Andalusian Music 

Meets the Oud

Iris C F Gomes

An Argentinian by birth and an Italian by descent, Ignacio Lusardi Monteverde was born into a musically inclined family and it is no surprise that he took to music like a fish to water. ‘The earliest memories of music I have must be listening to my brothers playing. At home there was always the company of live music coming from a Spanish guitar and an electric guitar,’ says Ignacio, who began learning classical guitar at a very young age in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The country that was once under the Spanish rule has much to offer by way of blissfully enthralling music. 

Ignacio explains his proclivity towards the guitar, especially the Spanish Flamenco guitar, ‘It just started naturally… did not require a decision.’ It seemed almost inevitable as it is commonplace to have a guitar in every Argentinian home. Besides, South American music, which is something all Argentinians grow up with, is usually rendered with the aid of a guitar as it is with the Argentinian Tango. ‘In times when there was no access to the internet, playing an instrument was an exciting thing to do to pass the long hours. The interest for Andalusian and Flamenco music started when I was about 11, when I found a Paco de Lucia's album at home. I remember falling in love with that sound which was completely different to what I was used to; not only the technical aspects but the melodic and modal character too,’ says Ignacio. 

The 8th of August 2015, saw Ignacio playing at his concert titled Concierto de Aranjuez. The music compiled in the programme, which he spent half a year preparing, consisted of an amalgamation of the Arabic and Spanish traditions. The study of the connection between these two traditions was a recent project undertaken by Ignacio and Iraqi Oud player Ahmed Mukhtar. The performance included Joaquin Rodrigo’s guitar concert and other works made for Arabic Oud but adapted for the Spanish guitar. He was invited to perform at the Art Chamber by Rudolf Ludwig, the owner and manager, as Rudolf had heard that Ignacio would be performing with the equally talented Santiago Lusardi Girelli at the NCPA (National Centre for the Performing Arts) , Mumbai, on the 23rd of August. Concierto de Aranjuez also featured Santiago Lusardi Girelli and Raviraj Naik as guest musicians.

Though Ignacio’s parents do not play an instrument, they have always encouraged their children to pursue careers in music. Santiago Lusardi Girelli, Ignacio’s brother, is well-known for his music courses at Goa University as well as conducting the Goa University Choir. Ignacio says of his brother, ‘Santo and I grew up playing together. It was and is still a lot of fun. We know and understand each other, and have that special connection that blood gives. We collaborate together in many music productions, recordings, choir projects and orchestral works.’

As a proficient sound engineer, Ignacio has recorded music of various genres in his studios in Buenos Aires and London. Having attained his master’s degree in choral conducting, he is able to record live studio performances of classical music ensembles and soloists.

There was a time Ignacio believed that playing music well required a magical talent, but he has since learnt it is only through hard work, consistency and hours of study every single day that this is possible. A disciplined regime must be followed, slowly but surely, to achieve a high level of musical ability. He considers music playing a scientific phenomenon.

The gifted Argentinian who has touched Goa with his lilting tunes, says, ‘I will probably be returning to Goa for other collaborations in upcoming festivals next year.’ We look forward to that time for more engaging guitar playing.