Jaime Roos He was already the most important musician in Uruguay but almost unknown on this river bank, when landed in August 1990 -exactly 30 years ago- in the disappeared Shams, to offer four mythical recitals with which, together with his band, La Escuelita, he definitely conquered the Argentine public.

The anniversary coincides with the first rehearsals that anticipate his return to the stage, after five years of ostracism that closely resembled a definitive retirement. The date originally set for his return was August of this year. The pandemic forced to reschedule it for April 2021, in the Sodre auditorium in Montevideo.

These days, at his home in La Floresta (a town 50 kilometers from Montevideo), he met up with his band to start heating up engines for Half-century, series of concerts with which he will celebrate – presumably also in Argentina – his fifty years with music.

"I got off the stage in mid-2015 absolutely burned," Roos told journalist Andrés Torrón in the interview published on médium.com. "I really doubted that I would perform again live. As I know that you should never say 'never ever', I kept quiet my mouth, but inside I had big doubts that my itching would return. Three and a half years passed and the bruise did not go away. Only at the beginning of 2019 did I begin to feel that I wanted to do "something" (.). a lot of attention to what people were transmitting to me. 95 percent wanted to see me live and 5 percent – where most of my friends are – wanted a new album. I must have done a self-psychoanalysis for a month. There were days when I woke up thinking that I had to go up on stage and break everything. But the next day I would get up and say to myself "but I'm crazy, not to the mincer again" and dismiss it outright. psychoanalyst but I realized he knew what he was going to ask me. I did the therapy myself and finally I assumed that I wanted to do a concert, and right there I started to imagine and plan it with renewed enthusiasm. "

The largest on the other shore

Thirty years before this celebratory return, Roos was already considered el most inspired follower of candombe beat -a fusion of genres emerged in the heat of the Beatles in the 60s-, with its own language where the murga and the candombe, Rubén Rada and Eduardo Mateo, soccer and the neighborhood, the Beatles and Santana came together. His successes were heard throughout Uruguay. Very especially from "Brindis por Pierrot", a song created for the voice of the Canary Moon, which was recorded in November 1985 and became a hymn. Still, in Argentina he was still a cult artist.

Jaime Roos, 30 years after his consecration in Buenos Aires Credit: Andrés Torrón / medium.com

Roos had arrived for the first time in 1982, to offer a series of recitals in La Trastienda (by Thames and Gorriti), coinciding with the release of an already unbreathable LP edited by Philips, which compiled versions of his three initial albums and which included his first hymn: "The Olympians". But that was not, by far, something like a consecration. He remained an artist for minorities, a secret shared only by musicians, Uruguayan immigrants, fans of oriental music and some who glimpsed the artist's historical significance.

The second "foundation"

Roos occasionally returned to play in another redoubt for music lovers, La Casona del Conde de Palermo. And he even appeared in the implausible Tropitango de Constitución, where he did his performance before a tropical outfit dressed as a leopard, which got him out of trouble by lending him monitoring equipment. Although they did not know it then, it was the last time he came to Argentina with the Canario Luna, the voice of "Toast to Pierrot". The bond between the two was broken before their consecration in Shams, due to insurmountable dissent. Possibly in August 1988, when Jaime Roos appeared in the city of Pando and performed the entire concert without his singer singer. "Are you waiting for the Canary Moon?" Said the leader of the band, visibly annoyed, at the end of the concert. "Well, we also."

Shams marked the definitive launch of the oriental artist, but it may never have happened: the path to reach that series of concerts was covered with misfortunes. First of all, because he himself was skeptical about his luck. He had already warned that his music was only of interest to a select group, that the pay was low and that the technical conditions (lights, sound and setting) were poor.

Cover of the first Jaime Roos album that was released in Argentina (1982)
Cover of the first Jaime Roos album that was released in Argentina (1982)

He also did not know who Elio Barbeito was, once a pioneer of the Uruguayan beat scene based in Buenos Aires and who became a record producer, who had contacted him to propose a recital. Barbeito was luckier than Isabel Noriega, director of the Confluencia label, who in 1988 also traveled to Montevideo and obtained a two-year license for the LP Midfield. But it collided with the artist's reluctance to promote the release. The album (another of Roos' many gems) had a poor circulation. But at least he opened another door.

