Juan Falú, an interview

Juan Falú – The great guitarplayer

Today you can listen to my interview with the guitarist and composer Juan Falú.

He is one of the most innovative personalities of the current folk scene in Argentina and has done a lot for its dissemination. Among other things, he is the artistic director of the “Guitars of the World” festival, where the most important guitarists from all over the world perform.

Juan Falú was born on October 10, 1948 in San Miguel de Tucumán, in northwestern Argentina. His paternal grandparents were Syrian immigrants. In the 1960s and 1970s, Juan Falú was a co-founder of the National Student Union and fought with left-wing Peronists in Tucumán, the Peronist Armed Forces.

His brother Luis Eduardo is a disappeared person from the military dictatorship. Juan Falú was able to escape to Brazil and lived there in exile until 1983.

I spoke with Juan Falú in January 2011 at his music studio in San Telmo. It was an exciting and moving conversation that lasted almost an hour. And we finished it off with a glass of wine to wet our parched throats.

The Juan Falú podcast

I will divide the interview into two parts so that you can listen to everything Juan Falú told me: how he learned to play the guitar by ear, in the company of his friends. It was his music school. And that’s how he continues to play today.

At that time, Argentine folklore was very popular. Juan’s uncle, the great guitarist Eduardo Falú, introduced them to him recently. His extraordinary way of playing allowed him to interpret Argentine folklore as a soloist and make it known throughout the country.

There were also many vocal ensembles such as Los Fronterizos and Los Chalchaleros – some took a more traditional approach to repertoire, others more innovative. But they all felt connected to their musical roots.

Juan and his friends were also jazz enthusiasts, they listened to records by the Modern Jazz Quartet, John Coltrane and Dave Brubeck, by Carlos Jobim, Joao Gilberto and Astor Piazzolla. They left out the Beatles, unlike so many other young people of those years. Juan’s father also passed on his love for classical music.

uan Falú spoke of his close friendship and collaboration with the pianist Hilde Herrera, with whom he is dedicated to the most important personalities of Argentine folklore in the “Maestros del alma” cycle. And other collaborations with prominent musicians such as the wind player Marcelo Moguilevsky and the pianist Oscar Alem.

Juan Falú sang to me what characterizes and distinguishes the different folkloric rhythms of northwestern Argentina. He spoke of the renaissance of Argentine folklore in recent years and of the great quality of young musicians. I will introduce two of them, Juan Quintero and Carlos Aguirre, in the coming weeks.

Listen for yourselves to everything that Juan Falú, this great guitarist and composer, told me on that summer afternoon in Buenos Aires.

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