Paige: You’re listening to Coffee with Gringos, I'm Paige Sutherland. And again, Mariah is not here. She's back in the US, but luckily, we have Ian Kennedy joining us today. Welcome.
Ian: Hi, thanks for having me, Paige.
Paige: So, since you are new to the pod, just introduce yourself a little—where are you from, why did you come to Chile, all the basics.
Ian: Sure. So, like Paige said, I'm Ian Kennedy, I'm from Missouri in the United States. I'm actually from a city called Springfield, which gets a lot of comments here, like the Simpsons. But I have to mention to people that there are many, many Springfield's in the United States, so it's not very unique, but still fun. I came to Chile about a year and a half ago to travel, teach English, practice my Spanish—my Chileno—and yeah, so I'm enjoying life here in Chile and everything that it has to offer.
Paige: So, I really do not know Missouri at all. What is the weather like? Is it cold? Is it always warm? I know nothing.
Ian: Great question. So, where I'm from, we actually have, I like to say “the extremes” of all seasons. So, in winter, there's lots of snow, and in the summertime, it gets pretty hot. I'd say in Celsius, it gets up to about 33° to 35° in the heat of the summer, and very humid. In addition, I live in a part of the country called “Tornado Alley”. There's been a lot of tornadoes, going through the area, causing destruction.
Paige: You lived in a “tornado alley”…did you see a tornado?
Ian: Yeah, it was very, very common. Most houses have an area of the house that's like a safe area. So, if you have a basement it's very common to go down to the basement. In the case of my parents’ house, we don't have a basement so we actually have a hole that's cut out in the foundation of the house. And during tornado warnings, we go underneath the house and wait for the storm to pass, so it's very funny. It's something very different for people here to understand, but it's kind of similar to people here with earthquakes. Earthquakes are no big deal here and for me it was, “Oh my God, I'm going to experience my first earthquake living here…” So, I think it's just whatever you're used to growing up with.
Paige: So, for you you're sitting at your house and the TV comes on and they're like “tornado warning!” You’re just like, “I guess I have to go into the hole.”
Ian: Pretty much, time to go into the hole. It's actually pretty common for most neighborhoods to have a big siren—a big, loud speaker—that will actually issue a really loud sound to warn everyone that a storm’s coming, and that you need to take cover. [It was] very normal for me as a little boy to wake up in the middle of the night, go sleep underneath the house for an hour and carry on.
Paige: I live in the Northeast. I mean, what you can get is, maybe a hurricane but it's really just like a lot of wind and rain. But like, we don't have natural disasters, at all, so when I came here, I was like, “earthquake, what?” Like you said, it's normalized but I don't think a tornado could ever be normalized for me. That's pretty extreme. I have to point out for our listeners you have an accent. Is this a typical, Missourian accent?
Ian: Yeah, I think so. So, it's kind of been called I guess a Midwestern, neutral sort of accent.
Paige: I get kind of Southern but it's very small.
Ian: Yeah, it's got like a little dash of the Southern in there, because Missouri is really right in the middle. I like to tell people it's right between the South and the Central part of the US, basically. So, you get a lot of people with your “Hey, how y'all doin’?” kind of that real, Southern drawl.
Paige: It's definitely something new to me. So today, we're going to be talking about music, a very broad topic, so I wanted to start you, you know, you said you're from Missouri…What kind of music were you listening to growing up?
Ian: That's a great question. So, I grew up listening to a lot of different music. I grew up with a mom and some aunts who were really big into 80’s music. So, as a young boy I got very familiar with like the 80’s rock and pop, and also being a young kid growing up during the grunge era, I became a big fan of Nirvana, Pearl Jam, kind of these more well-known rock groups. As I got older, I kind of dove into some more genres that I still love today—classic rock, hip hop, funk, and then some other things—jazz, recently Brazilian bossa nova. I'm always trying to find something new to listen to.
Paige: And because you said you are kind of Midwest, a little bit near the South, Southern—is that very popular in Missouri? Southern music?
Ian: There's a lot of popular, country music. Now, I have to distinguish for our listeners the difference between what I call “outlaw” country, and what I call “pop” country. So, I'm a big fan of outlaw country, so artists that people have heard of maybe like Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash…but now we see more of a trend of the very pop music that's got the “country “with it. So, I hate to be negative, but talking about their tractors, and a lot of things that are associated with like a lot of rural life, that I don't know if I can really relate to. But yeah, it's very popular in Missouri and in the south this country genre, but me personally I'm not, I'm not very into it.
Paige: For me, I actually despised it. Like all of my life, and then it's a recent like, like probably in the past five years. I think, for me, like when it comes to music, I don't have one genre that I like, it depends on my mood. I do not like rap music but when I'm working out, it like gets me pumped up. I don't really generally like country, but when it's summertime and I'm driving in my car the windows down, it’s pretty fitting. So, I think for me, it used to be like one genre, you have to be loyal and faithful to that genre. Now I’m like, whatever mood I'm in I'll just put that on.
