Roque Librado Gonzalez, an interview

Dear listeners of our podcast series, The Masters of Music Count, very welcome! Today I present to you another edition of encounters with the greats of Argentine Folklore. More information about them and the transcript of the interviews can be found on our site

When I visited the Flores family in Corrientes in December 1993, Rudi Flores took me to see a famous accordionist and luthier who lived in the neighborhood: Roque Librado González.

Roque Librado Gonzalez was born on July 20, 1934 in San Luis del Palmar, province of Corrientes. He was able to make a living with music from a very young age, says Roque, first with the guitar and then with the accordion, which has accompanied him all his life.

In 1956, at the age of 22, he went by bicycle to visit the already famous Tránsito Cocomarola, which had invented its own style of Chamamé. They soon became friends and Roque began to play with “Taita”, the father of Chamamé – first in a trio with bandoneon, accordion and guitar. Then in a quintet or sextet with two or three singers, a guitarist, bandoneon and accordion. They toured everywhere with great success.

When Cocomarola died in 1974, Roque González did not want to continue playing without his close friend. He decided to dedicate himself to his accordions and bandoneons workshop.

He had already started repairing and improving accordions when he was young. Roque had nine brothers. He was the penultimate, his eldest brother, the second in line, was 15 years old. He knew a lot about accordions and helped his little brother from him.

Roque added a whole row of notes to his accordion to be able to play in all keys, which was unusual at the time. He even impressed his great Tránsito Idolo Cocomarola.

Accordionists and bandoneonists

The most famous accordionists and bandoneonists of the Chamamé used to come to Roque and have their instruments checked in his workshop: Antonio Tarrago Ros, Ernesto Montiel, Isaco Abitbol, ​​Raúl Barboza and many others. others.

In his workshop, Roque Librado Gonzalez told us, over a mate, about his close friendship with Tránsito Cocoamarola, with whom he had played for more than 20 years. At that time, the atmosphere in the dancers could get quite violent, he continued, saying. Roque was threatened several times with knives and forced to play the „Colorado” or other songs. , which the aggressor demanded.

He recounted the trajectory of Raúl Barboza, who had to emigrate to Paris because the public from Corrientes found his way of playing too virtuous and complicated. And he spoke of the “macho world” of the chamameceros, where only women were accepted as singers.

Listen yourselves to everything that Roque Librado González, this extraordinary accordionist and luthier, who passed away in November 2020 at the age of 86, told me on that beautiful summer afternoon in Corrientes.< /p>

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