The legendary Narrow Street, the one with only one sidewalk

Carlos Gardel received a great influence from Cuyo music, unmistakable especially for the guitars. Responding to these characteristics, a waltz of Alfredo Alfonso and Jose Zavala titled “Provincia de San Luis”, without lyrics, where the guitars shone, until Eduardo Troncozo from San Juan put a lyric that deeply moved all San Luis and broke into national music with great acceptance. Part of the letter tells us: “There is a popular little street, that full of nostalgia comes to me / A lonely sidewalk that, when shining, the guitars leave a feeling / It seems that God was here, pouring out his gifts without measuring.”

The great old school singer Enrique Espinosa has already incorporated it into his repertoire, Hugo Guevara’s serious and profound style was the one that opened the way. The aforementioned singers teach how to sing this waltz: they are masters. This is just starting.

The famous cueca “Calle Angosta” is a work by José Adimantos Zavala, composed in 1963. Zavala, Zavalita, represents to all those people from the province of San Luis who came to Villa Mercedes and stayed to populate it, an internal provincial migration that coincided with the great European immigration at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century that stayed in the city and the zone. Zavalita, who loved Villa Mercedes dearly, left her in pursuit of his artistic career. In Europe he felt the need to write to him.

Talent aside, Zavalita was well-liked in the folk music scene for his incomparable humility. Oscar “Cacho” Valles, his friend, was the first to believe in the work and the one who brought it to fame and national consecration.

The people of Villa Mercedes, especially from the humblest and simplest places, accepted the cueca, and when they sang it or talked about it they directly said “Callangosta”. The expression “Callangosta” is not used out of false prejudice, but it is most genuine, although Calle Angosta is well written in the lyrics. In addition, since 1969 the name of the street was changed to “Calle Angosta”.

Villa Mercedes has its birth in the foundation of the Constitutional Fort in 1856. A few years later, in 1875, the railway arrived and a station was built about three kilometers from the incipient population.

In front of the station an avenue passes diagonally with respect to the layout of the streets of the Villa; to the right and to the left in a space of about eight hundred meters there are two level crossings. In parallel, in the back of this property, a railway fence was built between said level crossings. That fence cut off the usual passage of horsemen, troops, wagons, carts, flatbeds, planters, stagecoaches, sulkys, in short, all those horse-drawn carriages, oxen, mules. Even donkeys would arrive at the time and through the mountains of San Luis. Cerro El Morro is nearby, always sentinel of Villa Mercedes. The fact of skirting that fence formed an alley that is the origin of the Calle Angosta.

The “behind the tracks”, the “behind the station” is similar to that of all the stations in the country, it’s just that in this case there was an Alfonso and a Zavala who changed everything. The “National Narrow Street Festival” has been celebrated in December for a long time, it has an important amphitheater. Between 1922 and 1930, Calle Angosta, the one with only one sidewalk, as the cueca says, acquired its current shape, about eight hundred meters long, six blocks diagonally.

The heart of the street is “Boliche Don Miranda”, mentioned in the cueca, a modern tunnel for vehicles joins the street with the front of the station and the amphitheater is at the crossroads with the Bowling. Mrs. María Madrid is a good hostess of the place, and all the staff is prepared to rise to the occasion. The bowling alley has walls covered with photos and memorabilia and there are often live shows. It is that Villa Mercedes, like all San Luis, is a “quiet payment of good friends”

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