Guitars of the Americas

Enríc Madriguera and Felix Casteverde


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Details: Audio CD, 2003, 32 Tracks, 76mins, Produced and Recorded by Alan Govenar

Liner Notes

Enric Madriguera - Tracks 01-17
Historically Spain has shown a close relation between the art music and the music of Spanish folklore. The pieces by Luys Narvdez, vihuelist - a predecessor to the guitar - and composer, display this combination of folklore and high art. Canción del Emperador/Song of the Emperor was dedicated to king Charles V, who was also the Holy Roman Emperor of Europe. The work is based upon the melody of mille regrets by the French composer Josquin des Prez. Guardame las vacas/watch over my cows, is a chord progression from the popular music of 16th-century Spain. Guardame las vacas is written as a diferencia, a theme and variation, together with the tres diferenceias Por otra parte,in 1536 this ensemble of variations by Narvdez were the first to be published in Europe. The baxa de contrayunto/contrapuntal dance, is a lively work which ends the suite of pieces by Narvez.

Gaspar Sanz published the first, and most complete method for the guitarra española/Spanish guitar in 1674. This text which was meant for a large audience of guitar aficionados had no less than eight editions from 1674-1697. Sanz’ style combines the folkloric dances of mediterranean with the counterpoint inspired from Northern Europe. The Canario is a dance indigenous to the Canary Islands which came to the new world through the caravels which made stops there on there way to the Americas. The strumming effects at the close of the canario were referred to by Sanz in his text as musica ruidosa/noisy music, as apparently these effects were precedent setting, in terms of their decibel level for their time.

Joaquin Nin-Culmell (b.1908) an American composer of Cuban origin and professor emeritus at the University of California at Berkeley composed Six Variations on a theme by Milan, for guitar solo. The work is a homage by the twentieth-century composer to his 16-century Spanish predescessor, the composer and vihuelist Luys Milan. Milan’s theme is a pavane, a 16th-century dance, which hailed from Padua, Italy and was current with 16th-century Spanish nobility.

On the eve of the Second World War Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco (1895-1938) left his beloved Italy for America. He taught at the Los Angeles conservatory and quickly established himself as a composer in a wide range of genres including film music. His output for the guitar is large, and his primary collaboration was with Segovia. Melancolia and Primavera are part of a set of thirty-two pieces which Castelnuovo-Tedesco wrote to accompany “Platero y yoll by the Spanish poet Juan Ramon Jimenez. Although intended as childrens literature, “Platero y yoll which recounts the life of a magical Spanish donkey, Platero, includes truths which have merited this poetry a world wide audience - as well as the Nobel prize for literature in 1957. Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s music was composed to be played with narration, but is so artistically whole as to be found programmed for solo guitar in concerts.

Tres canciones no-pulares Méxicanas, were set for the piano by Manuel M. Ponce, (1882-1948) the great Mexican composer, and later transcribed for the guitar by the legendary guitarist, Andr6s Segovia. Segovia’s transcription and performance of the songs began a relationship between the Spanish guitarist and the Mexican composer which lasted for more than four decades. The songs are from the province of Guanajauto. La paiarera/the bird lady, is the ubquitous women who tends and sells her multicolored birds in the parks of Mexican cities, yor ti mi corazon/for you my heart, is a serenade, and Valentina is a song from the revolutionary period, it achieved popularity in the early decades of the 20th century.

Four Cuban Pieces” by Leo Brouwer reflect the musical roots of the Antilles, which combines the Afro-Cuban rhythms with their Antillano and European melodies and harmonies. Brouwer the Cuban composer and guitarist studied for a time in New York, but was more influenced by his first exposure to new music in 1961 at the festival at Warsaw. “Four Cuban Pieces” are reflective of Brouwer’s earliest compositional style which is nationalistic.

The Colombian Dance is an arrangement of a traditional Porro, which is a dance from the Caribbean coast of that country. The Afro-Colombian rhythms are at the base of this dance which enjoys great popularity during the carnaval season. The carnaval at Baranquilla is renowned for its festive atmosphere and for the authenticity of its culture.

Isaac Albéniz, (1860-1909) a composer, primarily of piano music, is considered as one of the most important figures in the history of Spanish music as he and Granados helped to create a nationalistic Spanish style in the late 19th-century. According to the 19th-century Spanish musicologist Felipe Pedrell the Zambra was a danza morisca, a Moorish dance. In the case of Albéniz zambra a musical view which romanticizes Spain’s Arab past, which achieved its peak in the 9th and 10th centuries, is presented. The Capricho Catalan with its lyric and consonant quality surely pays tribute to the land of Isaac Albéniz’ birth, CamprodÓn, which lies in the mountainous region of Catalonia near the Pyrenees mountains and the border with France.

