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Atahualpa Yupanqui: the Fatherland takes inside

Don Ata's poetry and guitar rumble in the hills, bloom in the deserts, gallop in the pampas, climb the mountains, penetrate the jungles. All Argentine folklore has the path made by Yupanqui.

“Once in my homeland justice will return, then I will be able to sing again under the Tucuman sky, as I did all my life,” wrote Atahualpa Yupanqui in 1949 from Budapest to his beloved Nenette, again harassed by the Argentine government as in 1932, “you have to teach -your son Roberto, Kolla- listen to every heartbeat... in front of the native landscape. But the beasts, the makers of misery have twisted the purpose... the homeland is carried inside. The mother of pearl does not lose its treasure, however much sea the robe ” Atahualpa was a known figure in the musical atmosphere, at least since the mid-thirties the “Indian Way” was an unfailing of the folklorist pioneers, but  in those years of the Peronist regime began an extensive It would be banned in every subsequent dictatorship  because of his communist militancy in the 1950s, which he resigned in 1953.  It would be forbidden because of the potential of a song that was all America, the deep one, that knows more about sorrows and sorrows but has hope in the eyes of the boy of the canaveral, or the girl of the Puna.  Atahualpa's poetry collects those original voices, “that I walked, from south to north my millenary race”, with an imagination that embellishes, “Sing that sings you way to the valleys”, and asks for transformations, “Treacherous thirst wants to kill us” And his guitar reinvents a style Creollo now that criollo criollo, long imitated in Argentine guitarists of all genres, “And I spend the early days/Looking for a lightning light/Why the night is so long/Guitar, tell me you” and with “the physical attitude of cupping one so that between the guitar” Don Ata was a avant-garde going into the American past and a peaceful revolutionary singing for those who have no voice. That's why you  chased payer.  

Atahualpa Yupanqui was born as Héctor Roberto Chavero Haram on January 31, 1908 in Campo de la Cruz, Pergamino “I gallop 300 years from America, since Don Diego Abad Chavero arrived to destroy quebrachos and carob trees, to make doors and columns for churches and chapels”, I would say in “The song of the wind” (1965) about its origins that mixed Creole, Basque and Quechua blood — his pseudonym since the 12 years he honored the last Inca emperor, and in Quechua  Yupanqui is “tell, you will count ” - His father José worked on the railroad so the family is constantly moving and resting in Junín at the age that Héctor learns his first guitar rudiments although before the violin began, on a scale in Tafí del Valle, Tucumán. These random movements in the Interior are fundamental, in the words of Guillermo Pellegrino, “ All his subsequent work was aimed at interpreting the music of the south, the Andean north and the Argentine coast.   From Tucumán he was seduced by his zambas; from Santiago del Estero the chacareras and vidalas; from La Rioja he loved his chayas and his painful vidalas; Córdoba attracted him the picardy of his cats...  In those soledades he came across a “listened”, who -following the Indian tradition gena of the management of silences - is a kind of creole wise “The listened to,” said Yupanqui once, “is the man who has many silences, who is handled with two hundred ideas and twenty words. He doesn't talk any more by day. It has infinite spaces of silence, loaded with things. They are the prophets, and since the “listened” has prestige, his sober but deep words are addressed.” Many of his youth journeys on the roads of the Indians and Gauchos, on donkey's back in the work of rural master, editor or miner, alternated with visits to Buenos Aires, which caused him displeasure,” If it was mandinga's voice! /Buenos Aires, ciudad gringa/me had very apretao” In one of them I performed as a live number in the street of the newspaper Crítica, during the famous broadcast of the Firpo-Dempsey fight of 1923, with the sole purpose of gathering the pesos to see his great idol, Carlos Gardel . That was his debut in Buenos Aires, the city he would return to in 1936, once returned from Montevideo where he had to escape after participating in the radical revolt of Paso de los Libres in 1932, to record the first six tracks in Odeon, among them, classics of Argentine folklore, “Camino del Indio & rdquo; —composed at 18 years- and “Vidala del goodbye” He would return in 1944 and 1945 recording more immortal songs, “El arriero” —co-written as so many with Pablo del Cerro, that is Nenette- and “Arenita del camino” However the beasts were waiting for it.

