At Full Volume / Claudia Cadelo

The neighbor downstairs heard the salsa and the one upstairs the rock and roll. At any hour of the day you could walk past the building and hear the incredible fusion of Van Van and Metallica. They called it the “strength test” and it consisted of round after round of raising the volume. The first who gave in and didn’t gradually increase the decibels of the stereo, lost the fight. It didn’t occur to either that the neighbor on the third floor might prefer, for example, Mozart, or to listen to no music at all.

Neither the advice of the neighbors nor that of the Committee for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR) influenced those involved in this “internal” matter. Nor did any neighbor dare to knock on their doors and ask for a little audio clemency. Apparently no one was bothered by the scandalous noise.

One day the rivals signed, without even agreeing, the final truce. It did not consist of lowering the volume, but of listening simultaneously to Los Aldeanos. The neighbors, this time, welcomed the cease fire because everyone liked the rap group and was used to the absence of silence. However, a week later, a delegate from the CDR presented himself at both apartments and demanded an end to musical blast, because the noise was bothering the neighborhood. That same night, while playing dominoes at a little table in the street, the watchdog admitted that the problem wasn’t the racket, but the lyrics of Los Aldeanos.

January 13, 2011