According to legend, the Peternera is a dance that was invented by a Moorish dancer from Paterna. in the Spanish Province of Amería. El Vito is a popular street song from Madrid. Both of these pieces were set to the guitar by the renowned guitarist composer and teacher, Regino Sainz de la. Maza.

Felix Castaverde - Tracks 17-34
Maestro Felix gives us in this recording a review of traditional forms and modern trends of African Peruvian folk music. Guitar solo versions of this style are rare, since typically other instruments, such as another guitar and folk percussion instruments, are included. Maestro Felix himself expressed how difficult it was for him to record without a Cajon (an all wood drum shaped like a box). Borrowing techniques from his classical guitar background and his experience as a commercial performer in Peru’s folk scene, he has successfully overcome this difficulty, and delivered here a faithful representation of the complex blending of the African music into the Spanish and Native Peruvian.

First forced into Peru as slaves by the Conquistadors circa 1650, the forefathers of today’s black Peruvians, brought with them the wealth of their music, dance arid creative talent. They were settled on the coast to work on farms, since they failed to adapt well to the high altitudes and cold weather of the Andes where, together with the native Peruvians, they would have been coerced into working in the silver and gold mines. Their blending in the new country thus started in separation from the Andean culture and almost exclusively in contact with Spanish ways. Through 30O years, half of which was spent in slavery, they developed an array of musical styles and dances that ranges from being spiritual and poetic to festive, playful and erotic. They took the Spanish guitar and developed their own playing techniques, and created their own instruments from common, everyday items. These melodies and dances are performed today and enjoyed socially by Peruvians of all backgrounds. Lately, this style has began to show in Miami, New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, were Peruvian immigrants have settled in larger numbers during the last few years.

A few comments about the melodies on this CD are relevant. Each of the first four recordings (Zapateo, Socavon, Agua de Nieve and Cumanana) present variations selected to show traditional African Peruvian styles. By contrast, the Marinera and the two Waltzes that follow, and the Tondero illustrate what is know as musica criolla (creole music), a Peruvian creation of Spanish background, although the Marinera and Tondero are recognized as having African influences. Also, Maestro Felix gives us several Festejo arid Lando dances, which demonstrate the traditional and modern trends of these festive African Peruvian styles, and although one can hear the Spanish Influence, the corresponding dance moves are of almost pure African heritage, Finally, the two songs are representations of a growing modern style which combines traditional rhythms and themes of black and criollo music.

Zapateo is a style dance, like a polka or waltz; it is not the name of a song. This dance is found in the south of Lima, but there it is danced without shoes. There are variations on a minor chord and over the major tone. The dancing is done in a competitive mode between tap dancers.

Socovon is the Spanish word for the tunnel of a mine, in which slaves were forced to work. It is a style of competitive singing; not the name of a song. This style is performed in Northern Peru (Note: the capital of Lima is located on the coast and is considered the dividing point between North and South).

Para nosotros el cielo, se lo quisiera explicar, Es negro como, al silencio, Negro como la verdad Heaven is for us, I would like to explain it to you, Is black as Silence, Black as the Truth Agua de Nieve is a form of competitive dancing with variations over the theme of La Melopea (meaning in Spanish to catch, hold, grasp, to have fight, or to get drunk). La Melopea is not frequently used in the Spanish language and was rediscovered by Vicente Vasquez. The dancing is done by tapping, but not done with the heels, but with the sides of the foot or shoe, and by brushing the sole.

In performance, Felix uses the bass strings to release a sad-like tune. This is unusual, since in all Peruvian musical styles (African, Creole, and Andean), the high strings are typically used to play sad melodies.

This is a poetic style, more common on the northern coast of Peru. Cumanana shows the more commonly used approach to presenting sad tunes with the high strings. In this piece the chord progression display a strong Spanish influence.

This piece is also known as Canto de Jarana (Song of a Party) and is a style of dancing that is festive. Like the Tondero, it is danced with a handkerchief, but was considered more elegant. Two styles of Marinera exist: one from Lima, which is slower and more delicate in the footwork; and the other from the North coast, which is more lively. It is also danced in the Andes where it has developed somewhat different forms.

A very old criollo waltz by Lima composer Oscar Molina, presented faithfully in the old school style.

This waltz from Lima composer Chabuca Granda represents the new school of the Peruvian criollo waltz and uses syncopated rhythms, complex progressions and intermediate chords.

The phrases and expression that follow are not in Spanish or in any know dialect; however, this lively, colorful and rhythmic language is there to remind us that once in Peru there was an African language, of which only interjections such as “Eque!” have survived.

Eque!, Los diablos so van, Eque!, Pero volveran
Eque!, The devils are leaving, Eque!, But they shall return

Using the Festejo style, Felix shows the richness of Afro-Peruvian music and leaps into new harmonies, variations, and chord progressions which expand the traditional sound.

The Tondero belong to the African dance Lundero, a dance lost in time, from the North coast of Peru. Once again, Felix is not playing a song, but is only demonstrating the sounds of the Tondero guitar arrangements and rhythms.

