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Gustavo Pazos Conde

Caraguatá – Guitar works from Uruguay



Songlines (International British World Music magazine-)

Away from Montevideo and the coastal resorts, Uruguay is a peaceful, pastoral country where rhythms and rituals have changed very little in the last 150 years. The delicate guitar music of conservatory-trained Gustavo Pazos Conde applies a classical precision to the native genres-milonga, chamarrita, candombe, waltz and tango- and paints subtle, at times abstract portraits of the landscapes. Two compositions are divided into three movements or airs, as Pazos Conde meditates on a theme and distils ideas and emotions. Fans of Argentinian musicians Dino Saluzzi and Edmundo Rivero will find themselves on familiar ground here, even if the motifs and rhythms are different. All 13 tracks are redolent of those cooling, pre-twilight hours when the mood is mellow and reflective. At times the songs are so alike that they seem to merge into one, but there are many nuances in the melodies and Pazos Conde is citing myriad sources as he plays. Quietly intense, rippling with fragile minor chords and unafraid of silence, Caraguatá is an antidote to the default panic modes of metropolitan life and music. Chris Moss

Luister (Dutch classical music magazine):
“His compositions reminisce about the pampas and the gauchos and are supported by folk shapes and rhythms like the milonga, the estilo and the chamarrita. The music makes for great listening and can be categorised in the same tradition as set by the late great Atahualpa Yupanqui and Augustin Barrios Mangore, both composing guitarists as well. Enjoy Caraguatá late at night, preferably with a good glass of red, red reveries.” (***)

Het Parool (Dutch daily newspaper):
“Pazos sings and strums his guitar to reminisce about the pampas, the sparkling sea, the music of the gauchos and the colourful processions of Montevideo. He showcases his range of technical skills as well as his lyrical talent. Gustavo Pazos Conde is both a poet and a maestro”(****)

Heaven Magazine (Dutch music magazine):
“Sounding more classical than specifically Latin-American, Conde presents himself on Caraguatá as a profoundly sensitive guitarist who’s exploring the emotional depth in his music rather than merely seeking to display his fabulous technique.”(****)

Dagblad van het Noorden (Dutch daily newspaper):
“Pazos reinterprets the genres of ‘milonga’, ‘vidalita’ and ‘estilo’ by fusing them with elements from tango, jazz and classical music. His compositions, mainly his own, sound just as personal, intense and pure as the music he staged in his previous profession as a programmer. His virtuosity reigns in songs with a higher pace, like La Sarabanda.”(****)



Papas Calientes
Music from the Rioplatense region
Gustavo Pazos Conde and Esther
Steenbergen (guitars)
(Pan records)

Featured here is threequarters of an hour’s traditional music from the Rioplatense region of Uruguay and Argentina. In addition to compositions by Gustavo Pazos Conde himself.  The Uruguayan-Dutch pairing play splendidly in this very specialised programme. and the material ranges from the nostalgic and wistful to the hugely energetic and powerful. A listing of 14 tracks will reveal that each item here could be classed as ‘miniature’ – and certainly there are some gems. The eponymous Papas Calentes arranged by Eduardo Eguez, is certainly one such, with its delightful tongue-in-cheek humour. I enjoyed the whole disc and two works by Conde himself stand out: La Payada a ‘milonga de contrapunto‘, is animated and impassioned, while the ‘milongu-habanera’ Dona Ana metamorphoses from an initial languishing into sher out-and-out joy. To conclude,
the guitarists have a surprise their arrangement of Barrios’ Choro da Saudade: regardless of whether or not it ‘belongs’ here. – not my problem – I have to say that l liked it. This CD will doubtless give pleasure to many.

Chris Kilvington, magazine Classical Guitar Magazine