The typical tunes and cuecas from Cuyo live on this street, which only has one sidewalk and is the inspiration of poets and musicians. Besides, it boasts its own festival.
Every year, Villa Mercedes dresses up to welcome the Narrow Street National Festival, which identifies the local customs and cuisine. Music, color and joy invade the scene for four days, while the most important popular encounter in the city takes place.
As we are fans of national folklore and music from Cuyo, we approached the city and its stage -known as Alfonso y Zabala-, where a new issue of the festival was taking place. We would see a number of very important shows featuring local artists, artists from Cuyo and folklore celebrities.
What first caught our eye was the great deal of visitors the city had welcomed during the event. As we read the program and activity scheme, we understood why there were so many attendants.
Used to be cobbled a hundred years ago
The best known pub was don Miranda's
Tribute to folklore artists
Music, dancing and friendship
We were interested in the history of this street in Villa Mercedes, which used to be cobbled a hundred years ago. Carts and wagons carried regional products along this street up to the railway that ran parallel to it in order to be dispatched. It is said that railway workers used to gather at the various public houses to drink a glass of wine, tell anecdotes and quench their passion for singing and playing guitar. The best known pub was don Miranda's. Countless musical pieces were shaped at these venues. Both the street and the pub were forever immortalized in the lyrics and music of the cueca composed by Alfonso y Zabala.
We enjoyed an authentic folklore festival in which stage performances are not the sole protagonists. Very cheerful peñas start at the end of the show and last until the crack of dawn. Very joyfully, we confirmed that folklore is still alive and that the music from Cuyo will never disappear for its enthusiasts feel a deep affection for it.
Singing, dancing and all kinds of musical instruments accompany the tunes, gatos, waltzes and cuecas. Their lyrics show off deep poetic content and deal with men, their work, life at home and their ways to honor life.
We were thrilled to listen to Cien Guitarras Mercedinas, a famed local band, playing a cueca named after the Narrow Street. It is called “Calle Angosta” and features a cheerful rhythm that is considered the spirit of the festival. The audience clapped along and backed up each of the stanzas. We all felt involved in this catchy melody.
The Narrow Street Festival is a space for entertainment but it is also a homage to so many folklore artists that have left their musical imprint for all of us to enjoy.
Mónica Pons Eduardo Epifanio
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