and my music playing. Until today, that I finally managed to pick up the dusty guitar. We’ll see where it goes this time around.

Andrés Cárdenas
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