Pedro Quijano

Real name: Quijano Mansilla, Pedro
Guitarist, teacher and composer
(29 September 1875 - n/d)
Place of birth:
Salta Argentina

e is another one of the many forgotten tango forgers through the passing of time. The only things left are some sheet music copies and some short information by other musicians. He signed his pieces as Pedro M. Quijano but we didn’t know what the letter M means, until we found his real name.

Thanks to the information provided by Matilde and Paula (granddaughter and great-granddaughter of Quijano), we knew he was born in the province of Salta and died in Buenos Aires around the year 1944 or 1945.

For these reasons the data contributed by Domingo Prat in his Dictionary of 1934 (Editions Orphée-Columbus) are very important:

«In 1887 he entered the Conservatorio Nacional which was directed then by Don Juan Gutiérrez. He studied violin playing and even though he did not finish his studies he achieved a command of the instrument. By listening to an itinerant singer that played guitar at one of the typical venues of the old Buenos Aires where music was played in big reunions Quijano was influenced to study guitar. He was self-taught in guitar playing but he was helped by the previous musical knowledge he had.

«He frequently visited Raconi’s store, on Perú and Garay Streets and the Berbenita, on Belgrano and Saavedra, where the most famous guitarists and payadores of that time used to meet. Men like Alais, Garcia Tolsa, Pablo Simeone, Caprino, Emir Absandastek (a Turk that admirably played Argentine folk music), Gabino Gardizábal (the payador that influenced Quijano for playing guitar), Gabino Ezeiza, Pablo Vázquez, Nemesio Trejo (a great journalist, writer and payador) and many others reunited there. This meant for Quijano one of the most juicy lessons he had because his spirit, with a healthy desire for improvement, drove him to study and sharpened his attention toward the guitarists from whom he was able to pick up something.

«Once he had command of the instrument Pedro Quijano early devoted himself to teaching. He taught at the Conservatory of the Federal Capital in the period 1892-93 and at the Circle of Workers of Flores. He also taught privately and so he got in touch with distinguished Argentine families. We can mention the following disciples: Maria Luraschi, Maria Méndez, Lola Ocampo, Miss Espinosa, the Salgado sisters, Dr. Alejandro Zalbarriaga, governor of La Pampa, Dr. Obligado, lawyer and draftsman and Dr. Rueda who had previously studied with Alais, García and G. Sagreras.

«As a player Quijano only was heard in family houses, in intimate coteries; as member of rondallas, like the one which belonged to the Sociedad Los Baturros. Especially at those venues we mentioned above he polished his tools as guitarist and at the revolutionary camps of February 1904 where Quijano played music of vidalas on those long nights of waiting.

«The pieces he published are twenty-eight (28); but among them the ones that stand out are those that its author included in “Auras camperas”. Some of them like “Qué polvo con tanto viento” have turned out very popular for the Argentine ears. We say the same about “El arribeño” (estilo), “Ecos de mi pampa” (estilo), “La salteña” (zamba) and “Gato correntino”. We can say that there is no beginner or even some good guitarist that had omitted playing the latter two on some occasion.

«Lastly, Quijano has published three other numbers but, we have to admit that, they do not possess the rich flavor that was a trademark of the previous ones. Pedro Quijano’s popularity as composer maybe is mainly based on the belief that he had died. A supposition that lasted for more than twenty years. His peers, teachers in Argentina, revealed his pieces to their pupils and made them play them. If they knew he was alive hardly would they have done that. Anyway, shortly Quijano’s fame would grow due to the simplicity of his pieces and their rich motifs. The quality of his compositions despite they do not have a high musical flight —something that the composer did not aimed at— have values not withstanding the simplicity of his releases.»