JM and Juanin: Los Crack del Puerto

chile

Chile’s own Buena Vista Social Club?

If judged by their day jobs, Juanín Navarro and his cousin JM have led modest, unremarkable lives. In their hometown, the Chilean port city of Valparaiso, Juanín was a policeman for 30 years, while JM ran a garlic stall at the local market for half a century. But their lives transformed after dark; this is when music took hold. Now 80 and 73 respectively, the pair have been singing the same classics for decades to audiences of local regulars and itinerant sailors. Backed by various stringed instruments, their venerable voices imbue these songs with no small amount of experience and wisdom. An obvious point of comparison would be the elders of the Buena Vista Social Club, but it’s also an inescapable one. Like their Cuban counterparts, these are two wonderful singers who, after delighting their neighbourhood for most of their lives, have realised that the rest of the world wants to listen too.

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