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REINA DE LA NOCHE - Songs from Argentina & Brasil
Liliana Rodriguez, Raphaëlla Smits and Jorge Cardoso
play Sergio Assad, Jorge Cardoso and Ariel Ramirez.

Liliana Rodríguez:
“In this, the second CD that I have recorded with Raphaëlla Smits, one of the most brilliant and sensitive players in the history of the guitar, we are joined by Jorge Cardoso, composer and virtuoso known for many years as an essential reference for South American music.
In a duo with Raphaëlla Smits and in a trio with Jorge Cardoso, we present 9 songs: 6 Argentinian and 3 Brazilian. The words have been written by three Argentinian poets, Indio Juan, Hugo Herrera and Rosita Rover, a Spanish poet, Antonio Portanet, and also the celebrated Brazilian Angenor d'Oliveira, better known as "Cartola" (round hat).
Here is a little history of these great artists.”

Poet, composer and singer.
Since 1970 he has lived successively in Lisbon, New York, La Paz (Bolivia) and Paris. In the seventies he appeared as a singer politically committed to the "Carnation Revolution" in many concerts in Portugal. He has published two LPs, "Muertes" and "Noche de cuatro Lunas", to texts by contemporary Spanish poets.
In the eighties he lived in New York, and, in the USA, he created music and choreography for shows, and gave a series of recitals, including "Poeta en Nueva York" ("A Poet in New York") by Lorca, a world première. In Bolivia (1986/89) he worked in film publicity as a copywriter and composer. He composed the music for the Chilean film "Los niños de septiembre" (September's Children), which was awarded a prize in Havana in 1992.
In Paris, he participated in a musical anthology of flamenco "Lo Mejor del Nuevo Flamenco" (The Best of New Flamenco) with one of his themes. In 1997, he took part in a concert in homage to Maestro Rostropovich. In 2005, he wrote the libretto for the opera "El Alma de Martín Fierro" by Gerardo Di Giusto.

INDIO JUAN (AR, 1934-2002)
Poet, actor, singer, lecturer and journalist
Born in Mercedes, Province of Buenos Aires, he emigrated to Spain at the end of the sixties. He published several books of poetry, which have been translated into Portuguese, Bulgarian, Ukrainian and Turkish. As a rhapsode and singer he took part in the famous "Cantata de Santa María de Iquique" in Buenos Aires and in Spain with the Chilean group "Quilapayun".
He acted in "Fulgor y Muerte de Joaquín Murieta" (Radiance and Death of Joaquín Murieta) by Pablo Neruda, which was performed all round Spain for three years.
In 1987, Indio Juan received a special mention for his work in defence of civil rights, awarded by the Spanish Association for Human Rights.
In collaboration with Jorge Cardoso, he has written more than 50 songs, the libretto for the Concierto del Vino (Wine Concerto) and the words for the Suite de Horizontes y Sueños (Horizons and Dreams Suite).

Theatre director and actor, writer and poet
After a long span as an actor and theatre director throughout Latin America, Hugo Herrera settled in Paris in 1979, where he has pursued his many activities untiringly since then.
His theatrical career is prolific. He has acted in 80 plays and presented more than 60 authors.
At the same time he has created a literary œuvre, which includes more than a dozen theatrical works (of which six are in French), an abundance of stories and novels, many of which have been published in literary periodicals and reviews, and about a hundred poems. The bilingual version of his book "Veulo cautivo/Vol captif" was illustrated by Antonio Seguí. It is in this that the two poems, set to music for this disc by Sergio Assad, are to be found.
Hugo Herrera was invited, as the poet representing Argentina, to the "Journée Mondiale de la Poésie", which took place in Frascati, Italy, in March 2004.

