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  • Smithsonian Folkways to Release Los Gauchos de Roldán: Button Accordion and Bandoneón Music from Northern Uruguay on January 31, 2012

    On January 31st, 2012, Smithsonian Folkways shines a spotlight on the South American country of Uruguay with Los Gauchos de Roldán's new self-titled album. Though perhaps better known for its standout performance in the 2010 soccer World Cup, the small nation situated between Argentina and Brazil now shares its much-loved, yet little-known, down-home rural dance music.

    Listen to "Como mí suegra" (Like My Mother-in-Law)

    Watch a mini-documentary about Los Gauchos de Roldán

    Accomplished accordionist Walter Roldán leads a group of masters of the traditional guitar and bandoneón in interpreting dance songs inherited from his father and grandmother. A diversity of rhythms - Brazilian maxixa, Uruguayan-style polca, and Afro-Creole milonga - bittersweet minor keys, and a "rustic tango" sensibility reflect the unique multi-cultural mix of the gaucho ranching homelands of northern Uruguay.

    "We kept up the struggle not to forget that the two-row button accordion is part of our roots," says Roldán. "The majority of our grandparents and their relatives met at dances where the two-row button accordion was played. Then they fell in love and got married. That’s the way it was, and we keep up the fight."