Two dogs and a cat wrestled for attention in the courtyard between the main house and the band’s jam space. Freshly made sandwiches and finger foods sat on a round wooden table ready for munching. In every direction artists carried items as they unloaded the frontman’s car. Lilan Longo of Lilan y la Sur Expres had just returned from the capital Buenos Aires, and it was time to get down to business. On the first two days that I visited the Casa de Lilan I was intent on developing and delivering an interactive English class themed on music. Instead I received a lesson on communal brother/sisterhood and cooperative living.
During the first visit I arrived by taxi accompanied by Melissa and our friend Kim from New Jersey. She had helped us celebrate my birthday in Lima, and was currently living in Cordoba, searching for some short-term work. Melissa and Kim mingled with the band, their supporters, and members of Los Harapos as I strung together my lesson. Later with the jam session in the background I worked on nouns and verb clauses. Later we got a ride back into Cordoba and a tour from bassist Marcos Murature.
The next day I travelled solo by public bus to meet Lilan y la Sur Expres. The place was in a state of transformation. One corner of the main house was converted from storage into a proper office as a makeshift desk was fashioned from a plank and metal poles. Outside in the courtyard a rectangle of blocks was de-weeded and turned into a proper garden. What was once an eyesore would now yield food for Lilan and his music loving guests. I marveled at how quickly everything came to be. Back in New York my friends and I don’t normally hang out and create livable quarters. After an early communal dinner, I videotaped a sala, or rehearsal.
Then after a downtime jam session with Los Harapos and special guests I was invited to a local University with Lilan and drummer Fernando Rodriguez Bas. Hunched over in a tight soundbooth at 88.7 Radio Reves at the Universidad Nacional de Cordoba, I got some practice filming an interview. As I taped four live tunes by the two piece, I looked forward to seeing a show with the whole band. The next night at La Fabrica would prove to be my best night of filming yet.