Tales of love in popular culture

Martín Kohan


"Emptying a song of its music seems very similar to the practice of oceanographers who measure tides through a series of calculations based on the supposition that there are seven moons. The procedure might sound risky, but the results couldn't be more accurate. Martín Kohan has dismantled songs, finding meaning in the everyday romantic melancholy of the bolero and the inverted physics of the tango, where nothing is transformed and everything is lost. Kohan puts it better: "everything is lost because everything is transformed." Without the melody and the constant rises and falls, the lyrics to the songs are revealed to be mass culture's narratives of love. The bolero begs, the tango demands. The truth is that both expressions represent unique poetics with their strange mixture of imprecision and truth that is like no other music in the world. Listening and interpreting. That, to a great extent, is what writing is about." Guillermo Piro


"Like David Viñas before him, i.e.: like no-one today, Matín Kohan has been reflecting on Argentine popular myths and culture, without being seduced by any of them. Kohan doesn't think of the popular like an entomologist. Quite the contrary, he thinks like someone who is fascinated by the experiencing of wallowing in the national mire. His work lives in that world, but there's nothing popular about it. He offers a welcome lesson as to what it means to be left-wing in Argentina today.

Before it was the Firpo-Dempsey fight, the dictatorship, the Argentine wars, the Nacional Buenos Aires, Esteban Echeverria's estate, the iconography of Evita, and San Martin. In Ojos brujos (Witch Eyes) it is the bolero and especially the tango: nothing about us escapes his acute intellectual sensitivity, which combines the weight of Walter Benjamin with a stylist's prose; autobiography overlaid with extensive knowledge." Damián Tabarovsky



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