Last month we had the honor of joining Pelanga homies and superstar couple DJs Smokestack and Chung-Tech in celebrating one of the dopest weddings we have ever seen. Sweaterfunk DJ collective? Presente! Forever We Rock B-boy crew? Presente! Scrumptious arepas and rice cakes? Presente! The groom carrying the bride’s mom in his traditional Korean outfit? Presente! The love, the wisdom, and the good looks of their beautiful families? Presente! I could go on and on.
They just got back from their honeymoon, and DJ Smokestack stopped by to tell us all about it. ¡Gracias, hermano! (Don’t miss his previous post here.)
On July 9th, after over 7 years of trying to find our records in each others crates, my love Christina and I finally got married! A week later saw us both soaking up the sun and daily rain showers of Costa Rica on a short 9 day honeymoon.
Our time was largely spent on the southern Caribbean coast, on the wonderfully undeveloped beaches of Puerto Viejo. After a week of beach bumming and exploring the surrounding rainforests, we made the 6 hour trek to one of the country’s most famous (active) volcanoes, Arenal, where we soaked in natural volcanic springs for much longer than doctors recommend.
Sandwiching these two rejuvenating experiences were a couple hours of intense recording digging in the capital of San Jose. On our arrival, our friendly cab driver Esteban helped as I followed several leads, which led to little more than a bathroom full of records. With only an hour before our bus out of town was scheduled to depart, there was only enough time to break the ice. After Esteban understood that I was actually serious about looking for dirty, old records, we made plans to follow some of his own leads on my way back through San Jose.Originally we were suppose to have 3 and half hours in San Jose before taking off, giving me at least a solid 2 hours of serious digging. As it turned out, our flight was bumped forward almost 2 hours, fatally cutting into my precious record digging time. Deflated, I went to meet Esteban and to let him know the unfortunate news. He seemed to take the update as a personal challenge and insisted that at least one stop could be squeezed in.
So off we went into San Jose’s thick rush hour traffic with just an hour to spare. In total I ended up with about 30 full minutes at our one destination, Esteban’s friend’s now defunct music shop. The first 10 minutes was spent sifting through mostly scratchy American rock and pop classics. After pulling aside two hopeful looking local productions, I asked my gracious host if he had any more records. “I’ve got about 20,000 more right upstairs” he repeatedly mentioned, emphasizing that “no one has looked at them in 20 years”! Even though he was excited to share this prized information, he assured me they were too dirty for me to view. After another 10 minutes of convincing him, he led me upstairs where I spent my remaining time manically flipping through the dusty stockpile of old store stock. To my benign disbelief, half of the whole second floor was 2 boxes-deep full of records, covered in tarp, and topped off with an assortment of other forgotten junk.
Needless to say, I had to pull out after looking through only 3 boxes. With my new wife in line to board our flight home, I had no choice but to throw in the towel and plan for a return trip in the not too distant future! In the end, these 30 frantic minutes produced a handful of quality vinyl, including some classics along with some new numbers from Costa Rica, Panama, El Salvador, Haiti, Colombia, Cuba and the French Antilles. Here’s a quick 5 song mix to give you a little flavor of what I found…
Los Hicsos – Beso Sobre Beso (Costa Rica)
Jaime Llano Gonzalez – La Murga Panama (Colombia)
Rolando La’serie – Rio Manzanares (Cuba)
Orquestra Hermanos Flores – Estoy En Onda (El Salvador)
Los Hermanos Duncan – Amor Verdadero (Panama)