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Argentine – British Rock Band Disembarks In The Falklands With A Message Of Peace

By Dialogo
November 02, 2009

A drum set decorated with the flags of Argentina and Great Britain is the focus of attention in a small rehearsal room in Buenos Aires, where the rock band ‘The Draytones’ is practicing, a few hours before starting a tour that will take the group to the Falkland Islands. “I’m interested in peace. The people don’t decide to go to war, or to hate,” AFP was told on Friday by Gabriel Boccazzi, a thirty-three-year-old Argentine and the vocalist of the quartet, which he formed in London together with British musicians. While he speaks, Boccazzi shows off a small pin with both insignias, attached to a shirt that remains impeccable despite the hours of rehearsal. Calm and neat in appearance, Boccazzi pauses the music and stops singing a song in English, in order to explain that he feels “curiosity” about getting to know the landscape and the inhabitants of the archipelago, the site of a war between the two countries in 1982, won by the British troops. Playing in the Falklands became a challenge for the Argentine violinist, who settled in London in 2002 with the dream of completing his studies and being close to the cradle of legendary bands like the Beatles, the Who, and the Kinks, who impelled him toward the world of music during his adolescence. The mentor of this dream was Gabriel Sagastume (forty-seven years old), a veteran of the Falklands war who suggested in an email in 2007 that the band play in the South Atlantic archipelago “as part of a process of pacification and integration between the two cultures.” The war began on 2 April 1982 when General Leopoldo Galtieri’s dictatorship invaded the islands, occupied by Great Britain since 1833, and in seventy-four days of combat, the fighting took the tragic toll of 649 Argentine soldiers and 255 British soldiers killed. A fan of British rock bands from the 1960s and 1970s, Sagastume was on his way back from a trip to the islands when he came across the Draytones’ first record on the Internet. Issued on vinyl two years ago, the record has the crossed flags of Argentina and Great Britain on its cover. “I thought it was excellent that they mixed the flags. I identified with them, and I wrote to them that it was impossible to hate people we had loved because of their good music,” said Sagastume, a criminal prosecutor in La Plata, sixty kilometers south of Buenos Aires, as he recalled that email while tapping out the rhythm of one of the band’s songs, in the rehearsal room together with his wife and daughter. After performing on Friday as the opening act of a traditional Buenos Aires rock festival, in which around a hundred local and visiting bands will perform, the Draytones, who took their name from a London street, will continue their tour in the Argentine interior, after which they will travel to the Falklands, where they will be from the 14th to the 21st of November. The musicians will perform in two bars in Puerto Argentino, the capital of the Falklands, with a population of around 2,400, together with the local band Fighting Pigs, and will give a concert in the desolate location of Goose Green, the site of a bloody battle twenty-seven years ago. They are also making the final arrangements to play at the Mount Pleasant military base, for which they are still seeking the approval of the military authorities. In addition to Boccazzi, the band includes the British musicians Luke Richardson, Chris Le Good, and Andy Pickering.