Sat | Dec 5, 2020

It takes two to Tango

Published:Sunday | November 10, 2013 | 12:00 AM
HE Ariel Fernandez welcomes Kenny Benjamin to the Tango, Reggae and Wine-tasting Fusion.
Joseph A. Matalon joins his wife, Bernadette, for a photo.
Belgian Ambassador Godelieve Van den Bergh (left) exchanges a few quick words with Marilyn Bennett.
Juan Jorge Martin Nuñez (centre) is more than happy to be sandwiched by Yumari Bauclino (left) and Salima Amirapy (right).-PHOTOS by Winston Sill/Freelance Photographer
Emmanuel Riquelme and Laura Molina thoroughly entertained the audience with several tango dances. -Winston Sill/Freelance Photographer

Diplomatic party highlights cultural, social ties between Argentina and Jamaica

Chester Francis-Jackson, Contributor

My dears, there are diplomatic parties and then there are diplomatic parties, with the difference being, the former being a chore and an event to endure by both guests and hosts to stave off boredom, and the latter being a genuinely enjoyable outing for both hosts and guests, packing all the razzmatazz, social oomph and the spectacular to make it a truly memorable and enjoyable shindig.

Well, my dears, one party that most certainly fell into the category of the latter was the celebratory reception and extravaganza for His Excellency Ariel Fernandez and his very lovely wife, Helene Hagen-Larsen, of Argentina, hosted at the historic Devon House, two Wednesdays ago in celebration of the historic and cultural ties between Argentina and Jamaica.

Luvs, this was everything a party should be - intimately fabulous, culturally diverse and refreshing, and interactively entertaining, plus oodles and oodles of champagne to crown the evening's activities. Let us not forget the constant flow of absolutely fab-tasting finger foods!

Dears, it was all fab like that and then some, as indeed, hosted under the theme of 'Tango, Reggae and Wine-tasting Fusion', the event was all its theme promised and more, and it made for a Romanesque fare, sans the overflowing stadiums. But what a night!

Dears, ever since his arrival here in Jamaica, Ambassador Fernandez and his wife have made it clear that their tenure would not be about passing time here in our nation's capital, but more about actively engaging and promoting a deepening of the cultural and social ties between Argentina and Jamaica. And so they have hit the ground running and have been so engaged ever since.


Indeed, for Ambassador Ariel Fernandez, the ties between Argentinian tango and Jamaica's reggae are just different strains of the same culture, both originating from the shared historical linkages between Argentina and Africa, and conversely, Jamaica and Africa.

And dears, on the face of it, as when one really looks at the urban sensuality of the tango and the similar prevailing strains of the urban explicit and implied core of the reggae beat and dance, no one could fault the ambassador for his considered reasoning and understanding of two seemingly different genres of dance, but bound umbilically by ties, not necessarily acknowledged, but arguably coming from similar cultural and historical beginnings!

And, so it was my dears that, on the eve of Halloween, Kingston was basking in a feast of the very best of Argentinian wines, music and dance, fused with its 'stepsister', reggae. It was truly a thing of beauty and pure joy to behold.

Dears, think the East Lawns of the historic Devon House, set to accommodate a stage, a-la-garden theatre, with Ambassador Fernandez and Mrs Hagen-Larsen both fabulously dressed, welcoming guests to what was truly a command performance, fittingly on the grounds of Devon House, the historic home of Jamaica's supposed first millionaire of colour, so you know we are not only talking haute culture here, but haute symbolism as well!

Well, my dears, it was like that and then some, as indeed, this was one of the Argentinian Embassy and Ambassador Fernandez's finest hours here on the 'Rock', as not only were the tango dancers a fine treat; so too were the celebrated Jamaican musicians and dancers, who made the evening a show-stopper and then some!

My dears, the beauty of this evening and the offerings, was its authenticity - no faux designer music here. Just the real thing - a meeting of cultural relatives for the first time, with the beauty being in the discovery that we are not at all strangers, but blood relatives, bonded by centuries, even though this was the first meeting of the bodies, which really turned out to be a meeting of the souls of two people in spectacular and celebratory fashion.

And luvs, make no mistake about it, tango and reggae are of the people, by the people and for the people and in this respect, as offered in various presentations two Wednesdays ago, a sheer joy for the soul and a lesson for the mind, as we are talking an evening above and beyond the ordinary in song and dance, and two cultures, now the better for it!

Luvs, it was all fab, with among those out were: Minister Sharon Folkes-Abrahams and husband, Peter Abrahams; Kenneth Benjamin; Joe and Bernadette Matalon; dean of the diplomatic corp, the affable Janette Stewart; HE José Tomas Ares Germán; German Ambassador HE Josef Beck; Belgian Ambassador HE Godelieve Van den Burgh; Brazilian Ambassador HE Antonio Francisco Da Costa e Silva Neto; HE Bernardo Guanche Hernàndez; Her Excellency María Jacqueline Mendoza Ortega ; HE Jorge Enrique Constantino; Dr and Mrs Arthur Geddes; The charming Maria Pinchín; Aida Young; Junior Dabdoub; the charmingly fab Leila Younis; Joe Habib; eminent jurist Patrick Bailey; Dr Sonia Copeland; Dr Lucille Cargill; the supremely fabulous Marilyn Bennett; the charming Peju Wilson; the always elegantly styled Karen Neita; Brian Sang, in from the north coast, for the event; the fabulous Desiree DePass; Matthew and Helen Bronley; Margareta Skold; Gijsbertus Van Salm; Pierre De Villier; Denzie Sinclair; the lovely Maxine Hogarth-Spence; the dapper Oral Webster; Gary Grant and Annette Insanally; the charming Salima Amirally, from the French Embassy; the lovely Rosina Moder; the lovely Enola Williams; Luisa Josefina Gutierrez; Luis Felipe Bellorin Neda; Gayolola Olulola-Charles; Vladimir Sterligov; Vasily Beldyugin; Victoria Tur Gómez; Jesús Orus Bagueña; Therese Turner-Jones; Tannisha Scarlett; Colette Morrison; Sharice Fernander; Rosemarie Williams; and the charming Dora Doig; and Eugene Savignon, both from the Argentinian Embassy; plus several scores others, but what a beauty of a night!