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As the sun begins her slow bow to the Buenos Aires west,  a crowd begins to converge on an inconspicuous street just south of Avenida Corrientes.  Young, and bohemian cool, they cluster in small groups, chatting and smoking, before a door opens, and the masses pile through, spilling into a wide courtyard.  Soon, a fragrant smoke enriches the air, and from its inhaling, a convivial atmosphere grows.  As the audience’s buzz ascends, a large group of musicians, entirely bedecked in red, congregate on a thin stage.  In their hands, all types of percussive instruments, which, from their first beating, induce wild celebrations of dance: with all swept under the rhythm.  This is La Bomba de Tiempo.


Since its inception in 2006, La Bomba de Tiempo (Time Bomb) has procured a special place in the hearts of Buenos Aires music lovers.  The event, which takes place every monday night at the Ciudad Cultural Konex, is attended ritually by its dedicated followers, who would not dream of missing a single installment.  The relaxed atmosphere is a world away from the aggressive hedonism of Buenos Aires clubs, owing partly to the omnipresence of a certain herb, which is both readily smoked and eaten there.

The stars of the show are a crew of Argentinean percussive musicians,  playing a variety of instruments that bang, clatter and shake.  Incredibly, the near two-hour show is largely improvised.  At the center of the stage, the band director (a position that is swapped between members throughout the show) keeps everything in flow with a series of signals, changing the tempo and rhythm with capricious glee.  That the band can keep everyone dancing, whilst experimenting with this series of improvisational signals, is a testament to the incredible talent they possess.

Each week, the core musicians are joined by musical guests, adding piano, guitar, voice, and a multitude of other instruments, to the mix.  Although the drumming is by no means tedious on its own, these supplemental musicians add a unique feel to each concert.  The peaks of each night, with the band and guests synthesised perfectly, and the crowd one heaving, sweaty joy; these moments are of a musical heaven too rarely discovered in life.  After the band finally exits the stage, some rush off to the afterparty, whilst others return home to lay down weary bones.  They will be back next week.


Alex Cothren. Enterbuenosaires

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