July 13, 2014

The Bandoneon Player

Lately I have been revisiting the year I studied the Argentine Tango and finishing the drawings that I had started at that time. There were numerous sketches of dancers from that era. But at one of the evening Milongas I made sketches of the musicians. I recently revised the sketches of the bandoneon player Osvaldo Barrios. I sketched him live as he performed on his favorite bandoneon, a taped together old thing that he loved for its sound. On one of his breaks he explained that he had painstakingly kept this instrument alive because the sound was better than any of the new ones he tried to replace it with. That may have been so but when I watched him seem to merge with the instrument as he played I felt that it was an old familiar friend that he could not forsake.

The pictures were originally rough pencil line drawings but I have finished them in charcoals and pastels. The blackened background helps off set Osvaldo’s wiry white hair.

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