Born in Colonie Tirolesa, Córdoba, Argentina, this lady, whose literary preoccupations developed precociously, has published a poem for the first time. "Queen of the Night" refers to the grand character in "The Magic Flute" of Mozart, but this time the title is applied to a dance typical of Buenos Aires, the Milonga of that city. With humour and an acute sense of observation, the beginning, the development and the end of a ball is described, where the seduction and the contagious rhythm are the source of inspiration and coming together.

Poet, samba dancer, musician, mason, washer of cars, ....
Angenor d'Oliveira owes his surname to the 'round hat' he wore to prevent cement hardening in his hair. Honoured by the Brazilians, born in a favela of Rio de Janeiro, he took every kind of job to survive. In his free time he devoted himself to his two passions, music and the Samba. He took part in many Carnivals in disguise, wearing dark glasses, dancing in the front rank of the Samba School.
Famous musicians such as Maestros Villa-Lobos and Stokowski went to meet him in order to have direct contact with his work.
He recorded his first disc at the age of 65. In 1980 his death was mourned as he would have wished, to the sound of the pandeiro and the tambourine.

Raphaella Smits on ...

Jorge Cardoso has been known above all for his "Milonga" guitar solo for decades. He later arranged it for two guitars, and on the present recording it is for two guitars and voice. With the exception of "Reina de la Noche", he wrote all the trios specially for this project.
Jorge Cardoso's songs through the decades bear witness to the fact that Liliana Rodríguez is an important source of inspiration for him. He knows how to set words to music in a poetic and melodious way, yet without forgetting the typical forms, beat and rhythm specific to South American music.
Sergio Assad wrote the songs to texts by Hugo Herrera specially for Liliana and me. In Cartola's "As Rosas não falam" (Roses do not speak) he shows that he is a master of his trade. Sergio Assad creates an expressive impressionistic language. This Brazilian music is an extra benefit to the repertoire for guitar and voice.

Three of the five solo pieces are by Ariel Ramirez. It was during one of my first trips through Argentina and Chile that I came to know his music. "Alfonsina y el Mar", which he dedicated to the poet Alfonsina Storni and to the tragic end of her life, has been a hit for many a year and is music that moves through its sheer simplicity. His other solo pieces are less popular but do provide a pleasant connection between the songs.
Sergio Assad dedicated "Farewell" to his late wife. It is taken from the "Summer Garden Suite", which he wrote in 1993 as the sound track for the Japanese film "Natsu no niwa" (Summer Garden), directed by Shinji Somai.
Working with a composer is always an enriching experience, but making music together is sheer pleasure, especially with Jorge Cardoso when playing his "Milonga Porteña", which refers to Buenos Aires and its inhabitants.

Ariel Ramirez (Santa Fe, Argentina, 1921) stayed in Europe for a few years. At the end of the '50s he returned to Argentina, where he wrote popular songs with a political commitment and became known as the leader of the "nuevo canción" movement. His beautiful "Misa Criolla" from 1967 was his international breakthrough. His compositions sound new and exotic and are based on the traditional popular music that he discovered as a young man trekking across the South American continent.
Jorge Cardoso (Posadas, Misiones, Argentina, 1949) is a guitarist, composer and musicologist and has been living for many years in Paris. He has over 350 compositions to his name, and besides composing for one or more guitars, he has also written music for other instruments, quartets, quintets and concertos. Cardoso, who learned to dance long before playing the guitar, has made countless arrangements of folkloric music from various periods and regions. His publication "Ritmos y Formas Musicales Sudamericanas" is the standard reference work in the study of South American music.
Sergio Assad (Mococa, São Paolo, Brazil, 1952) is known primarily as a guitarist and he and his brother, Odair, form the renowned "Assad Duo". Sergio, who has his home in Chicago, has written more than thirty works for solo and duo guitar, and has also written concertos and ballet music. Sergio Assad has also made exceptionally subtle transcriptions and arrangements not only of South American music but also of music from the Baroque and Impressionist repertoires and that of his contemporaries.

Translation: Gerard Dahan / Christopher Cartwright

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