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5-24-03 The book in progress: "Annotations for the History of the Classical Guitar in Argentina 1822-2000" by Héctor Garcia Martinez & Randy Osborne is now at 735 pages with over 1,000 photos and illustrations.
9-26-03 The book in progress: "Annotations for the History of the Classical Guitar in Argentina 1822-2000" by Héctor Garcia Martinez & Randy Osborne is now at 847 pages with over 1,100 photos and illustrations.
In the spring of 2002 I was asked by Stephen Rekas of the Classical Guitar department at Mel Bay Publications to write an article which was published in May of 2002 on the "Guitar Sessions" web site. As they remove all articles from the site after one year, I have updated and corrected a few errors that existed. The article which is a micro thumbnail sketch of the"Annotations for the History of the Classical Guitar in Argentina 1822-2000" book, is now available to be read once again. "How Buenos Aires became the World Center of Classical Guitar activity".
7-22-04 The book "Annotations for the History of the Classical Guitar in Argentina 1822-2000" is just about finished. It currently is 994 pages with 1,200-1,300 photos with 6-7 dozen biographies translated. There will be two unpublished photos of the maestro Agustin Barrios Mangoré, that I acquired in the early part of this year. Author of "Six Silver Moonbeams--The Life and Times of Agustin Barrios Mangoré", Richard "Rico" Stover said he had never seen the oval photo of the maestro and the other very large one (This had to be scaled down to fit in a full page of the 8 1/2" x 11" book) that is in two color (red and black) is a Mangoré shot where Agustin is bare shouldered and is wearing a headband. Rico said today he had never seen the two color treatment, but that the photo had appeared in some newspapers. These photos date from October of 1931 in Cayenne, French Guiana (See page 120 of the revised Six Silver Moonbeams-this acquisition adds data to fill in the gap between August and November of 1931.) and the oval one is dedicated by and signed in beautiful penmanship by Agustin Barrios, the two color one is dedicated by Barrios but not signed because of the large red stamp A. Barrios as a part of the two color treatment. The two color photo was printed in Bahia, Brazil and the border text is "The Celebrated Guarany Indian" on top and at the bottom Barrios, the King of the Guitar in Portuguese. My colleagues have told me for some time that I'd have to stop writing the book at some point. Months ago I told Rico: How can I leave out 6-12 important biographies? I added 15-20 biographies since that conversation. I feel good about the completeness of the book at this point. This September makes 4 years ago this project was started. Next month is the 3rd annivesary of having put a 243 page 1st draft in Rico's hands. You all must know that Rico's advice was invaluable, his thoughts have made the clarity of the presentation what it needed to be for the interpretation of the reader. I'm close to getting a 2nd draft. My colleague, luthier and eminent guitar historian, Richard Bruné, is going to write the forward.
In the midst of all this I started learning my 7th language, 10 weeks ago. I was inspired to learn Japanese by initially being enthralled by the beautiful voices of the two best female ballad singers from Japan. They are Mika Nakashima and Chihiro Onitsuka. All Americans have heard the voice of Chihiro Onitsuka, because in 2001 Applied Materials used her vocal as a soundtrack for the 30 second TV commercial.
Curious? Check out Mika's "Yuki no Hana" and Chihiro's "Infection", those songs will knock anyone out that loves big voices. There are mp3s on the net, before you buy the CDs.. I listened to Chihiro's "Infection" 50 times in 3 days while working on the book. It's the only song I've ever heard where the vocalist might elevate 30 decibels in the song.
Checkout Fuji TV's Pop-Japan TV 11:00-11:15pm (with English subtitles) and Hey, Hey, Hey on Sunday 11:15-12;00pm both on KTSF Channel 26 (Cable 8 in San Jose, CA.) in the San Francisco Bay Area. These artists and many others appear weekly.
If you speak Spanish or Italian, you will have an advantage in being able to learn Japanese easier. All the syllables in those languages are resequenced into Japanese. When I started listening to the pop music shows mentioned above in February of 2003, nothing sounded like gibberish. The more languages one learns, the faster ones ears can hear.
