June 22, 2008
Born, raised, and trained in Uruguay, Julio Martínez Oyanguren (1901-1973) was one of the great South American classical guitarists. Like some of his contemporaries, Agustín Barrios of Paraguay and Guillermo Gomez of Spain/Mexico for example, Oyanguren played his own arrangements and guitar transcriptions of works by classical composers, as well as his own compositions. When it comes to classical guitarists, the folk idioms inherent in their original compositions are what move me the most.
Oyanguren began recording for Victor in Argentina in the early 1930s, which is when his “Jota” was recorded. His career lasted decades (he also recorded a number of 78s for Columbia records around the same time), he toured internationally, was respected and well-known, and released many LPs. This original piece, however, does not appear to have made it to CD. Numerous other performances by Oyanguren (and many other excellent artists) can be found at Fine Fretted.
This track was a tough one to remaster (I had it sitting on my computer for months), despite the fact that it’s a shiny, beautiful copy. Victor Records in Argentina gave us an exceptionally “low” recording of this song and an iffy pressing – the more quiet the music, the more loud the classic, grainy Victor surface noise. I gave it my best shot.
Label: Victor (Argentina)
Issue Number: 37072
Matrix Number: n/a
May 21, 2007
While I definitely have some appreciation for the early practitioners of the Argentine tango and its singers (Carlos Gardel being the most well-known), I prefer the folk music from Argentina which was being played pre-tango, and during the same early years of the tango’s rise to international fame. In particular, folkloric guitar music brought from rural areas into the urban center of Buenos Aires.
A fine example is performed here, by Rafael Iriarte and Rosendo Pesoa, recorded for Odeon in the mid-1920s. Iriarte (whose nickname was “The Rat”) recorded a number of duets during this period both with Pesoa and with Jose Maria Aguilar, another master of the acoustic guitar. He also had a career as an accompanist for numerous tango vocalists, but again, for me it’s the folk material that stands out. He died in 1961.
If you’re interested in more work by Iriarte, check this CD.
Label: Disco Nacional
Issue Number: 9610
Matrix Number: E 1901