Brother of the Foam, of the Herons, of the Roses, and the Sun

by Sidney Molina

Only a few measures of attentive listening are necessary to conclude that Anabel Montesinos is required hearing for lovers of the guitar, someone whose art deserves repeated visits, each revealing new outlooks: there are layers of articulation, dynamic contours, rhythmic fluency, stylistic fidelity, all enveloped in a sound quality of rare beauty, ever-present in even the most virtuosic passages.

In this album dedicated to the music of Latin America, Montesinos extracts new meanings from a collection of short pieces, each written in a single movement, that – despite their sophistication – find themselves close to the popular musical roots of Mexico, Brazil, Venezuela, Paraguay, and Argentina.

The search for a foundational point for Latin American guitar passes, necessarily, through the guitarist-composer Agustín Barrios (1885-1944). Barrios traveled constantly around the continent, absorbing and circulating influences until his death in San Salvador. His presence in the album embodies the self- reflectiveness of the Latin American guitar, surging and returning upon itself, from Caazapá and Vilancico de Navidad, to the classic Danza Paraguaya and Las Abejas.
If the presence of the Paraguayan composer is varied in itself, the widest spectrum of composers in this album – including generationally – originates from Venezuela.

Each one is responsible for a single track: Pedro Elías Gutiérrez (1870-1954), author of the title track, Alma Llanera, an Afro-Venezuelan joropo with original lyrics by Rafael Bolívar Coronado (1884-1924); Benito Canonico (1894-1971), composer of the classic El totumo de Guarenas; Rodrigo Riera (1923-1999), important guitarist and teacher, with the beautiful Preludio Criollo; and, lastly, Antonio Lauro (1917-1986), the most well-known in the repertoire, with an energetic waltz El Marabino.

From Argentina, Montesinos performs the Balada para Martin Fierro by Ariel Ramirez (1921-2010) and Invierno Porteño from his fellow countryman Astor Piazzolla (1921-1992), in the now well-known version by Sergio Assad. The guitarist Cacho Tirao (1941-2007), author of Milonga de Don Taco was a member of the Piazzolla quintet and recorded 36 albums between 1971 and 2006.

Favorite of the Spanish guitarist Andres Segovia (1893-1987), the Mexican Manuel Ponce (1882-1948) is not represented here with his elaborate sonatas or themes with variations, but with the less ambitious Tres canciones populares mexicanas (“La Pajarera,” “Por tí mi corazón,” e “La Valentina”).
Anabel Montesino’s profound exploration of Brazilian music, here, is also worthy of note. From Villa-Lobos (1887-1959) to Sergio Assad (1952) – the youngest of the album, author of “Valseana,” the second movement of the Aquarelle suite – the album includes six representatives of the Brazilian guitar and features four names that are extremely active in the current landscape of guitar performance.

Villa-Lobos is featured with two of his five Prelúdios para Violão (numbers 5 and 2) and a third piece that deserves additional commentary: “A maré encheu” from Guia Prático, a collection of 137 folkloric dances (with their respective lyrics), published in harmonized versions for piano in 1932. “A maré encheu” is the 76th item of the collection.

From the eminent generation of guitarists born in Brazil in the 1950s, the Spanish guitarist performs: the mesmerizing Bate-Coxa (by Marco Pereira); Carta de pedra by Carlos Althier de Sousa Lemos Escobar (Guinga), a sad song with original lyrics by Aldir Blanc (1946-2020) in an instrumental version; and Um amor de valsa by Paulo Bellinati. Providing any additional explanation (beyond the order of the tracks) is unnecessary to notice a direct connection between Bellinati’s waltz and Uma valsa e dois amores by Dilermando Reis (1916-1977). The theme that opens Reis’ piece appears as a citation in Bellinati’s final measures.

In the lyrics to Alma Llanera, the Venezuelan piece that inspired the title of this CD, it is said: “Soy hermano de la espuma/De las garzas, de las rosas/Y del sol” (“I am the brother of the foam, of the herons, of the roses/and the sun”). It is the tenderness of the foam, the nobility of the herons, the perfume of the roses, and the radiance of the sun that marks Anabel Montesinos’ performance in her first exclusive album for GuitarCoop.

Chicago, 02/27/2022

GuitarCoop Interview Series | by Marcelo Kayath | Teatro B32

Legendas em português : Clique em [CC] – Tablets e mobiles Clique em •••

Part one: Her early years and her practicing process.


01 Caazapá (Aire Popular Paraguayo)

02 Invierno Porteño

03 Danza Paraguaya

04 Amaréencheu (GuiaPrático)

05 Las Abejas

06 Balada para Martin Fierro

07 Valseana

08 Milonga de Don Taco

09 Preludio V

10 Preludio Criollo

11 Um amor de valsa

12 Uma valsa e dois amores

13 Preludio II

14 Tres Canciones populares mexicanas

15 Bate-Coxa

16 El Marabino

17 Aire de Joropo (El totumo de Guarenas)

18 Alma Llanera

19 Villancico de Navidad

20 Carta de pedra


Created by: GuitarCoop
Recorded at: Fazenda Boa Vista
Date: December, 2021
Booklet Texts: Sidney Molina
Musical producer: Thiago Abdalla
Editing: Felipe Silotto / Thiago Abdalla
Mixing/Mastering: Ricardo Marui
Graphic Design: Eduardo Sardinha
Photos: Giuliano Belotti
Guitar: Steve Connor, 2018
Strings: Savarez Cantiga Alliance Premium, High Tension
Microphones: DPA 2006, Royer SF 24, Neumann KM 184

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