8-21-04 Japanese language update: On Wednesday August 18, 2004 I began to learn how to read the Hiragana (phonetic spelling of Japanese syllables that are combined to make words), Katakana (phonetic spelling of foreign words) and Kanji. It was a lot easier than I thought it would be, I hand wrote my new words for two hours a day while speaking them out loud. Writing will help with the identification and memorization of the syllables. After a couple days of this I thought, you've written Tanaka-san (Mr. Tanaka) and desu (a form of is) and arigato gozaimasu (thank you) a dozen times each, let's just read. I was off and running, on my 3rd day I even found typographical errors in a very good method book. Go is Ko with a couple of extra small slashes in the upper right hand corner. They say if a book has no errors, it's an accident.
My advice to someone thinking of learning this language is:
Spend 3 months working on conversational Japanese reading the Romaji (English letter equivalents of the Japanese words). This is important because there are voiceless vowels (i's and u's) that you won't speak out loud. This way when you start to learn the Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji, you won't be struggling with pronunciation and reading and what vowels to leave off the tip of your tongue. Even when you practice reading the Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji you will have to combine syllables and leave out those vowels that only show up in print.
Resuming 7-22-04 update: It did take over a year to figure how to continue moving ahead with the book at breakneck speed, and start another foreign language. Despite the many updates I've done about the book, I never described what intensity has been involved: ex.: 3 and sometimes 4-6 hours a night and many 14 hour Sundays translating what I consider very important information that shouldn't become lost due to books being out of print or not in a language quite as universal as English. In one hundred and fifty years from now this book will be well thought of, and that is one reason I haven't decided to wrap it up any sooner. I have translated from Spanish (incluiding Vosotros conjugation), Catalan, Portuguese and Italian. The ability to translate Catalan was a surprise, because I never had a method or dictionary, it's just 76% the same as Castellano (Spanish). I did these translations to include reviews of Domingo Prat performances in Barcelona in 1919-1920, and biographies of Miguel Llobet and Maria Luisa Anido from a 1929 concert program at the Centre Catala in Buenos Aires.
Here's a great golden nugget from the book:
In 1923 Miguel Llobet played in Vienna and got 20 encores, the theater owners had to turn out the lights, as it appeared the public weren't making plans to go home. The book contains the graphic image and translation. This from a very rare magazine Revista Musical Ilustrada "Tarrega". One must bear in mind that the invention of the radio came to Buenos Aires in 1920.
8-27-04 Book update: I'm now working on the index and after having looked at 124 pages there are 1,058 entries of persons, places and songs.
I also have located an obituary of Miguel Llobet in the Catalan language, from a Barcelona newspaper. This will also be included and translated.
9-22-04 Book update: Having done the index for the first 247 pages, there are now just over 2,200 entries.
Japanese language update: After a month of working to learn all 216 Hiragana and Katakana symbols I have succeeded. In the last week it was just write them all out from memory, which takes about 25 minutes. I had a great experience last Saturday. Rico Stover dropped in, and I was able to show him a book that's been on the market for over 20 years. I picked up the Music for Guitar-Agustin Barrios transcribed by Jesus Benites Reyes and published by Zen-on in Japan. I pointed to the title written in Katakana: Ba-ri-o-su Ma-n-go-re Gi-ta. I opened up the book to the back inside page and said look at the titles of 4 volumes in this series: Waltz is Wa-ru-tsu and said Hey did you know Sila Godoy had a tape available? It says here at the bottom of the page: Si-ra Go-do-i, Ra-i-bu tee-pu. (Sila Godoy Live Tape). In Rico Stover's book "Six Silver Moonbeams-The Art and Times of Agustin Barrios", there is a photo of his colleague Sila Godoy. Sila has been a long time Barrios researcher and due to the possession of many Barrios manuscripts he was able to publish pieces such as Danza Paraguaya in the mid 1950's. The cover images of these publications are included in my book "Annotations for the History of the Classical Guitar in Argentina 1822-2000".
