Aguilera, 110 years old, would pass unnoticed as a name if it were
not for the fact that he owned one of Mangore's guitars. Eliodoro's
mom bought the guitar from Mangoré. She paid 800 pesos for it (as
Eliodoro put it: "you could buy a cow for that kind of money
She bough it from Mangoré the day after a recital the Paraguayan
master gave at the Luque Church (Luque is a neighboring city of Asunción).
Below to the left, is the picture I took at the Andres Marin guitar
on Mr. Aguilera's lap. (Nov/25/2002)...
Mr. Aguilera is an energetic 110
years old with an iron memory and agile body and a huge passion for soccer.
His only material possession was this jewel. When he brought it
out from his bedroom (he kept
her in a closet) his eyes started
filling with tears as he started going back in the years. He has been offered
different sums of money for the instrument but as he so simply put it "what
am I going to do with the money??" The craftsmanship on
the guitar is simply astonishing. I was taken back in time with my imagination
and I could see Barrios playing and composing with it. It was like a flashback.
At the same time Mr. Aguilera told me of the serenades he would take to
his sweethearts with the "magical guitar"... I played a single note on
the Marin. I did not want to tune it since the strings were oooold and
the guitar needed some restoring.
The story goes like this: After the
Cathedral recital, 18 years old Eliodoro approached Barrios, who was
standing outside the Luque Cathedral looking at the people coming and going,
and, after a brief introduction, told Mangoré that he wanted to
learn how to play the guitar and was desperately looking for a good instrument.
Barrios told him "I can sell you one of my guitars since I bought a new
one in Spain a few weeks ago*... I will wait for you at this address tomorrow...(his
brother's home in downtown Asuncion)" . Mr. Aguilera's mom punctually attended
the meeting, paid the Maestro and the rest is history...
Jorge, Mr. Aguilera's grandson and
one of my students, took me to his grandfather's house, picture above,
to see the guitar. Jorge brought the guitar to my house a few days later
saying that his grandpa was going to rest in peace knowing that
his most loved material possession was in my hands. I promised I would
have the guitar restored so as to be able to play her again which I did.
The guitar is back in the studio since yesterday, May 3 2005.
*This quoting is not literal,
nor is the sequence of facts. The guitar may have been bought by Barrios
in South America. "
For mangore.com 10th anniversary (2007),
luthiers and I decided to give this beauty a total makeover. After
2 months of work, she made her debut again today June 23rd 2007. We made
her a playable concert instrument. We rectified the fingerboard,
changed the frets and tuning machines, sanded her and got her covered in
hand applied lacquer. I played Una Limosna por el amor de Dios on
her and she is back for another 150 years !
Fully restored Agustin Barrios Mangore concert guitar, Bellucci collection
Fully restored Barrios' guitar (Bellucci
private collection, Asuncion-Paraguay, May 11, 2013)
I can hardly describe the mixture
of feelings and shivers that I get every time I play her. I play Una
Limosna por el amor de Dios and tears start filling my eyes.
A few months ago (February 2008)
this amazing guitar posed for the new 50,000 Guaranies bill
(Guarani' is the official currency of Paraguay and Guaranies was the
name of the aborigine tribes that lived in the region prior to the
arrival of the Spaniards). She's depicted on one
side and the Paraguayan master is depicted on the other side. She is
part of Paraguayan and world music history ! Eliodoro's generosity
go down in history with his beloved guitar.
My last addition to this story is
the video I just made (April 12, 2010) of the legendary guitar. I had to
play Barrios' last composition "Una Limosna por el amor de Dios". I play
this guitar at exclusive recitals only. She adds a magical atmosphere for
being the instrument that she is. When I play the instrument I feel tears
coming to my eyes and an indescribable feeling invades my soul. The guitar
is now a part of my artistic life and a blessed one at that. The sound
is full, mature with a sweetness that is very hard to be put into words....