Monday, January 30, 2012

Carlos amazing Portuguese guitarist

A really fine reissue from Drag City of two albums from Portuguese guitar master, Carlos Paredes...

Carlos Paredes
Guitarra Portuguesa; Movimento Perpétuo
(Drag City)

Carlos Paredes was a master of the Coimbrian guitar, a shortened, rounded version of the instrument, strung with six sets of double wire that was developed partly by his father, Arthur Paredes, also a famous guitarist. Born in 1925, Paredes lived and played through one of Portugal's most tumultuous periods, and was jailed as a communist in 1958. While imprisoned and instrument-less, he continued to write and develop his technique, incessantly playing an imaginary guitar so that the guards thought he had lost his mind. His music, which combined the rigor of classical styles with the emotionally expressive traditions of fado, became a touchstone for the new Portugal. In 1974, when revolution toppled the country's dictatorship, Paredes' music could be heard at all hours on the radio and in the shops and cafes.

Paredes' two best-known albums -- Guitarra Portuguesa from 1968 and Movimento Perpétuo from 1971 - are works of astonishing skill and emotional depth, melodic sophistication and bravura technical accomplishment. Never available in the United States, they have been out of print even in Portugal since 1989. Drag City, most likely influenced by Ben Chasny, who dedicated 2005's School of the Flower to the guitarist, has reissued both early Paredes albums, with original artwork and Portuguese liner notes (and an English translation).


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