Killing Me Softly With His Song
When I first arrived in Nicoya, I didn’t have many friends. I worried about what would happen to my social life. I was used to grabbing a beer in La Cali, a bite in Escalante, heading to Cine Magaly and, most importantly, karaoke bars. For years I’ve used karaoke bars to forge the most important friendships that I have. I arrived here looking for a place to sing because I knew that, in effect, all it takes is a couple of songs to become lifelong friends.
It turns out that things were different here. A colleague told me, “There’s karaoke on Wednesdays at Más Coyol and Fridays at Guaya.” She explained there aren’t “karaoke bars” here; there are angels that carry the magic around with them: Karaoke DJs with turntables, computer, screens, videobeams, and sound systems. They acquire the tracks and lyrics in their homes and take them to where singers need them. They look for songs, buy them, set the scene, make people happy, patiently listen to both talented and off-tune singers and, at the end of the night, pick it all up and leave. And all this magic ends up in the hoarse throats and the spirits of all of us who lived it.
See also: An Inside Look at Azul Plata
There are a lot of different types: of DJs: those with a lot of equipment, those with formal businesses, some who only do it as a hobby. Others are DJs only at night because they have a serious, formal job from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. These DJs can earn from ¢60,000 up to ¢160,000 over more than eight hours in which they use their own equipment. I had the pleasure of meeting three of them: DJ Nany Martinez, DJ Rony Baltodano, and DJ Profe (Royner Rodriguez) who, in addition to playing all the songs I asked for, helped me to understand what they do.
This is a tribute to these men, to whom we owe the happiest nights in Nicoya.