The vast territory
of the Argentine Republic contains areas with various geographical
characteristics where specific musical forms are developed,
an expression of the cultures endemic to each place. Because
of its character as a metropolis, Buenos Aires was the centre
of its music, the tango, and was the sounding board and
the platform for the diffusion of regional musical rhythms.
In the 1960s, this diffusion was dedicated to the rhythms
of the Argentine Northwest, the zamba and the chacarera,
and the groups that cultivated them. Before this, it had
been the centre of Cuyo music, in the 1940s. 1980 was the
high point of coastal music, especially the chamamé. As
important representatives of these last two musical trends,
Buenaventura Luna and the Sheridan brothers were examples
of Argentines of Irish origin who participated actively
in the creation and interpretation of the music of their
September 2009, it was twenty years since the traffic
accident in Bella Vista in the Province of Corrientes
in the Northeast of Argentina. That accident took the
lives of Joaquín and Miguel Ángel Sheridan, known as 'Gringo'
and 'Michel'. They participated, together with other chamamé
musicians, in an artistic tour that they had planned to
conclude at a popular music festival in France to which
they had been invited.
Sheridan and Julio Cáceres had set up the group Los de
Imaguaré in 1977 in the City of Mercedes, in the centre
of the Province of Corrientes. The group also included
two guitarists, one of whom, from 1983, was Miguel Ángel
Sheridan. During that period they recorded five albums,
including Viajeros de Sueños, Chamamecero,
Nuestro Canto and Memoria de la Sangre.
'Gringo' and 'Michel' Sheridan pulled out of Los de Imaguaré
in 1986 to set up a new group named Quinteto Reencuentro,
together with their brother Santiago, known as 'Bocha',
Ricardo 'Tito' Gómez and Orlando Caroso Gutiérrez. Quinteto
Reencuentro debuted in June 1986 in the City of Corrientes.
At the time of the tragedy, the group had recorded three
albums, Neike chamigo, El canto de nuestra
gente and Por el viejo camino. The popular
resonance that they achieved in such a short time was
extraordinary. They broke records in audiences with a
musical repertoire that rescued successes of the 1950s
from oblivion. Famous chamamés, such as 'Basilio Magos',
a chamamé that was a success for the Santa Ana Quartet,
that had been forgotten, recovered their place in Joaquín’s
bandoneon, 'Michel'’s voice and his duet with 'Bocha'.
Julián Zini, a Catholic priest, provided a strong spiritual
impression reciting poems during the group’s performances.
In the year 1991, “Bocha” Sheridan returned to the group.
The results of this new group were the albums Al fin
de cuentas and Por este sueño azul.
Sheridan brothers, three of a family of seven children
of Andrés Aníbal Sheridan and Eva Jesús Ramona Vallejos,
dedicated to cattle-raising at the 'Paraje San Salvador',
knew how to express emotion in music and in singing. In
order to do this, they chose the musical form of chamamé,
happy and stimulating, which reached all of the peoples
of the Argentine Mesopotamia. Andrés, the father of these
musicians, and his five brothers, were sons of Felipe
Santiago and grandsons of Philip Sheridan and María Cook.
Philip, who had been born in Ireland in 1857, began the
life of the Sheridans in the countryside of Corrientes
at the beginning of the twentieth century, raising Aberdeen
Angus cows and Romey Marsh sheep. Still, in the City of
Mercedes, in the centre of the Province of Corrientes,
you can see the red stone house that Philip acquired in
order to settle there with his family.
the other side of Argentina, in Huaco in the department
of Jáchal in the area before the mountain range in the
Province of San Juan, Buenaventura Luna was born on 19
January 1906. He was a journalist at the daily La
Reforma, the information organ of the Unión Cívica
Radical Bloquista, and later at his own newspaper, La
Montaña, with the motto 'Learn as if you will live
forever. Live as if you will die tomorrow.'
this, he distanced himself from politics, and from the
graphic media he moved to radio. On Radio Graffigna, today
Radio Colón de San Juan, he produced and directed various
programmes during the 1930s ('A.Z. Zafarrancho Oral' and
'Doble Zafarrancho Vocal'), before travelling to Buenos
Aires in 1938 with La tropilla de Huachi Pampa. From 1940,
he directed a programme on Radio El Mundo in Buenos Aires
that was called 'El fogón de los arrieros', for which
he wrote scripts in verse that were later dramatised as
a radio soap opera. To speak of 'El fogón de los arrieros'
is to mention the most listened-to programme in radio
during those years, with the presence that radio had in
city and countryside homes. 'El fogón de los arrieros'
was the scene where not only La tropilla de Huachi Pampa,
but also Los manseros de Tulum and Los pastores de Abra
Pampa found their place.
