We conclude our little 12-week tour through combinations of classical guitar and other instruments with this wonderful performance by Paraguayan virtuoso Berta Rojas with Cuban jazz and classical reeds player Paquito D’Rivera (on clarinet), of a piece called Recuerdos de Ypacaraí, by Paraguayan guitarist and composer Demetrio Ortiz (1916–1975). Ypacaraí is a town on a large lake in central Paraguay; Ortiz wrote the guitar instrumental version in 1948 and lyrics by Zulema de Mirkin were added three years later. It subsequently became a popular vocal number, covered by many, many singers over the years.
This version was shot during one of Paquito and Berta’s historic “In the Footsteps of Mangoré” (“Tras las Huellas de Agustin Barrios”) tours several years ago. I suppose the song connects to Barrios because the first verse by Zulema de Merkin makes a reference to the Guaraní people/language, which was such an impotant part of Barrios’ heritage. (In English):
One warm night we met
next to the blue lake of Ypacaraí.
You sang sad along the way
old melodies in guaraní.
* * *
Keep an eye out for our Spring 2019 issue (out in February), which will have a Special Focus section “The Guitar as a Chamber Instrument”! —Blair Jackson