Secret Disco: We Are Magic


Exuma-Obeah

I think Sunday is a good day to post this song because if I believed in the sacred, this song would be it. This music is what religion should be: visceral, calling to a power outside and within oneself. It is dripping with magic.

A couple of months ago I traveled to Guanajuato, MX with friends and through one of these friends, met the drummer for the only punk rock band in the city. We spent the night chatting in this cave-like bar filled with hip youth from the nearby college. It was a warm, gothic-y place lined with red velvet wallpaper and playing the latest indie tunes from around the world. The energy of this punk rock guy, appropriately nicknamed Godzilla or Godzi for short, was intense and heavy. So looming was his presence that his entrance into the bar caused the students sitting around us to look nervously over their shoulders. He could make the rock walls of the building we were sitting in feel threatened, so formidable was his presence.

With a beer in hand he began to tell one story after another, breathlessly, continuously, hours passing quickly, each story revealing his wry sense of humor and unexpected wisdom. Finally, in a rare pause of the conversation, I asked him if he’d ever been to Veracruz. His eyes glowed for a moment, remembering. He said in Spanish: Yes, that is a beautiful city, full of magic. Magic? I asked, Real magic? Not magical? Magic, he says. There is magic in the earth there, it is a special place. Different cities in Mexico contain all kinds magic, some places it is stronger. For instance, near Leon there is a town which is very dark, there is bad magic there. You don’t want to visit this pueblo…but I go occasionally. A small moment of silence passes and he grins, leaving me to wonder what he does in the bad magic pueblo. Then his words rumbled off into a subterranean place of slurred speech and I sank back against the crumbling rock walls wondering how long the night lasts in Guanajuato.
I immediately thought of this story when I heard first heard this song, there is magic here. It is up to you to decide what kind of magic it contains.

I got the voices of many in my throat
the feet of a frog and
the tail of a goat

According to book The Secret History of Disco and comments left on the Youtube page for this tune, this song was popular at early disco clubs in New York. It was part of a musical trend that included other African inspired music like Babatunde Olatunji.

One thought on “Secret Disco: We Are Magic

  1. PatyWhereRU? says:

    Wow. I think I know that guy. In fact, I do. Godzy is quite the guy. He is, as you described quite well, a very intense individual. Let me give you a brief, blurry personal anecdote. I was in Dolores, when I met El Globo, the local gig promoter, as he was selling some tapes on a corner, off a blanket. I bought a Limones tape and the Moda Ridicula demo and I told him I was staying in Guanajuato and he recommended that I go to a certain restaurant and ask for “Godzilla.” No prob. So, on the 45 min ride back to GTO I made sure to memorize the restaurant name. So, I’ll meet a punk and get some food. I get there and I ask the waiter, a rather large fellow, if I can speak to “Godzilla.” His eyes seized on me and then he said, “Y quien eres?” It wasn’t really a question, more like a warning. I told em I met El Globo and the gaze was lessened with a fleeting glimpse of a smile. Told em I was looking for local punk bands and he laughed and spit at the same time. “Nomas hay uno. Pinches posers en este pinche ciudad tan culera…” He went on in his poetic way. When we started mentioning bands and I said, “Si conozco Martin Crudo… tambien, hablo con Lalo Kontraattaque…” That gave me some street cred with this human with very large shoulders. So, that’s how I met the man known as Godzy, who happens also to be a very bad ass drummer and gutteral vocalist. Cool that you met him. When he discusses magic he knows of what he speaks. He has shared some with me. And now with you.

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