was how figures such as Antonio Tormo began to achieve
celebrity. He arrived with Buenaventura Luna as part of
La tropilla de Huachi Pampa and in 1942, he separated
from the group in order to start his solo career as 'el
cantor de las cosas nuestras', the first great success
as a solo artist in Argentine traditional music. From
his place on 'El fogón de los arrieros', Buenaventura
Luna broadcast Cuyo music to the Argentines, giving the
first inspiration for the diffusion of traditional music,
through groups that remain in the popular memory, such
as Quilla Huasi, the last and probably the most remembered
of the traditional groups in whose creation Buenaventura
Luna was involved.
programme, as well as '6 estampas argentinas' and 'La
voz del hogar', on the same station; and 'El canto perdido'
and 'Al paso que van los años' on Radio Splendid, were
the platform that made Buenaventura Luna into an undeniable
reference in Argentine radio. He always found space to
make reflections of a philosophical or sociological nature,
in which he cited José Ortega y Gasset or José Hernández.
least forty of the poems he wrote were published after
his death: in 1962, an analysis of his work and an anthology
of twenty poems were released in a publication that it
is impossible to find today in public libraries: Buenaventura
Luna, mensaje de tierra adentro. In 1985, as part
of an homage to him by the National Senate thirty years
after his death, Buenaventura Luna, su vida y su canto
was published, which is also difficult to find today.
In this work, we can see a fine language, where metaphor
and personifications are included, using the sonnet, alejandrinos,
and the Spanish traditional octosyllabic.
the field of popular song, he is the author of 'Vallecito',
'Zamba de las tolderías', 'Puentecito de mi río' and more
than two hundred other songs. He used indigenous terms,
archaicisms and criollismos that were composed
according to the meter of bagualas, bailecitos, cifras,
cuecas, chacareras, estilos, gatos, milongas, tonadas,
triunfos, waltzes and zambas. Tributo a Buenaventura
Luna, published by the provincial body of the San
Juan Tourist Office and Un homenaje a Buenaventura
Luna, su vida y su obra, produced in 1996 by Melopea,
are two discographic registers that recover a part of
the enormous quantity of lyrics to which Buenaventura
Luna put music. This allows us to recognise that he was
also a musician: in one sense, yes, although he did not
know how to play any instrument, nor how to write a score
on a pentagram: he whistled the music and dictated it
in this way to his companions, who put it to paper and
to keyboard. The result was a new song with lyrics by
Buenaventura Luna and music by Hermes Vieyra, Eduardo
Falú and Oscar Valles.
what did Buenaventura Luna have to do with Ireland? One
hundred years before he was born, during the first of
the British Invasions of the River Plate, the soldier
John Dougherty arrived as part of a battalion. The British
troops were confined to various provinces of the Viceroyalty.
Almost three hundred of them were destined for San Juan,
John Dougherty and his brother William among them, and
they arrived there in December 1806. John Dougherty married
María Mercedes Cabot and went to live with her in Tucumán,
where he came to be known as Dojorti. One of the two children
of this marriage, Eusebio Dojorti Cabot, settled in San
Juan and married Josefa Maso there in 1837. From this
marriage, Eusebio Dojorti was born. He exercised the role
of sub-delegate of the government in Jáchal and married
Josefa Delfina Suárez Tello, the proprietor of a mill
in Huaco, a village next to that city. Eusebio and Josefa
are the parents of Ricardo Dojorti, the first intendente
of Jáchal, who married Urbellina Rocco and gave birth
to another Eusebio: Eusebio de Jesús Dojorti.
In this village of Huaco, next to the old mill, Eusebio de Jesús Dojorti shared his childhood with workers and peasants that worked for the family, understood their ambitions and difficulties and took upon himself the commitment to give voice to those feelings and to fight for a better life for all. In order to express those ideals, Eusebio de Jesús Dojorti borrowed the name of one of the workers of his parents’ house, Buenaventura Luna, who was in charge of the herding of the animals and responsible for milking, and who passed on to the young poet the first stories by the campfires or on the saddles.
left Huaco and Jáchal at a very young age, but everyone
there still remembers him. They remember him as Buenaventura
Luna, but also as 'El Cabezón (Big Head)', in what can
also be considered a distinctive characteristic of an
Irish person among the criollos. Eusebio de Jesús
Dojorti, Buenaventura Luna, died in Buenos Aires on 29
July 1955 from cancer of the larynx, which deprived him
of his voice as a singer, though not of his love for song.
of the origin of their families and their surnames, both
Buenaventura Luna and the Sheridan brothers are recognisably
Irish, but they are also recognisable for their love for
music as an expression of the feelings of the land in
which they were born.
Eduardo Cormick has received literary prizes such as the
Iniciación de Novela from the National Secretary of Education
for his novel Almacén y despacho de bebidas El Alba
(1992), the Joven Literatura prize from the Fundación
Fortabat (1996), and Edenor - El arte de la novela corta
from the Fundación El Libro for his book Quema su
memoria, which features the character of William
Brown in his old age as protagonist (2004). He also published
Entre gringos y criollos in 2006, comprising narratives
about rural and urban life in the province of Buenos Aires.