Friday, July 07, 2006

The Rediscovery of Oscar Alemán

I discovered the music of Oscar Alemán around 1980, when I had a cassette copy of 'The Guitar of Oscar Alemán 1938-1944' (TOM #31) from a friend. Already then I knew that I finally had found the music I will keep listening to for the rest of my life. There are so many aspects and subtleties involved in Alemán's music and lifestory that it will reach for years ahead. Anyway, there was a long dry spell in my growing interest to find out more about Alemán and his music, as it seemed next to impossible to have access to his recordings, at least at my spot of the Globe.
Thanks to an American mail-order company, however, I succeeded in collecting most of the material then available on LP: the remaining releases on TOM, the Argentine Redondel and Impacto issues and not to forget the two volumes of 'El increible Swing' on Argentine EMI/Odeon. At one point I joined the IAJRC as a member to increase chances to get into contact with other collectors of Alemán's music, this way I extended my collection of recordings with (cassette-)copies of 78 rpm Odeons not already re-issued in the LP-format.
However, it was not until I discovered the first issue of Hans' web dedicated to Alemán in 2002 that things really turned serious. Here was a guy, who had collected all available info on issued recordings by OA and furthermore had a list of un-issued stuff, true collectors' items to search for. I contacted Hans and we exchanged different material according his project on collecting a discography of Alemán, this lead to further co-work regarding the "El Redescubrimiento de Oscar Aleman" project resulting in the presentation of this tremenduos and great work by Hans last summer in Copenhagen at the IAJRC convention.
While planning this presentation Theo van de Graaff was involved and persuaded to do a small performance during our presentation demonstrating the guitar style of OA. Theo is one of few guitarists having knowledge about Alemán's guitar tecnique and actually learned it from the maestro himself during visits at Alemán's apartement in Buenos Aires Dec 1979/Jan 1980.
The peak point of our presentation in Copenhagen was the presence of violinist Svend Asmussen, who kindly agreed to share his remembrance of OA with us and the audience. I point the reader to Hans' extensive article for further info regarding this meeting with Asmussen.
I sincerelly hope the presentation in Copenhagen last summer and the continueing work of collecting info by the Alemániacs as well as others interested in the project will increase our knowledge to be shared here and elsewhere to the benefit of The Rediscovery of Oscar Alemán.
You may have a listen to all tracks on 'Alemán '72', if you have RealPlayer installed. These recordings initiated the rediscovery of OA. Just follow this link or click on picture.


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