By Dialogo April 30, 2010 Rolando Chaparro grimaces as he whips the crowd into a frenzy with the powerful sounds created by furiously flicking his pick across the strings of his electric guitar during the song “Kamba King.” But as Chaparro whips out chord after chord with stunning clarity, this much is clear: If Chaparro isn’t the biggest driving force behind the emergence of Paraguayan rock, he’s definitely in the discussion. Why? Because he constantly incorporates his country’s musical roots into his records and concerts. His 2005 live album “Afropolca” put a contemporary spin on old classics to keep them relevant. Chaparro, however, also is a realist. He knows Paraguayan rock is going through a rebuilding process and it could take years – maybe even decades – for the country’s music to infiltrate foreign markets. “National rock is going through a good musical moment; I can see it quite clearly,” he said. “Unfortunately, during the last few years there has not been an important festival to help the growth of groups. At one time, Pilsen Rock was able to gather about 80,000 people at its annual music festival.” Chaparro said his country lacks the abundance of record labels and producers prevalent in other countries. “The public is there,” he said. “But a greater structure is what’s missing. Quality is optimal, excellent, and the professionalism is higher now. One can see an evolution in musicians.” The sweet sounds of rock bands such as Pro Rock Ensamble, Kaos, Faro Callejero, Skoff, Ni los perros, Deliverans, Enemigos de la Klase and Funeral fueled the country’s music scene in the 1980s and 1990s. But at the turn of the century, a movement that began in Asunción began to spread its heavy metal and pop rock wings. Bands such as Área 69, Revólber, Pipa para tabaco, Flou, Gaia, Paiko, La Secreta, Orcháblex, Vecindad Autopsia, Gent, Peter Punk, The Profane and Slow Agony have tried to put their country on the musical map. But Paiko is leading the way. The group has toured South America several times and played in Europe. Last December, Paiko will celebrate ten years of infusing Latin American pop rock with its harmonies. “Before, national rock was very under and then it turned massive,” said Enrique Zayas, lead singer for Paiko. “Now, there are tours around the country’s cities, more songs are played on the radio, and there is a bigger movement as far as the public is concerned.” Crowds are flocking to concerts and instead of creating fan clubs to cheer for artists such as Nickelback or Linkin Park, they are worshipping their homegrown idols by wearing their merchandise – an act unthinkable just a few years ago. “Before, there was a certain disdain for national rock and now that has changed,” said Felipe Vallejos, who plays guitar for the band El Tiempo. “On the contrary, young people feel proud of what is ours, and the public identifies so much with their favorite band.” The emergence of local record label “Kamikaze” has played an important role in expanding the country’s rock scene. It’s provided a place where aspiring – and proven – artists can make music and make sure their compact discs reach the masses. “We made local media cover our concerts, but it would be nice if radios would provide more information, explanations of which national group the song they are broadcasting belongs to,” Vallejos said. “In television, there is almost no space for Paraguayan rock.” Still, Paraguayan music has to experience a tremendous growth if it’s to be mentioned in the same breath as the music of Brazil, Argentina and Chile. “There are a lot of promising groups and everything is getting better,” Zayas said. “To continue working and improving is what we need to cross beyond our borders. I am sure that any time now there will be a breaking opportunity for Paraguayan rock groups to become known throughout the world.”
NEWCOMERS Kwakwani are in a must win situation this evening if they hope to reach the final four of the Linden Amateur Basketball Association (LABA) / Hamid Foundation Under 23 championship,when they face Amelia’s Ward Jets from 18.30hrs sharp at the Mackenzie Sports Club hard court.Nothing but a win can guarantee the Kwakwani side reaching the semifinals since they will give way to Bankers Trust Falcons should they lose as the other team with the jets to come out of their group.The Kwakwani side has found itself in this position because they forfeited one game they won after it was discovered that they played with an ineligible player in their opening game which they had won.This decision was taken after that game and therefore Falcons,who have four points from one win and two losses after three round of matches, will move on should Kwakwani lose and finish on three points from a win and a loss with the other being forfeited.Should Kwawkani win they will have four points along withFalcons,but having defeated the Falcons in their head-to- head clash,they will go through as the number two team with the jets as number one in Group B.Jets then will top the group play to face Raiders, as they currently are on four points from two wins, and a loss will give them five points.This game is of great importance therefore in deciding the match-ups in the semifinals as the top team in Group B from this clash will play the second placed team in Group A,which is Retrieve Raiders while unbeaten Half Mile Bulls topped group A with six points from three wins while Raiders ended on five from two wins and a loss.The second game between Block 22 Flames and Christianburg Pistons is of academic interest as neither can reach the semifinals of this competition.The game starts at 20.30hrs.(Joe Chapman)
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