#95 / The Jaime Roos ‘Complete Works’: A Must-Have for (Serious) Alt Latin Music Lovers

La Margarita (1994)

Original Uruguayan edition.

Original Uruguayan edition.

When he handed me the CD copy in 1994, Jaime told me, “You have to listen to it from beginning to end.” Damn right. This is one of my very favorite Jaime Roos albums. It’s a moving tale of old-school, innocent love, and the story behind it makes it even more special. Enjoy while you read.

Liner notes by Guilherme de Alencar Pinto: “Mauricio Rosencof and Jaime met in 1985 at the newsroom of the weekly Jaque, to which both contributed. Soon after, Mauricio asked Jaime to write the music for his stage play El regreso del Gran Tuleque. The musical, which premiered in 1987, had several murgas (Jaime included ‘Despedida del Gran Tuleque ’87’ on his album Sur, released the same year), along with four more intimate songs based in sonnets (‘El beso,’ ‘Maga,’ ‘En la esquina’ and ‘El regreso’) in which the main character sang to a girl named Margarita.

It was Estela Magnone (Jaime’s girlfriend in those years) who noticed those poems seemed to be part of a series. Mauricio confirmed it: They belonged to a series of 28 sonnets he had written while in prison. Jaime had the occurrence of adding music to it. Mauricio agreed to postpone the [book] release until after the album release.

Seven years went by during which Jaime developed an intense activity with La Escuelita, released Esta noche (1989), Estamos rodeados (1991) and Cuando juega Uruguay (1992), produced Los Curtidores de Hoy (Los Curtidores de Hongos, 1993) and Vals prismático (Estela Magnone, 1993), and even wrote music for two other Rosencof plays: Señor Sjöbo (Sweden, 1990) and El vendedor de reliquias (Montevideo, 1992).

Jaime selected 15 poems which summarized the plot, and adhered to the premise of keeping the texts intact while using three of the music pieces done for El regreso del Gran Tuleque. In ‘El regreso,’ in order to highlight the poem’s introductory nature, he opted for Mauricio’s recitation over the [guitar] milongueo [milonga riff] in ‘Milonga de la guarda,’ the closing track in Aquello (1981).

Between May and August of 1993, Jaime exclusively devoted himself to arranging, rehearsing and recording La Margarita. The Record studio had acquired Elvysur’s analog 16-channel [console], the one used to record Estamos rodeados. The small, basic core of musicians was the same used in that record. Jaime sought to somehow unify the great variety of musical styles and, to that effect, stuck to the tonal scope of the North American group The Band: piano, electric organ, accordion, guitars, bass, drums, and accessory percussion. For the piano and organ tones, Jaime used a Korg sampler module he had brought from the United States. The only tracks devoid of that framework were the candombe ‘Sandía’ and the murga ‘La mirada.’ For the latter, Jaime used [the murga] Curtidores [de Hongos], which had reunited that year with three members of La Escuelita (Routin, Medina and Haedo).

Mixing started in September, but the sudden confirmation of the A las 10 tour forced Jaime to shelve the project until March 1994. By that time, Record didn’t have available hours, so the tracks had to be transferred to ADAT tapes (digital audio) in order to be mixed at Sondor.

Jaime had imagined a cover art resembling a theater poster. He had greatly enjoyed the work Argentine graphic artist Juan Lo Bianco had done for different shows, so he invited him to the project. The phrase que nunca falte [my kingdom to the person who can accurately translate this, but it’s a brilliant, beautiful phrase; I don’t even want to try] used to be repeated by Rosencof who, in turn, had taken it from a customer at bar in La Blanqueada neighborhood.

The album was released by Orfeo (Uruguay) and DG (Argentina). It was the first album by Jaime not released on vinyl, a discontinued format in both countries. It produced no hits and there were no videos nor radio plays. Nevertheless, the original CD and cassette editions went Platinum in barely six months. In 2006, Alfaguara published the complete series of sonnets (reduced to 25 by Rosencof) in a book that also included the commentaries and conversations between both artists, as well as the CD itself.”

Next page: El puente (1995).

11 thoughts on “#95 / The Jaime Roos ‘Complete Works’: A Must-Have for (Serious) Alt Latin Music Lovers

  1. Enrique – saludos desde Irlanda. Thank you for these blogs about Jaime Roos’ music. I am a great admirer of this soulful, honest and important music from a beautiful and soulful country. I didn’t know if the 4 CDs in the new batch are the same quality as the first sets, your blogs have corrected that for me.

    I did buy some in Montevideo but have also been able to find them also on Amazon (muy, muy caro) or ebay (mejor precio).

    Do you know why “Brindis Por Pierrot” has not been released as a standalone disc or am I missing something?

    Gracias por su trabajo, Simon Leng

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    • OK, Guilherme explains this clearly in his commentary to Selladas Uno, but here’s a quick summary: The ‘Brindis por Pierrot’ album only included three new songs: “Brindis por Pierrot,” “Murga de la Pica” and the new version of “Cometa de la Farola.” The other six songs had already been released on other albums. ‘Selladas Uno’ includes these three songs.

      The ‘Brindis por Pierrot’ album is not included in this collection because the idea is not to repeat songs, except in the case of different versions of one song, but not the same version.

      These 13 albums only include three “repeat” songs: the Estela Magnone duets included in both the ‘Mujer de sal junto a un hombre vuelto carbón’ and ‘El Puente’ albums.

      I hope this clarifies things. Thanks for reading and listening!

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  2. Thanks, that is great information. Here’s a thought for you…..is “Fuera de Ambiente” Jaime Roos’ masterpiece? To my ears it could be

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    • I love ‘Fuera de Ambiente,’ but I’m not sure if it’s his masterpiece. Definitely one of his best, and unfairly underrated. It’s his only album of originals with no solos. Everything is written down. Beautiful songs. When I saw him live for the last time in 2007, my mother was on her deathbed and he kindly dedicated “Catalina” to her. I think his first masterpiece is ‘Aquello’, but I also love ‘Siempre son las cuatro’, ‘Mediocampo’ and ‘Estamos rodeados’. And ‘La Margarita’ too. But I love them all. I’m a diehard fan.

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      • I look forward to hearing the next set of 4 which I ordered for a reasonable price on amazon, so they are available globally. I especially like “Vida Numero Dos” which I think is a profound piece and captures many different musical elements…some of which I have written about:

        https://www.amazon.com/Simon-Leng/e/B001K8QRDK/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1490012790&sr=1-2-ent

        I am pro-Uruguay so probably biased but as well as great soccer players and teams the country has produced some really world class music with Opa, Ruben Rada and Jaime Roos leading the pack. Outstanding musicians.

        Best wishes…

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