Félix Pérez Cardozo

Harpist and composer Félix Pérez Cardozo was one of the first Paraguayan musicians to achieve international fame. Born in Yahaty, a small village near Villarrica in Paraguay on November 20, 1908, Cardozo grew up in humble circumstances in a rural area rich in nature and wild life.The images of these surroundings would provide the inspiration for future compositions. As a young boy, Cardozo was introduced to the harp by a blind man, who helped Cardozo develop his musical "voice". In 1931, the 23-year-old Cardozo teamed up with guitarists Diosnel Chase and Angel Villaba. Together they toured Paraguay and eventually ended up in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In the bustling Argentinean metropolis, Cardozo struggled as he eked out a meagre living as a musician.

Like many of his contemporaries, he played in confiterias (tea salons) and worked for various radio stations, including the popular Radio Belgrano. Heavily influenced by Paraguayan folk traditions, Cardozo's music slowly gained popularity with a public that started to appreciate his fast-paced galopas (gallops) and the slower guaranias (waltzes).

Cardozo's name quickly became synonymous with the harp and Paraguay. He developed a popular musical show called Noches de Paraguay (Paraguayan Nights) and recorded many of his compositions, including Sueño de Angelita and El tren lechero. Every time Cardozo performed his best-known song, Pájaro campana (inspired by the bell bird), enthusiastic audiences gave him standing ovations. Unfortunately Cardozo's reign as "king of the Paraguayan harp" was cut short when he died in Buenos Aires on June 9, 1953, at the age of 45.

See Also:
The Paraguayan Harp

CD's Available:

Oliver Sudden Productions K10-12CD
The Art of the Paraguayan Harp

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