Ian: That's a really good point. I'm kind of the same way. Like I said, I like a lot of different kinds of music, but it really does depend on my mood or what I'm doing. If I'm writing emails and doing work, studying—things like this—then maybe I prefer something a little more relaxed maybe like some jazz, like I said bossa nova. But yeah, if I'm working out, doing something more physical, I like that kind of music motivation, you could say, maybe something like hip-hop or rock, or, you know, to your point, maybe if it's even a certain season, or a certain activity happening. Maybe something you wouldn't normally listen to perhaps in the winter, maybe you'll listen to in the summer, and vice versa. So, that's another great thing about music is you can really make it almost like an accessory for your mood and for your setting.
Paige: Absolutely. Do you feel like you've acquired any new types of music since you've been in Chile? Reggaetón, maybe?
Ian: Absolutely. So, I have to say, I'm not the biggest fan of Reggaetón. Now, if I have a piscola in my hand and I'm at a barbecue or if I'm in the club, then I'm more likely to enjoy the Reggaetón. But typically, it's not something that I generally listen to. I'm not sure what it's like in Boston, but in Missouri, Reggaetón isn't very popular, not many people listen to it. I think we're familiar with Pitbull and Daddy Yankee and not much else, so it's definitely been eye- opening and ear-opening to be here and hearing that different type of music. I will say something I really love about South America, in general, is anytime I go somewhere I can hear some kind of music being played. It's a really nice background setting for whatever you're doing. If you're in the market, if you're walking the street, if there are performers on the subway, whatever it might be. I think that adds a little spice to whatever you're doing.
Paige: I think the most surprising thing I saw here was how much American music is listened to. You'll find someone who speaks zero English, that knows all the lyrics to a Backstreet Boys song.
Ian: That's a great point you make. I have heard the same.
Paige: Yeah, it's always so funny because you're like, “Oh, I didn't think you spoke English” and they're like, “no”, but they know all the lyrics to these really famous songs. It's hilarious.
Ian: Yeah, it's another it's a really interesting cultural aspect of music as well.
Paige: What's funny too is I get a lot of younger students who will know some English and I'm like, “Oh, what is your background on English?”, and they'll say, “Oh, only music. I only know English through music.” And I try to think and I'm like, “what songs were you listening to that helped you with your English?” Because I think the lyrics in American music is awful. It makes no sense. If I was to help you translate, I'd be like, “this is, this is not a word, this doesn't make sense”
Ian: You're right, lots of slang, lots of vocabulary that as a teacher, it wouldn't be something I'd recommend to someone at first, and so it's interesting to hear that. Maybe someone who speaks little to no English, but they know very specific slang words they've heard, in like a rap song or something like this, and it really surprises me to think “Wow, you know this really specialized word that not a lot of people know”, only from hearing a song on the radio or some other outlet like that.
Paige: Yeah, I think music can definitely help with language learning but it has to be a specific artist that writes lyrics that have meaning to it. I had a student whose favorite band was Red Hot Chili Peppers, and I love them. Their music is phenomenal, but their lyrics to learn English…? Not great.
Ian: Yeah, I actually had a friend recently ask me about the lyrics because, I love the Red Hot Chili Peppers—one of my favorite bands—and they asked me about a series of lyrics from a song and I had to tell them I'm not even going try to explain to you, because it's just a lot of, it's really just a lot of mashing together words to make them rhyme. So even just the one line, a lot of times makes me go, “what exactly are they saying?” So, it's more about the sound and the rhythm than really the meaning, so it's funny to have those sort of conversations.
Paige: And so, how do you consume your music now? Spotify, mostly?
Ian: Yeah, exactly. So, like most people I think nowadays, I really jumped onto the Spotify bandwagon.
Paige: Yeah, it was funny, the other day, one of my friends had a birthday and I was like “Oh, I want to make her something”, and when I was in high school and even college, a gift that I would normally give was a playlist. I would make a mixed CD of, like, songs that were meaningful to us or whatever and literally have it on a CD with, like, writing the tracks. And I was like, “Oh wow, like, I'd love to do that today for my friend's birthday” and I was like, “it's not even possible.” A. my computer doesn't have a CD drive anymore, and most other computers don't, so even if you somehow managed to buy a CD and make it, no one would know how to play it.
Ian: Exactly. It's so interesting how quickly obsolete things, and especially with music, become. It's so funny to talk to people about, you know, before even our time there was 8-track, there was cassette, then CD and I remember when I was a little kid, CD’s were just revolutionary. I had my CD case, I had my Walkman, my headphones and I thought it was the coolest thing to ever be invented. Now we already, just what, fifteen to twenty years later, look back, and it's like a relic of the past.
Paige: I think what I miss about it is today you, you listen to songs but you don't really listen to albums. Like, I would buy a CD based on a song I liked, and I would listen to the whole album and that song I like ends up being my least favorite song of the album. Because, I listened to the whole thing I'm like, “Oh, track seven is actually amazing”. And now, it's like you listen to the hit song and then you usually don't listen to the album anymore.
