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The Welsh-Argentine Guitar Duo (Adam Khan, Luis Orias Diz)

Voyage to Patagonia

The Welsh-Argentine Guitar duo's formation originally owed itself to a chance meeting at Leo Brouwer masterclass. However, it wasn't until 2006, some 15 years later that they formally came together as a duo.

The duo's collaboration effectively marks a contrinuation of over 2 centuries of collaboration between Wales and Argentina, with the orginal Welsh immigrants settling in Patagonia, Southern Argentina, to preserve their language and cultural identity.

"Voyage to Patagonia" takes its name from the title of one the key works, from the Welsh composer, Dafudd Bullock. The six pieces, interweave Welsh and Argentionian folk melodies, to recount the epic journey undertaken by the Welsh settlers to Patagonia some 200 years ago.

The fact that Stephen Goss features as an arranger for the duo on this recording, is a real testament to the duo's musical and technical prowess. Particular highlights of the six folksongs he arranged for the duo are the legendary Welsh harpist David Owen's haunting deathbed composition and "Lisa Lan " (Fair Lisa), a lover's lament which took the Owen's melody and put it to song around 100 years' later.

Next up comes "Papas de Balcarce", translating literally as potatoes of Balcarce(!) Composed for the Belgian International Guitar Festical in 1987, this represents one of Fernando Millet's earlier works, and is based around a northern Argentina folk style called "lutito".

Jorge Cardoso needs no real introduction and neither does his well-loved "Milonga". Less familiar is likely to be the reasoning behind the piece, which has its roots in the dark days of the harsh military and political regime in Argentina in the 197Os. This is followed up by a Milonga of a different guide, from Carlos Moscardini. The milonga was actually a popular song whose roots lie in the suburbs or barrios of Buenos Aires. The counterpoint of the conflicting melodies is designed to capture an impromptu duel which were often played out with fatal consequences within such surroundings in times gone by.

"El promitedo" or promise was written for the duo by and takes the style of rondo, particularly characteristic of the composer's Chamame pieces. The slow tempo and minor mode composition give the piece a highly contemplative feel, which is captured extremely well by the duo.

"Goodbye Alun and thank you" is a fitting tribute to the well-loved Welsh composer Alun Hoddinott, renowned for is hospitality and generosity in helping young composers at the outset of the careers. Much of the pitch material comprises of the opening bell like sounds in A dn B natural (B being H in German) and hence the spelling out of Alun's initials. The pieces features a really interesting interweaving of independent and complementary lines between the two players.

"Truco" concludes this exciting release, taking its name from a popular latin american card game played between pairs and heavily reliant on cunning and ruses to come out on top. Each of "Trucos" four movements are designed to coincide with the four different stages of the game.

In summary, this is an excellent release from a duo from which more will undoubtedly come. Highly recommended!

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