Saturday, October 22, 2011

Campo, Camino y Amor - Episodio Trio

It is an unlikely song writing pair: Astor Piazzolla and Atahualpa Yupanqui. But José Pons and his wife provided the opportunity for the two to work together and create the piece, Campo, camino y amor in their Paris home in 1974. The canción is rarely performed but a performance of it by the Episodio Trio is featured in today's video.

Héctor Roberto Chavero Aramburo was born in 1908 - his father a descendant of the indigenous people of Argentina, his mother from the Basque country of Europe. As a performer, he took the stage name Atahualpa Yupanqui to honor the names of two great Inca kings. Until his death in 1992, he was the most famous folk musician in Argentina and shared his music and the music of the country people of Argentina with the world. He challenged the political system of Argentina and spent time in exile and in prison as a result. While his music bears little relationship to that of Piazzolla, during their lifetimes they shared a common bond of rejection within their shared homeland. And, today they share a common veneration. That these two almost legendary figures created together the canción, Campo, camino y amor, is almost as remarkable as the fact that the canción remains an almost undiscovered gem today.

The story of their meeting in Paris at the home of Argentine architect, José Pons, himself an exile from Argentina, is well documented as a result of the publication of a small book, Astor Atahualpa: Los Caminos de la Identidad (the full text is at that link), written by Piazzolla's daughter, Diana, and Atahualpa's son, Roberto Chavero, with a third author,Fuentes Rey, describing the origin of today's featured song, Campo, camino y amor. The story of this canción as extracted in this blog is roughly this: Piazzolla and Atahualpa were both performing in Paris. They met as dinner guests at the Pons home and Atahualpa told the story of how his parents met. All present thought the story would make a good canción. Atahualpa agreed to write a poem about it and Piazzolla agreed to put the poem to music. Unlike many such ideas hatched over wine and good food, it actually happened that way. Hopefully, Piazzolla had a chance to introduce the canción to the Pons family but I find no evidence that he did. In December of 1974 at Teatro Coliseo in Buenos Aires, the work was performed by Amelita Baltar, Piazzolla's vocalist, companion and presumed fellow guest at the Pons dinner. Ms. Baltar later recorded the work on the CD, Referencias. The only other recording of the work I find is by María Estela Monti on the CD, Solo Piazzolla.

And who are the Episodio Trio that perform the work in today's video? I don't know. There is no information accompanying the video and I can find no helpful reference to the group on the web. Hopefully someone reading this blog will recognize them and tell us a little more about them in the comment section below. Their performance, which is the only presentation of Campo, camino y amor on YouTube, is excellent - they deserve recognition.

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  1. H! Here we are. It is an honor for us to be in your blog. Thank you for your words. We love Astor Piazzolla's music (of course!) and have taken those not so popular songs because we believe that they are jewels that are worth knowing and enjoying.
    Thank you very much for sharing our version and continuing spreading the art of this brilliant musician.