This song was rediscovered by Carlo Caitro Soto de la Colina and is a traditional Lando. In the lyrics, “Minister” does not refer to a religious figure. It is used as the Europeans do, to describe the head of a public office, such as the Secretary of State. In the lyrics, the poor, newly freed black man dreams that now the men he perceives to be society’s most powerful (the President, the Cabinet members, the Priest, and the lawyer) shall be black.

Negro sera Presidente, Negrol Ministro sera, Negro cantara la misa, Negro! sera aboga(do)
Hay Fraicisco!, Hay Fraicisquito, Qua buenos tierapos!, Los tiempos de Libertad, Los blancos sacan caleza, Los blancos su aguita cargaran, que los negritos ya tienen, ya tienen su libertad
Gracias a Ramon Castilla, que nos dio libertad, ahora ya somos libres, y podemos canturear
Hay Fraicisco!, Hay Fraicisquito, Que buenos tiempos!, Los tiempos de Libertad
A Black will be President, Black! The Minister he will be, A Black will sing the Mass, Black the lawyer he will be
Ay Fraicisco!, Ay Fraicisquito, What good timesl, The times of freedom, The President Shall Be Black
The whites get their own carriage, The whites got their own water, Because the blacks now have, Now have their own freedom

Thanks to Ramon Castilla, Who gave us Freedom, now we are free, and we can hum, Ay Fraicisco!, Ay Fraicisquito, What good times!, The times of Freedom

This song is a traditional Festejo and is intended to be performed in jest. Peruvians (black or otherwise) do not eat cats. Although, in some of the farm areas of the Northern coast, some folks (black and otherwise) have found ways to cook cats in a way that when served, the taste resembles that of a goat, which is widely consumed. In jest or as a complaint, one may say “I was fed a cat instead of a rabbit.”

The translation of the song posed some difficulty, especially as it related to the words “mulatto” and “Negro.” It should be noted that in this song, it is always an Afro-Peruvian telling a story to another Afro-Peruvian, and that any reference to race is not meant to be derogatory or insulting. For this reason “mulatto” is translated as “fellow” and “Negro” as black. In the song the owner of the cat is calling to someone from his neighborhood.
0ye mulato, quien se comio mi gato?, Dicen qua fue Calon, un negro fiaco, con vino la sentaron, la cabeza la sacaron

No esta on el techo, Nien el fogon ni siquiera su pajero, me han deja pa(ra) tapon, Hey fellow, Who ate my cat?, They said it was Calon, A skinny black
His head they took off, They ate him with wine

He is not on the roof, He is not on the stave, They have not even left, his skin for me to use as plug
The last three pieces performed by Felix are modern versions and new arrangements of traditional compositions, the Lando, Impromptu, and Fantasia: Cuatro Tiempos para Negros Jovenes.

Marco P. Fernandez-Baca
Founder & Former Director of Grupo Folklorico Mi Peru

Track Listing and Samples

Enric Madriguera -
01 Canción del Emperador (Luys de Narváe) (listen to MP3 sample)
02 Guardame las Vacas (Luys de Narváe)
03 Tres diferencias por otra parte (Luys de Narváe)
04 Baxa de contrapunto (Luys de Narváe)
05 Six Variations on a Theme by Milan (Joaquin Nin-Culmell)
06 Españoleta (Gaspar Sanz)
07 Folías (Gaspar Sanz)
08 Rujero y Paradetas (Gaspar Sanz)
09 Canario (Gaspar Sanz)
10 Zapateado (Leo Brouwer) (listen to MP3 sample)
11 Ojos Brujos (Leo Brouwer)
12 Guajira Criolla (Leo Brouwer)
13 Drume Negrita (Leo Brouwer)
14 Melancolía (Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco)
15 Primavera (Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco)
16 Norteña (Gomez Crespo)
17 Colombian Dance (Arr. Rodrigo Rodriguez/Madriguera) (listen to MP3 sample)

Felix Casaverde -
18 Zapateo (listen to MP3 sample)
19 Socavon
20 Agua de Nieve
21 Cumanana
22 Marinera Limena
23 La Idolatria
24 Quizas un Dia Si
25 Festejo
26 Festejo (listen to MP3 sample)
27 Tondero
28 Negro Sera Presidente
29 Quien se Comio mi Gato?
30 Lando
31 Impromptu (listen to MP3 sample)
32 Fantasia: Cuatro Tiempos para Negros Jovenes

Listen to samples of this CD in high-quality, 192k, MP3 format: Canción del Emperador (Luys de Narváe), Zapateado (Leo Brouwer), and Colombian Dance (Arr. Rodrigo Rodriguez/Madriguera) performed by Enric Madriguera, as well as Zapateo, Festejo, and Impromptu performed by Felix Casaverde.