Eduardo Berti: "Troilo played with his eyes closed because that's how he saw everything"
In what way does the tango dance among the porteños? And even more: what remains today of the legacy of one of its greatest exponents, Aníbal "Pichuco" Troilo? Some attempts to answer are found in Why do we listen to Troilo? , the new book by Eduardo Berti that opens a new collection of books by Gourmet Musical Ediciones that aims to unravel our passion for some musicians. Berti, born in 1964, is part of the prestigious and avant-garde group OuLiPo (to which Italo Calvino and Raymond Quenau belonged) and an integral writer who has traveled the translation, the story, the novel and even the non-fiction with his indispensable Spinetta: Chronicle e illuminations . Troilus died when Berti was 13 years old. His name, after Gardel's, is that of the tango epic: that of the great singers and the classics like Sur , Barrio de Tango, Garúa and María .
Already the meeting for the interview, in a bar in Buenos Aires, is blissfully "troileano": "the corner" in "a piece of neighborhood" under the "garúa" that fades days ago to Buenos Aires. The "why" of the title is deceptively simple and at the same time overflowing with humor. Is it a self-improvement book why? Is there in the first person plural the certainty, endorsed with data and numbers, of the number of Argentines we listen to Troilo? None of that, but much more. But why, then? "Because if I wrote a book about Steely Dan, Caetano Veloso or Nick Drake, artists that I shuffled, I already knew what I was going to write about them. With tango no. Troilo was a challenge because it is like the sun of the planetary tango system : it dialogues with Gardel and with Piazzolla, with the best lyricists, with the singers who learned from him. Their melodies may be the most splendid music of the second half of the 20th century in our country. "
Look also Leaks and mysteries of a genius Troilo was called the Buddha of Buenos Aires, the Japanese, the sparrow with gomina, the Fat ... Pichuco. All those names are, and in a different way, in this work by Berti. Without a hard chronology that dictates its order, the air that runs through its reading is that of the freedom of a bellows that breathes: notes, historical data, apocryphal characters, reflections. There are chapters called "Maestro Troilo", in which, as a porteño-zen, Troilo converses with a hypothetical student: they are famous phrases of the musician, but mixed with expressions of William Blake, Ambrose Bierce or Beethoven, which the author was banging on the ears like music of the language of Pichuco. Test the reader and you will not find anything else "troileano": - "Teacher," the student asked, "what would it cost you most to share in this life? - A pity dear student, a penalty. " Or the chapter "Japanese portrait of Aníbal Troilo", which uses figurations, conjectures, periphrasis: "If the National Anthem was a tango written by Troilo, it would be South ". Troilo's "eraser" is famous, with which he reduced the excesses of his arrangers in the score. Berti, a man of letters at the end, could see in Troilo a quality that goes beyond musical composition: "Troilo is like Hemingway's iceberg theory: the less you sample the more you suggest . The Buenos Aires de Troilo is not the great panorama of the hundred neighborhoods of Buenos Aires. It is a poetic synthesis: the corner, "a warehouse light"; it is the detailed plan and not the comprehensive view. On the other hand, there is also an almost sociological awareness in Troilo and his lyricists, they perceive a Buenos Aires that was disappearing, that was going to stop being the one of before: for that reason The last organito , The last bluff ".
-What is left of Troilo today? -It's like those writers who turn into bronze, into a bill shape and then they stop reading. Of course you listen to Troilo, but sometimes it is summarized in Sur or in the recital of Nocturno to my neighborhood . The myth and the name cover a bit of this enormous compositional work. And it is a work that still has a lot to say. -Does he still represent tango? -I think we still live the great renovation of the 90s of tango, right at that moment in Argentina so tilingo, so submissive that it seemed that there would be no bandoneonists and as instinct of pure survival, they began to multiply musicians and tango listeners . And you think of Spinetta, of his father, singer of tangos, in '... girl's voice of a sparrow' and you remember Malena's voice as a lark . Or Animal Song of Soda Stereo - "Hypnotism of a sweet flagellum, so sweet ..." -, and it's tango. And all that Troilo knew. That's why, when playing the bandoneon, Troilo closed his eyes: because he saw everything.