Towards the end of the forties, the years he will meet Nenette, Canadian Antoinette Paule Pepin, Yupanqui was a diffused artist, with his books as the first of 1941 “Cerro Bayo. Poems del Cerro”, “Alba y ocaso in color/and in each color a verse/Poncho is a flag/with a heart inside! ” and with an intense life, two couples, four children.  Affiliated to the Communist Party in 1947, he was imprisoned and tortured several times in the San Telmo section — a gesture similar to his admired Ricardo Rojas, who joined radicalism after the 1930 coup and ends up in Ushuaia prison. Yupanqui will dedicate to Rojas, “Viejo tambor vidalero ” - “In Perón's time I spent several years without being able to work in Argentina... I was accused of everything, even next week's crime. Since that forgettable time I have the index of my right hand broken. Once again they put a typewriter on my hand and then sat upstairs, others jumped.  They were looking to get rid of my hand but they didn't notice a detail: they damaged my right hand and I, to play the guitar, I'm left-handed.    Still today, several years after that fact, there are tones like the Yes minor that I have difficulty making them. I can execute them because I use the trade, the maña; but they really cost me “, recognized the greatest Argentine folk singer and added, “I never cultivate the grudge. ... The grudges shadow the soul” Several decades later Perón invited him countless times to Puerta de Hierro, his Spanish residence, to which Atahualpa responded “You will have to apologize for things past” It never happened.

 The persecuted payer makes his way 

“Only Nazis and reactionaries condemn communism. Other governments or people fight, argue, win or lose, oppose reasons and truths or principles, but straight ahead, openly, as befits a democratic and jealous order of freedom,” he said in the midst of a European tour financed by communist countries in 1950.  That same year Edith Piaf, the top French singer of the twentieth century, "filled Paris with posters with a very original advertising that said: “Edith Piaf will sing for you and for Yupanqui” f ue a wonderful gesture on his part. She was at the top of her career and she wanted to share with me a show. With me, who was a black guy who was hiding behind his guitar,” Yupanqui still appreciated in 1989 for a gesture that opened the doors to a gala label, where he released his first LP in the Old Continent, “Minero Soy”  Half a century would last the European affection of Yupanqui , where his poems are part of the official French educational programs, Knight of Arts and Letters of France, and in Germany he is considered one of the greatest composers of the last century. While in Argentina, “they said long ago that I am a singer of forgotten things ,” said Yupanqui in 1985, “It is not the important thing to know about me. The fundamental thing is to continue with the contribution to native culture from the traditionalist, Creolist and folkloric point of view. It is not important that it is known, it is important that it is done” emphasized the author of “Luna Tucumana” and “El sorrel”

Between the mid-fifties and sixties, between Cerro Colorado, Córdoba, today the museum of the, and tours around the world, Yupanqui consolidates its record and literary production with more than 20 masterpieces, including the infaltable LP “Canciones del solitaire” (1957) and “The persecuted payador” (1964), and, in the lyrics, “Guitar” (1954), “It seems that there was nothing/if you look without looking at it/everything is malezal confuse/but my footprint is down”, and its continuation of Martín Fierro de José Hernández, the autobiographical “El payador persecuted” (1965), “Then I came to America to be born a Man/And in me I gathered the pampa, the jungle and the mountain/If a ranranero grandfather galloped to my crib/Another told me stories on his cane flute... And so I am going through the world, without age or destiny/At the ampar of a cosmos walking with me/ I love the light, and the river, and the road, and the star/And I bloom on guitars, because I was the wood.”  This magna work of Argentine literature is explained by Atahualpa to his friend Pedro Iribarne, “I was born in the even, and I know quite the pampean of my land... if I embrace my guitar... -is-for leave only old bleached bricks, ghosts of pulperias... men on horseback, prudent, strong and honest... I would like to recover in many Argentines the creole asleep, full and without turns, that every boy, every child, every man carries in himself” Here, the Yupanqui Program.  