I started to learn Kanji two days ago. They are the Chinese characters incorporated into the Japanese language.
Stay tuned in about a week I shall have 9 issues of "Caras y Caretas magazines from the last week of June through August of 1913. There are advertisements for Barrios' record company Discos Atlanta within them. In a August 1, 1913 Fray Mocho magazine I have there is a full page Discos Atlanta ad with Agustin Barrios' 4th release Ay, Ay, Ay. The image of the label is in the advertisement. Discos Atlanta began sales of the recordings of all artists in Buenos Aires on March 31, 1913. This is already in the book. I have called research serious fun for sometime now.
9-27-04 Today I received a July 5, 1913 Caras y Caretas magazine with a full page advertisement of Discos Atlanta artist Agustin Barrios' 4th release Ay, Ay, Ay. The image of the label is in the advertisement and Agustin Barrios' name in text as well. He is described as the celebrated concert guitarist playing the delicate and aristocratic estilo criolloAy, Ay, Ay. The record company says: Their's is the only disc that reproduces the guitar with all of its tones. Rico Stover was in the store today to share the excitement of turning the pages until the golden nugget rolled out.
Stay tuned once again, in a week I'll have 54 issues of Caras y Caretas magazines from May of 1919 to October of 1920. Agustin Barrios (July 3 and 6, 1920) and Andrés Segovia (June 11, 27, and July 3, 1920) were both concertising in Montevideo and Buenos Aires at this time. The concert dates are from Rico Stover's "Six Silver Moonbeams-The Life and Times of Agustin Barrios Mangoré". I'll have from July 3, 1920 to October 23, 1920. Earlier segments run from May 3 to June 28, 1919 and November 1, 1919-April 24, 1920. There is a possibilty of a photo from an earlier first tour by Andrés Segovia, and it's known that Domingo Prat, Emilio Pujol and Miguel Llobet were in Buenos Aires, these last three posed in photos with Juan Carlos Anido and his daughter Maria Luisa Anido in 1919. This was the World Center of Classical Guitar activity at that time.
10-8-04 The jewels to be found in the Caras y Caretas magazines were a 2nd known photo of Antonio Jiménez Manjon, 2 new photos of Julio S. Sagreras, incluiding one with his 2 years old son (This page has comments on Julio Sagreras' ability by Miguel Llobet-to be translated), a photo of Ana Schneider de Cabrera, several of actress Camila Quiroga, who presented 17 year old Lalyta Almiron (Agustin Barrios student for 5 months in 1923-when she was 9 years old.) as an opening act in theater engagements in Barcelona in 1931, and 2 full page advertisements for Max Glucksmann's Discos Nacional-Odeon presenting guitar solos by Mario Pardo, alongside the newest recordings by legendary Carlos Gardel. The lutherie golden nugget was a full page Breyer Hermanos music store advertisement for their patented moveable bridge for each string, which is exactly the very same type of construction as that of Spanish guitarmaker Manuel Rodriguez. I have a 1965 Patent Pending Manuel Rodriguez model in stock. Breyer Hermanos superseded this living builder by 45 years with the same invention, and offered three different models at different costs-you could buy the bridge to have your own luthier do the work or choose 3 different costs to have it attached to your guitar.
10-18-04 I have just had the opportunity to purchase 346 issues of Caras y Caretas magazines from 1899 to 1915. This is about 30,000 pages and covers more than 6 1/2 years within the 16 year span. and will take at least two weeks I expect to view. I also have enroute bound volumes of the illustrated Sunday supplements (includes photographs) of "La Nacion", the Buenos Aires daily newspaper from November of 1902 to June of 1903. One can never have too much material from the World Center of Classical Guitar activity. The ongoing creation of the index will be suspended until I add what items are unavoidable for inclusion. At this point the cost of the archives to write the book has broken the $50,000 mark.
