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Poets on the go

On July 23, the Day of the Payador is celebrated, in memory of a historic counterpoint between an Argentine and a Uruguayan payador.

The gift of word, rhyme, improvisation: some Argentines are by nature payers. Others make that an art. On July 23, the Day of the Payador is celebrated, in honor of a famous counterpoint between two payadores, one from each bank of the Río de la Plata.

It was 1884 and, in the Uruguayan town of Paysandú, two fearsome were found: the eastern Juan Nava and the Argentine Gabino Ezeiza . There, in front of an audience hostile to the visitor, Gabino was ovated when he improvised “Heroico Paysandú”. A descendant of Afro, Gabino was born in the neighborhood of San Telmo on February 3, 1858. Singer and composer, he was one of the precursors of this genre narrated. He began to give body to the payada and then professionalize it and introduce the counterpoint (the payada in duet or duel sung).

Since then, in honor of this historic counterpoint, Argentina celebrates the Day of the Payador every 23 July.The date that was declared of National Interest in 1992, although the first time it was held in 1996 .

But what's a clown?

This genre was born from the bowels of the countryside, which the gauchos used to express their feelings and the reality in which they lived. The artist payador, in the same way, possesses the ability to elaborate history, rhyme and singing about what happens at the moment or on topics proposed by his audience. The theme is presented in the first four verses and is developed in the remaining six; the thought contained in the stanza must end in the tenth verse. He usually accompanies his octosyllable verses with guitar .

In the counterpoint, each payador answers the questions of his opponent and then asks in time. Counterpoints can last for hours and end when one of the singers can't quickly answer his opponent's question. A mixture of poet and singer, the payador has the weapons to observe reality and turn it into art as it happens.

The holidays

In the province of Buenos Aires, there are two big festivities that are celebrated every July 23 on the occasion of Payador's Day. In the town of Tres Arroyos, in the south of the province, there is the Monument to the Payador. There a crowd gathered to celebrate this date, with a meeting of payadores from different provinces.

The Santosvegan National Meeting of Payadores is held in San Clemente del Tuyú.It is an event that brings together lovers of improvisation, singing and cowboy tradition . The festival takes place in homage to Santos Vega, the legendary gaucho who, according to the popular imagination, was an invincible troubadour.

Thereare plenty of reasons to celebrate a good clown.

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