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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."

    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."