Friday, August 27, 2010

When we were happy and did not know it: Nestor Zavarce is dead

Anyone of us born in the 50ies and the 60ies in Venezuela was raised with "El Pajaro Chogüi", Nestor Zavarce biggest hit besides one of the very few original songs ever written for New Year "Cinco para las doce" (as much as I like Chigüi I dislike Cinco. But apparently I am an original on that....)

Zavarce's songs were these of a Venezuela awakening to democracy, where everything still seemed possible, when we barely were ten million people and Caracas had still a spring like constant weather. The "Pajaro chogüi" in spite of its dreary topic still manages to be effervescently optimistic for some unexplainable reason.  That was Venezuela music then, not the drab or trite or alien stuff we hear now which has very little of Venezuela if you ask me.   Not that today nothing good happens, the Onechot video I posted a few days ago certainly proves that essential stuff can still be produced, but it is a competley different world.

Not to sound like and old gizzard, but the Caracas of my childhood in the 60ies bears no resemblance with the hell that it has become today.  Nor does the music.  Zavarce was still a link to our musical past, with Torrealbla, Romero and many others whose traditions you would be in deep trouble trying to sieve for in today's scene, even within chavismo who pretends to return to our sources but whose supporters en masse have probably little idea who Zavarce was.  Never mind he was also an Adeco...  Now what people want is escape and party music.  They might be right, but I ain't following.

Now, at 74, Zavarce died today. A page is turned.

PS1: listen to the words and think about whehter such a song could be written in today PC world.
PS2: the video sucks but the sound track is OK, which is what matters since by the time Zavarce retired TV MTV did not exits yet.


  1. Thanks for posting Daniel.We share these' old gizzard' feelings completely.

    This was and still is in many ways... my world.I am a classical musician but also love our old folk music.I would have died a happy death in the old Caracas-Or in the old El Tigre or whatever.The 5 para las doce song is sad but it reminds me of my beloved Tia so I love it.We WERE happier back then bathed in the sweetness of serenades,and the poetic/ whimsical innocence of Venezuelan soul.About the only bad times at parties I can remember from then were when people suffered from a Mondongo effect.

    Now I can only imagine the amount of Cocaine accompanied by dark Regaton or gangster rap that goes on .I would never have moved to the Venezuela of this type of music. We are witnessing a rapid degeneration of the spirit.

    The onechot video portrays some of the truth of Caracas today but it is worthless in any poetic sense and its music expresses a low life emotionality-
    a darker than dark destruction in its tone and content.

    With love and deep sadness I left my country
    "llorando y volando "and I long for it again.When this Alien civilization stops raping the country...I keep on dreaming and hoping.

  2. Thank you Daniel for posting this song. It brought me way back several decades ago when I was a child, and sang it aloud. I did not know that it was a Nestor Zavarce song.

  3. Anonymous9:28 PM

    Thank you, Daniel, for posting this. I was born and raised in Managua, Nicaragua (a child of the 50's!). This music certainly brings up memories of songs from that era, not just from VZLA, but from other countries who wanted to come into their own at that time. I won't go so far as to say that Nicaragua did; in fact, Nicaragua still hasn't gotten there :-(.

  4. Boludo Tejano12:49 PM

    A beautiful version of a beautiful song. Zavarce’s voice reminds me of Julio Iglesias. Not having the same past as Venezuelans, I cannot compare the song to bygone days, but Zavarce’s version of the song definitely had an emotional impact on me that transcends cultural knowledge.

    PS1: listen to the words and think about whether such a song could be written in today PC world.
    IMHO, the original lyrics to "El Pajaro Chogüi" could still have been written in Paraguay today. Paraguay has long acknowledged its Guaraní part. IMHO, the "indiecito" would fly today as much in Paraguay as it did decades ago. Those who have more current exposure to Paraguay than I would be better qualified to comment, as my exposure to Paraguay is from long ago, when Big Al was ruling the roost. While I have a handle on what PC would mean in the US, I lack knowledge of Venezuela to definitively say what would be PC these days in Venezuela. In the US, "little Indian" would be changed to "little Native American," most likely.

    Nestor Zavarce’s version of "El Pajaro Chogüi" done a half century ago had already "Bowdlerized" the original Paraguayan song. Only one reference to Guaraní remained in his version. All references to “cielo Guaraní” were changed to “cielo azul turqui” – or something like that. [Pardon my transcription, if it is incorrect.] In that sense, one might say that Nestor Zavarce’s version of "El Pajaro Chogüi" had already anticipated PC, by changing the lyrics. The reason for changing the lyrics were most likely more commercial than PC, as the average Venezuelan connects with references to Guaraní to the degree that the average Paraguayan connects with references to arepas.

    The instrumentation of Zavarce’s version of "El Pajaro Chogüi" sounds Paraguayan. In that sense, Zavarce was faithful to the original song. By contrast, his version of Paisajes de Catamarca does not sound Argentinian- no bombo. Perhaps the lesson here is that Venezuelan folk music more closely resembles Paraguayan folk music than it does the folk music of Northern Argentina. The harp, for one.[I am enough of an old geezer to have owned albums of Paraguayan harp music for decades, to make the comparison.]

  5. Debe ser 'cielo Guarani'. Daniel, thanks so much for posting this!
    (Chaco Mom) :)

  6. A photo from my window of a pajarito y 'el Cielo Guaraní'


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