With $ 200 borrowed, in that same 1988 Barbeito had launched into the record market with his label, Barca. It started with I lichen roc, by Leo Masliah – who had published Orpheus in Uruguay – on cassette: the budget was not enough to make vinyl. He had a stroke of fortune: the Musimundo chain bought him 500 units. Weight on weight. Simultaneously, he began producing Masliah's recitals. It was enough to repay the loan and return to Montevideo to soak up the news.

He returned to Buenos Aires with three recent releases: The fly (by Eduardo Mateo), Ball in the middle (by Jorge Lazaroff) and Counter (by Jaime Roos). His nose, or the stroke of luck, made him put his ear to the latter. He asked at Orpheus if he could try the same with him as with Masliah: the release of his album and the programming of shows. The first answer disappointed him: the priority was with Litto Nebbia. Still, they trusted Barbeito.

The Shams program (1990), the Buenos Aires consecration of Jaime Roos
The Shams program (1990), the Buenos Aires consecration of Jaime Roos

The second drawback was that Barbeito did not have a weight to hold the recitals. He turned to an air cargo businessman who was transporting polo horses, named José Pedro Saralegui, a fan of Roos. I only knew about him that he wanted to bring to Argentina the great Uruguayan musician. And that he wanted a fixed cachet and also, be in charge of the staging. It seemed like an insurmountable setback. So he went straight to borrow a thousand dollars. Without that money, no trip was possible. Saralegui not only gave them to him immediately: although they had only just met, he did not want to agree to sign a paper.

Even with these vicissitudes, another obstacle could truncate the landing of Roos in Buenos Aires: Shams was bankrupt, and his concerts would be the last before the final closing. On the four nights of the Jaime Roos cycle – from August 9 to 12 – there were tax inspectors planted in the box office waiting to seize the collection. Since the tickets had literally flown in presale, there was never any cash in the box. The inspectors, not to leave empty-handed, seized the profit from the bar.

Jaime Roos at Shams in August 1990
Jaime Roos at Shams in August 1990

The Uruguayan performance was magical. The venue, which exploded in public the four nights (the tickets had been oversold), raved with a repertoire strategically based on the murguero themes, with the choir of the murga Missing and Rest (Pinocchio Routin, Rolando Fleitas and Capincho Medina). Cwith the great Hugo Fattorusso on keyboards. And with Cheché Echenique (drums), Diego Ebbeler (keyboards), Popo Romano (bass) and Walter Burgos (percussion) completing La Escuelita. By the way, it definitively broke the myth that Uruguayan artists were only for Uruguayan public.

In those recitals were the successes that had consolidated Roos's career: "The future murguistas", "Let the lyricist not forget", "Peach and Convention", "Loving you", "Comet of the lamppost", "The sister of the rabbit "," The Olympians "and" Goodbye youth ", among others. There was an off-program bonus: the presence of Rubén Rada, with whom he performed "La mandanga" and the recently released "América swe". Only missing "Toast to Pierrot". For its creator, the commitment that only the Luna Canary would sing it was sacred. And for more than fifteen years he never included it in his repertoire.

In November 1990, just three months after Shams, Jaime Roos gathered 5,000 people at Obras
In November 1990, just three months after Shams, Jaime Roos gathered 5,000 people at Obras

Shams opened the door for an almost immediate return: on November 17 of that same year, Jaime Roos literally burst Sanitary Works. On that occasion, before almost five thousand people, he understood that finally, the Argentine public vibrated on the same string. The impact was such that by extending the encores for half an hour the stadium doors opened and the public, instead of concentrating, kept singing on the sidewalk. I could already play at home.


. (tagsToTranslate) 30 years after the Buenos Aires consecration of Jaime Roos – LA NACION


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