Tired of political persecution, now of the self-called Argentine Revolution, and with a promising economic horizon after touring Japan and the Middle East, Yupanqui who traveled an austere and sober life, “He lived in a small and humble apartment in Barrio Catorce&RDQUO ;, would remember the singer-songwriter Daniel Viglietti in the seventies, ended up residing in Paris around 1967, with returns that became sporadic, due to the violence of the seventies, to his beloved farm of Cerro Colorado, described his river in “You que puedes, vélvete”, & “The water that always returns, that always runs”

“ They wanted to sensitize me by saying that my repertoire is for the People. I answered them that yes, that I sing for the People, but not for the communists, but for the whole People, with Catholics, intellectuals, workers, police, teachers and priests... These lords of the “left-handed” qualify themselves as People, excluding other sectors.”   he wrote his Nenette from Paris in 1968, in the middle of French May, and towards the end of that same letter he sent a greeting to his beloved neighborhood in Buenos Aires, where he zapatedmalbos with Roberto and wife, the Belgrano Social Club of Arribeños and José Hernández.



 Anclao in Paris 

New prohibitions, now from the last military dictatorship, directly make its return impossible until the conquest of democracy in 1984. In Paris he becomes a true American Patriarch with his indigenous features and his ancestral song, visited by Latin American exiles, he works with Julio Cortázar on “The tree, the river, man” and a legion of compatriots in Europe who are beginning to revalue his influential contribution in national culture, including Jairo and Ástor Piazzolla.  Yupanqui deepens his spiritual and poetic pursuits of American roots in the LP “Vidala del silencio” (1977) and “Madre del monte” (1981), both published in France, and which opposes “the new argentinian song -influenced by jazz and rock - and that does not It has nothing to do with folklore. Folklore is purer and do you know why? It is more innocent and less intentional... Zambas that look like boleros or cha cha cha... -distinct- to our landscape, our corn, our wheat, our carob tree ” The last LP in Atahualpa's life is published in the country, “To pray in the night” (1985), “I walk the world. I'm poor, I have nothing/ Just a temperate heart, /And a passion: guitar”, a kind of musical testament, which added to his flimsy health, and that prevented him from playing in a tribute made by Teatro Colón in 1988 . Nenette's death in 1990 leaves Yupanqui immersed in sadness,  “It will always be unforgettable for me his way of delivering the preludes of John Sebastian Bach. Oh, Nenette! ” in the foreword to his latest book “La capataza” (1992), “Capataza, me voy. I already say goodbye to me/I go out to look for vidalas on the track/ You will tell him the things that keep me/to everything I love and what I leave...! ”

He died on 23 May 1992 in Nimes, a small French town, in the anteroom of a recital in the company of Los del Pueblo and Rubén Juárez, and minutes to play for 150 people. He said he felt bad and toured alone with his inaltable ebony cane, gift from the santiagueño folklorist Mario Arnedo Gallo, five blocks to the hotel. He lay down and died lonely “Pá not feel so poor/I'm just loving myself” he had written less than twenty years, and a few months before he died he said, “When a poet dies, they should not bury him under a cross, but they should plant a tree on top of his remains. I think so, because, over time, that tree will have branches and a nest and birds will be born in it. In this way, the poet's silence will become swallow”, closed the singer who rests in his beloved Cerro Colorado.

It would be giant the list of artists who were influenced by Yupanqui, especially with their massive appearances at the first Cosquín Festivals, in the sixties, or the mythical performances in La Capilla in Buenos Aires in the mid-eighties. There is practically no national musician, of any genre, who has not walked “Pá el lao where the sun is lost”, knows or does not know about Don Ata's left-handed hand. Even in Mexico he is a sign figure with the “Corrido a Javier Solís” “Folklore records the life of a people, not a man, of the whole village” By that footprint of the name we go, Don Ata.



Sources: Yupanqui, A.  Letters to Nenette . Buenos Aires: South American. 2001; Galasso, N.  Atahualpa Yupanqui. The song of the deep earth . Buenos Aires: Editions of National Thought. 2005; Boasso, F. Land that walks - History of a troubadour.   Buenos Aires: Ediciones Corregidor. 1993


Rating: 4.50/5.