There is a musician whose lyrics bounce around in the minds of people all over Latin America. His influence is deep and his persona historical. His stance, which is proper to the point of being stiff in the black and white photos, and his deep emotional romance are unmistakable. His name is buried under those of the many popular musicians in South and Central America at the time. Even in his heyday, some said he was old fashioned and slightly behind the aesthetic of the times. Julilo Jaramillo, the Ecuadorian singer, left somewhat disregarded in his home country for being music for the poor, for the un-tasteful.
If you haven’t heard of him, that’s okay. It just probably means that you didn’t grow up in a household where your parents listened to him. According to Si Yo Muero Primero, the documentary film of Julio Jaramillo’s relatively short life, many people did - from Mexico to Argentina.
This week, local cinema and cultural hotspot Ocho y Medio will be showing the documentary every night of the week for the curious traveler. The movie dives into the depths of his Ecuadorian upbringing in the port of Guayaquil, to the family band beginnings of his musical career, into his powerful, contagious popularity, and the way his music made it deep into the memories of millions of people all across Latin America.
The film is worth a look.
Julio Jaramillo is the infamous, unusually high-pitched and smooth voice of endless love and impossible heartbreak that thumps along in living rooms every night, all across this land. In the living rooms of those who went to his shows and whose hearts throbbed for his portly charm and strong demeanor.
His impact is real, his home is Guayaquil, and his story is a classic.