Mick Jagger got the real Uruguayan treatment when after dinner in a small neighbourhood restaurant he ended up dancing candombe in the modest home of a local drum-maker.
The singer visited Uruguay to play a concert with the Rolling Stones in 2016 and after mentioning that he would like to hear candombe (apparently he had been disappointed not to hear it in Costa Rica – not a surprise given that it’s native to Uruguay, not Central America) he was taken by local music legend Ruben Rada to the birthday party of Lobo Nuñez, a luthier and drummer.
El Lobo was interviewed on the radio the day after and talked about his astonishment of seeing “Mick Jigger” [sic] in his front room. When the reporter asked almost impertinently if he had sold Jagger a drum, he responded levelly that it had not been the time or place. Asked what they’d offered him, he said that Jagger had just asked for water. And that as there was no bottled water, he’d been given a glass of tap water.
What happened to Mick, is what makes Uruguay completely different from other places. This contact with locals, and friendly lack of ceremony, happens in Uruguay all the time. And you don’t need to be world-famous to experience it.
Experience authentic Montevideo
Obviously the best thing is to know a local, but if you are not lucky enough, then the next best thing is to go on one of Montevideo’s remarkably authentic guided tours.
For instance, what’s unique about going on a football tour in Montevideo, versus Buenos Aires, is that everyone knows everyone else and you can get access that would be impossible elsewhere.
And on art-deco & architecture tours, your guide will blag you into a number of places that are generally closed to the public.
The Guru’Guay Guide to Montevideo recommends great tours that will make your stay in Uruguay truly unique.
And as it is a non-commercial guide, written by someone who wants you to experience the real Uruguay, The Guru’Guay Guide also includes a list of Uruguayan musicians that you must see live while you are here. It includes… Ruben Rada!
Mick Jagger has had the opportunity to drink the finest champagnes. But I am sure that he will recall that simple glass of tap water in a drum-maker’s house in a working class neighbourhood in Montevideo with far more relish.
Photo: Grupotesta on Twitter
[Originally published February 16 2016]