Ian: I know exactly what you mean. It’s kind of become a lost art of listening to an album from beginning to end. When the artist made the music, they were thinking about it as an art form, as kind of meant to be listened to from beginning to end—to not be “chopped up” song by song.
Paige: So, as you can see, music has definitely evolved over the years. No more CD’s, no more mp3 players, solely now only on our phones.
Ian: Yeah, like pretty much everything else, right?
Paige: Right, exactly. Well, Ian, thanks so much for being here. It was a pleasure to have you.
Ian: Sure, it was a pleasure being on here. Thanks, Paige.
KEY VOCABULARY, PHRASES AND SLANG
The pod (noun): shortened term for “podcast”
Example: We have a new guest today on the pod.
The basics (noun): basic information
Example: I’ll tell you the basics about the class.
Humid (adjective): hot and moist (wet)
Example: The weather today is so humid!
Tornado Alley (pronoun): a colloquial term for an area of the United States where tornadoes are most frequent
Example: There are lots of tornadoes that come through Tornado Alley.
Destruction (noun): the action or process of causing so much damage to something that it no longer exists or cannot be repaired
Example: The tornadoes caused lots of destruction to the town.
Basement (noun): floor of a building that is below ground level
Example: The basement is where my bedroom is in my house.
Foundation (noun): the lowest part of a building, typically below ground level
Example: It’s important to get under the foundation of a house during a tornado.
Big deal (noun): something important
Example: The problem was no big deal for the experts.
Issue (verb): to formally send out or make known
Example: The Weather service issued a weather report to the citizens.
Carry on (phrasal verb): continue
Example: I like to finish my lunch and carry on with my work.
Normalized (adjective): something considered normal by certain people
Example: The citizens are normalized to life with tornadoes.
Dash (noun): a small amount or quantity of something
Example: I like to add a dash of milk in my coffee.
Y’all (slang): informal, shortened form for “you all.” Typical of Southern accents of the USA
Example: Do y’all want to come to our barbecue this weekend?
Drawl (noun): a slow, lazy way of speaking with a certain accent. Typically Southern USA accent
Example: It’s easy to know he’s from Texas because of his Southern drawl.
Broad (adjective): not specific
Example: Her description of the location was very broad.
Dive into (phrasal verb): to become interested in
Example: I dove into French literature in high school.
Distinguish (verb): to recognize something as different
Example: It’s easy to distinguish the different regions of the country.
Trend (noun): a popular development or fashion
Example: Podcasts are becoming a big trend.
Tractor (noun): powerful motor vehicle used mainly for working on farms
Example: That country singer always talks about tractors in his songs.
Rural (adjective): relating to the country
Example: They live in a small, rural town.
Despise (verb): to strongly dislike, hate
Example: I despise the taste of fish.
Pumped up (adjective): to be excited or motivated
Example: I feel pumped up when I listen to rock music.
Working out (phrasal verb): exercising
Example: I enjoy working out on the weekend.
Accessory (noun): something which can be added to something else in order to make it more useful or interesting
Example: I think food is an amazing accessory to culture.
Acquire (verb): to obtain or achieve
Example: I acquired some new information on the topic.
Eye-opening (adjective): to discover or understand something new
Example: Traveling in South America has been an eye-opening experience to new cultures.
Ear-opening (adjective): hearing something new
Example: Going to the local music festival was an ear-opening experience for me.
Lyrics (noun): words of a musical song
Example: These song lyrics don’t make any sense!
Hilarious (adjective): very funny
Example: The new comedy movie is so hilarious.
Slang (noun): informal or invented words in a language
Example: It was difficult for me to understand Chilean slang, at first.
Outlet (noun): source of something
Example: Reading is a great outlet for relaxing.
Phenomenal (adjective): incredible or extraordinary
Example: Ceviche is a phenomenal seafood dish.
Mashing (verb): to combine or mix
Example: He is always mashing together new words that make no sense.
Consume (verb): to receive or absorb something
Example: I consume new information from the newspaper every day.
Jump on the bandwagon (phrasal verb): to join or support something that is fashionable or successful
Example: I decided to jump on the Netflix bandwagon so I can watch some new series.
Obsolete (adjective): no longer used, out-of-date
Example: Cassette players are so obsolete that no one listens to them anymore.
Revolutionary (adjective): completely new or dramatically changed
Example: The Chinese company is developing revolutionary technology.
Relic (noun): a historical object, something from the past
Example: The researchers found an Aztec relic at the pyramid.
Hit song (noun): popular song
Example: The band’s hit song is known all over the world.
Lost art (noun): something requiring skill that is not usually done anymore
Example: Writing poems seems like a lost art nowadays.
Chopped up (adjective): something that is separated, not complete
Example: The edits made the video appear chopped up to the viewers.
Evolved (adjective): something that has changed over time
Example: Humans evolved from monkeys.
Solely (adverb): only, not involving something or someone else
Example: The new project is solely yours to manage.