Pedro GOnzalez Conversations

The Best of the Best

Gilberto Santa Rosa just released an amazing album. For those who do not know El Caballero de la Salsa  (gentleman of the salsa). He is one of the most important salsa singers or soneros of all time. His music uplifts your soul, elegant and tropical. On his last album there is a song called El Mejor Sonero which is why I am writing today. In this song he presents a group of people arguing about who is the best sonero, everyone has their valid points of view, in one of the bridges he even groups them by nationality. The best are the colombian, not the Panamanian, there is nothing like Puerto Ricans, what about the Venezuelan (Internal joke: “Venezuelans are the best”). Half way through the song an old guy is introduced and with a wise character says the best sonero is not you, not me, the best sonero is the one you like. I could not stop thinking about exploring this Idea. It is a simple reality. The best thing is whatever you like.

I like to believe that I am an objective thinker, I am a fanatic of not being a fanatic. Yes, I am not perfect and sometimes I do not listen and I am sorry for that. However, I would hear whatever your point of view is. Sometimes people like what they like and there is nothing to do about it. They might have a reason and that reason could be easy to explain and some other times they do not know why.

I found myself thinking what is the meaning of best for someone. It is because they are part of the same community, like he is Venezuelan like me. Or maybe because my dad used to barrack for that team. Baseball is huge for Venezuelans similar to what Australian Football is, I will say even bigger. I used to barrack for Magallanes as well as my dad and most of my family. Magallanes is the team of our state and my dad used to take us to the games, and it was an amazing feeling being able to see those professional players of the sport that I also played. My younger brother supported the other team Los leones del Caracas. It isalways fascinating the way people interact when they are talking from a fanatic point of view. I noticed that at some point they started missing part of the sport. You looked so deeply into what you know and like that you forget what the other side is about and what is the sport about.  When I was at uni I was barracking for a team only for the social aspect. It was important to be able to talk about something. In highschool I rebelled and started liking the opposite to the majority. Indeed, I remember rejecting a whole universe of music because I was a drummer and we played rock music. 

In Venezuela, everywhere you go you find latin tradicional music, if you are commuting to anywhere the buses will play vallenato, a romantic colobian rhythm or Erotic Salsa, that is the way we call it back home. In Australia it is known as Romantic Salsa. It sounds romantic, but the lyrics are very sexual. Point being that I used to say I hated it. But every time the music was playing my bum was moving like it was itchy, my shoulders lifted themselves to the beat of the music and I wanted to sing. I was resisting what I actually liked because of a collective reason. I was a rock lover rebel boy. I needed time to actually find out what are the things that I like. I will say that I know about salsa music. As a professional latin dancer you get to listen to so many songs from different artists, years and styles. They are unique but with something that entwines them together beyond the fact that they are all salsa. Yes, maybe for some Countries Salsa music all sounds the same like for some latinos there are no Asians, there are only Chinos (Chinese). Which brings me to the next point. I found that there are Vietnamese, Japanese and other asian countries, there are more than chinos. So many amazing things that asian countries bring to the table, yes I am thinking about food, yum.

So what someone likes could be the beginning of a lovely exploration to learn more. Let’s use the reasons for the things that we like as a tool to learn more about the bigger topic. If we are watching a sport and someone made an amazing play, please let’s talk about it, tell me who was involved and how he is capable of doing those things, please I know you know about them. The analogy with food is even more appealing and please I do not want you to stop talking about what you like because I am vegan. There are a lot of sensitive topics in the world and it is our decision to open ourselves up to listen to what others like and in some ways discuss it. It requires courage and patience but it might bring a whole new beautiful reality. 

There is another area that is also worth exploring which is relativism. It is about whether what you like is right or wrong in a bigger scope. As an example if your religion includes sacrificing human life in any way it is not the same as a religion that is advocated to serve those in need. They are not the same and I believe they should not be treated equally. However, it is a complicated topic that I do not want to go through now. I do want to say that I love when there is a space and any kind of topic can be discussed. Where we advocate to inspire others to communicate what they believe and we can be open to listen to others and try to see their love for those things. Yes, it might be different but it might bring another level of experience to your life. Like the first time I tried Indian food WOW. That was very different. Or when I decided to let my body move to rhythms of some of the lovely songs that I used to listen to when I was going to take my drum kit classes. Just to think about it I feel like my bum is moving like it is itchy. This feeling is the best of the best.

Pedro Gonzalez

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