Rodolfo Mederos

Real name: Mederos, Rodolfo
Bandoneon player, leader, composer and arranger
(25 March 1940 - )
Place of birth:
Buenos Aires Argentina
Ricardo García Blaya

obody can deny the virtues of this excellent bandoneon player and original arranger. But I must admit that his music never touched me even though I admire his innovative courage.

In his beginnings he was captivated by Astor Piazzolla but however he tried to get rid of that influence, he strived for more. Even though he had played with Astor and for several years he had joined the Osvaldo Pugliese Orchestra —alongside other young musicians of his generation that shared a similar musical idea—, he was after his own destiny.

This porteño born in the neighborhood of Constitución, whose childhood was spent in Entre Ríos, and who also went to the University of Córdoba to study biology, is a studious player of bandoneon.

After 1960 he put together his early groups to play at the provincial radio stations and on television. His Octeto Guardia Nueva had such an impact that Astor himself when he heard it during one of his tours, suggested him to travel to Buenos Aires.

When a few years later Piazzolla returned to Córdoba, the former invited Mederos to appear in his recitals.

In 1965 he traveled to Buenos Aires and cut his first record Buenos Aires, al rojo in which he plays Juan Carlos Cobián's and Astor Piazzolla's pieces as well as his own originals.

After spending two years abroad, firstly in Cuba and later in Paris, he came back to Argentina and in 1969 he joined the new Osvaldo Pugliese orchestra, which was formed due to the decision of its former players who wanted to play only with the sextet they had recently put together: the Sexteto Tango. There he was in the bandoneon section with Arturo Penón, Daniel Binelli and Juan José Mosalini.

In 1976 he put together a new outfit, which meant a cult for some: Generación Cero.

The appearance with his group Generación Cero was hardly conventional and irreverent. Its sound tried to achieve a triple fusion among jazz, rock and the song of Buenos Aires. It displayed far-fetched arrangements with impressionist reminiscences. It was an intentional rupture, a juvenile search that looked for a new road in music.

In spite of the fact that a bandoneon was one of the instruments of the group it did not mean that this rare and experimental music was a variant of the tango genre even though they played a tango tune, because neither the licks, nor the rhythm belonged to it and the arrangements modified the melody to the point of making it hardly recognizable. However, little by litle they were reaching an intellectual sector, avid for innovations.

In 1976, the first LP was released, Fuera de broma 8. It started a series of this never conformable and audacious style. The following albums were: De todas maneras (1977), Todo hoy (1978), Buenas noches, Paula (1983), Verdades y mentiras (1984) and Reencuentros (1989).

Despite its features, his proposal reached a widespread recognition and his artistic personality was growing and achieving public acclaim, especially abroad.

He began the 90s with a solid position in the musical scene. He returned to the recording studios with a new series of CD’s, in different settings: Tanguazo (1993), Carlos Gardel (1994), Mi Buenos Aires querido with a trio that spotlighted the great pianist Daniel Barenboim (1995), El día que Maradona conoció a Gardel (1996), El tanguero (1998) and Eterno Buenos Aires (1999). In 2000 he continued his output with the record Tango Mederos-Brizuela and with other disc that included the soundtrack of the film Las veredas de Saturno that he had composed twenty years before.

Besides this French-Argentine motion picture directed by Hugo Santiago (1986), he composed the soundtracks, or part of them, of: Sergio Renán’s Crecer de golpe (1976), Simón Feldman’s Memorias y olvidos (1987), Tristan Bauer’s Después de la tormenta (1991), Jana Bokova’s Diario para un cuento (1997), Jaime Chávarri's Sus ojos se cerraron (1998) and Bebé Kamin's Contraluz (2001).

In 1999, he formed a quintet with the pianist Hernán Posetti, the violinist Damián Bolotín, the guitarist Armando de la Vega and the double-bassist Sergio Rivas. They cut the above mentioned disc Eterno Buenos Aires.

His special ductility to blend with an air of tango different rhythms and genres can be evidenced in the series of recitals in which he appeared invited by folk, pop and rock musicians. As well we can highlight his collaborations in recordings with Mercedes Sosa and Luis Alberto Spinetta, and recently with the Catalonian Joan Manuel Serrat in his disc titled Cansiones. With the latter he had already played in 1994, in two numbers of the disc Nadie es perfecto.

Furthermore he was staff teacher of the subject Elementos técnicos del lenguaje del tango (Technical elements of the language of tango), in the Escuela de Música Popular de Avellaneda (School of Popular Music of Avellaneda).

We shall end this portrait with two sayings of Mederos himself that help to understand him better: «Somewhere art must irritate and arouse suspicions. Art is authentic when it is not complacent».

«There is a kind of piazzollization that is smothering. His pieces (Piazzolla's) produce light, but they can dazzle».