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The violin of the two cultures

“Geniolito” was a great musician and chief of the Mbya Guaraní community. It is the second reference that the community loses so far this year.

In the province of  Misiones  one of those heavy air hurts is breathed. It is that two references of the MBYA Guaraní culture no longer walk among us. When the missionary people were still replenishing the death of Dona Laura,  grandma mbya , the other news came.  The death of “Geniolito”, the great musician and cacique Guaraní .

Dona Laura was the longest person in the village mbya Yasi Porá: she was 100 years old. She had been one of these unparalleled women, a key element in the integration between  indigenous peoples  and “white” peoples. His portrait was immortalized in the famous mural of the artist Antonio de Olivera, in the city of Puerto Iguazú.

 Lorenzo Benitez, or “Geniolito ”, was a chieftain of the small village Ivy Poty in St. Ignatius. From time to time he was seen around the city of  Posadas  claiming for better living conditions for his Mbya Guaraní community. But he was also a great  musician . He walked from here to there, always with his violin playing somewhere in exchange for alms.  It was so good at playing his instrument that they came to nickname it “the violin of the two cultures.” 

Self-taught musician and composer, he was one of the few popular characters left in the province. At age 70, he died as a result of cardiorespiratory arrest.

 A nickname with a story 

Geniolito's nickname comes with a  story  linked to his inseparable instrument. But not the last one he touched, but the first he had, gift from an ancient patron of the taskwork. “He called me Geniol, Geniolito,” the chieftain had said. “He was a German, Ignacio Fogert. He got me a violin, the first I had.”

In those times, when it came to the list of the tasklists, Lorenzo Benitez came in fifth place.  The  Guarani  chieftain was young and had just married, with which he did not feel like working . So, he told his boss that his head was hurting. He offered to take him to a hospital, but Lorenzo told him he only needed a geniol. The next day, he complained about the same ailment and asked for a geniol. On the third day, the patron took list: “Tareferos 1, 2, 3, 4 and geniol.” And so was the nickname forever.

 We suggest you continue reading the following notes: 

The Romeo and Juliet Guaraní
Places in Misiones: where do their names come from?
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