1-20-05 In the 346 issues of Caras y Caretas magazines from 1899 to 1915
I found some exciting items. Miguel Llobet photos from 1903 (The accompanying text says he had "eclipsed" all other concert guitarists who had played in Madrid recently. This is the beginning of Llobet's international fame-he didn't play in the city where the magazine was published for another 6 years.) and a live photo in August 1910 at Salon "La Argentina" playing his 1859 Antonio de Torres guitar. This is from his first tour of Argentina, second concert. Next to this photo is one of the audience as well. These were the very first concerts where Miguel Llobet was a soloist and did not share the bill with another artist as he had done in all of his European concerts. I have encountered two photos of the blind virtuoso Antonio Jiménez Manjon-one playing his 11 string guitar-this makes three photos of this artist for the book. In 1907 the Francisco Nuñez guitar workshop burned down-Domingo Prat says that in the Nuñez entry in the Diccionario de Guitarristas, published by Romero & Fernandez in July of 1934. The book "Annotations for the History of the Classical Guitar In Argentina 1822-2000" will have the photos of the firemen who put out the blaze which also destroyed the Thompson furniture factory next to it in November 1907. This fire began at 7:30 PM on a Saturday night. I also found photos of Magdalena and Victoria Testuri taken after a recent concert in 1910. Magdalena, who was almost eight years old, had at the age of five played "Sueño" by Jose Viñas in the home of a doctor where Domingo Prat had paid a visit in 1908. He described her as a child prodigy. By the 1920's Magdalena and her older sister, Victoria, were professors of guitar and had their student's concerts documented in the Revista Musical Ilustrada "Tarrega" magazine. This is a great complement to find photos 15 years older than those that comprise a 9 page spread already done for the book. These date from October 1924-December 1925.
5 / 17 / 05 Japanese language update. I'm now in my second year. Nihongo de watashi wa jusankagetsu shika benkyoo shite imasen. (This means: I have been studying Japanese for 13 months.) I started using Learning Japanese Volume 4 on April 24, 2005-used at University of California at San José, the University of Hawaii, the University of Maryland and over 100 other institutions of great knowledge in the United States..
The real reason for this update to to let folks who may be interested, know about a captivating program coming up on Saturday May 28, 2005 at at 8 PM PST-get your VCR or DVD recorder ready. It's called "Dawn of a New Day-The Man Behind VHS". It is on KTSF Channel 26 (Cable 8 in San Jose, CA.) in the San Francisco Bay Area. It is the story of the invention of the VHS tape and machine. It is in three parts, with parts 2 and 3 airing on June 4th and June 11th respectively, at the same time 8PM. It is subtitled in English. It is 1 hour in length per episode. When this machine was launched it initially created a 5 billion dollar industry and has since then grown to become a worldwide icon of home and professional usage- and led to the DVD format.
Also checkout on Sunday evening Fuji TV's Pop-Japan TV 11:00-11:15pm (with English subtitles) and Hey, Hey, Hey at 11:15-12;00pm both on KTSF Channel 26 (Cable 8 in San Jose, CA.) in the San Francisco Bay Area. These programs offer the latest artists in the J-Pop rock and ballad fields.
Articles from the column:
"Desde el Escritorio de Randy Osborne"
An Early Sighting of the Use of Restroke Technique in Northern Europe - February 24, 1997
Who was the most widely recorded guitar builder before WWII?
Who used his instruments? -March 13, 1997
Spanish Translation: Guitar makers of Granada - April 10, 1997
Spanish Translation: Pioneers in Flamenco in Film - May 2, 1997
The Big Bang Theory or how we got to where we are today in the world of Classical & Flamenco guitar music - September 5, 1997
Almost everything you wanted to know about Mexican Mariachi music but were afraid you wouldn't find out even if you became bilingual and tuned into the Spanish Language
Broadcast "Cuatro Estrellas en Cielo" (Four Stars in Heaven) - September 10, 1997
French Translation: Dossier Ints. 9 Guitars of luthiers on the testing bench. Dossier done by Thierry Faradji - September 24, 1997
French Translation : Interview with Heitor Villa-Lobos by Gilbert Imbar (Director of "Guitare et Musique") Issue #18, June, 1958 November 7, 1997