Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Les Loups - "Criollita"

Gastón Bueno Lobo and Oscar Alemán teamed as a duo and had their professional debut in Rio de Janeiro mid-1925. After a tour of Brazil they arrived in Buenos Aires 1926 and soon had success as featured artists in various theatres and other venues labeled as 'Hawaiian Guitarists'. The duo also was featured in radio programs and in 1927 they signed a recording contract with Victor. In December 1927 the first 78 rpm by the duo labeled as Les Loups was recorded and released on Victor 79968 - the A-side containing the tango "Hawayanita", a composition by GB Lobo, the B-side had the waltz "Criollita", also a composition by GB Lobo as shown on the label above. While "Hawayanita" is played in the popular hawaiian style of the time with Lobo as featured soloist and Alemán providing accompaniment on second guitar, "Criollita" has Lobo playing the cavaquinho and again Alemán providing solid accompaniment on guitar. The cavaquinho is the Brasilian ukulele- like small 4-string guitar regularly used by choro and samba ensembles - and the first instrument Alemán learned. The cavaquinho has a more spruce and bell-like sound than a regular guitar with steel strings due to its small size. - The recording of "Criollita" is the only time a cavaquinho is used by Les Loups on a record, and the reason for that may depend on the fact that the tune "Criollita" resembles a traditional Brasilian choro. The two-part melody is performed in a way that re-creates the atmosphere of a small choro ensemble - the lead is played straight and repeated, but the accompaniment provided by Alemán's guitar leaves space for rhythmic improvisation and adds elaborate bass line modulation - a feature tightly connected with choro performed by string ensembles. This specific recording reminds the listener that Alemán's musical foundation is rooted in the Brasilian musictradition of choro and related styles. - Here's a video with the audio of "Criollita" uploaded at YouTube