September 8, 2010 ·

El Galpon de la Mascarada



Last Saturday I sat wondering what do to with my night out when in came a text message.

“Come to San Jose 239, there’s a band playing….Oh but you need to ring the bell to get in…”

Midnight came and I arrived at a very unassuming house with no signs or anything to show that it was something more than just a house, so a little hesitantly, I rang the doorbell.

A man answered the door, we shook hands, I pretended that I knew exactly where I was, and he showed me up two flights of stairs…

I arrived at what looked like an old factory, colourfully and beautifully decorated with bed sheets hanging from the ceiling and covering the walls. Candle lights flickered off the faces of the few hundred or so people in the building, all gazing at the hypnotic Arabian belly dancers that had began to dance in the middle of the room. The room had tiers of seating, lined with bright cushions, and a handful of old sofas. There was a quirky wooden bar out the back selling supermarket priced drinks and a salivating asado. It exuded a real community feel. The crowd would shout “timbre!” (bell!) whenever a new arrival rang at the door. Couples as old as 70 dancing carefree and children scurrying around showing off their natural Latino moves.

After the Arabian-style dancers had enchanted the audience and a small bout of shushing, the stage began to fill with a group dressed as entertainers from the 18th century, wearing colourful robes and ball-style masks covering their eyes with masquerade-style long false noses. A flautist, a violinist, a pair of bongo drums, a harpsichord and a huge double bass began to play in harmony filling the room with classic Victorian and Latino influenced vibes. As the music intensified, a trio of belly dancers began to slowly float onto stage, where they began to hypnotically shake their well endowed hips. As I slowly began to get more drunk and tired, the whole event became evermore surreal, but still unforgettable.

If you are looking to do something different and very Argentine then this place is called El Galpon de la Mascarada and the band la Mascarada Barahunda. There is no information on the internet nor is it advertised, it is all by word of mouth. So go with 10 pesos (entrance fee) and knock on the door of San Jose 239, midnight next Saturday, and see what you can discover!


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