Borges is one of Argentina´s great prides. The kind of author that forces everyone to say “Of course I´ve read Borges!” (be it true or not).
His friend and sometime collaborator, the also brilliant writer Adolfo Bioy Casares, called his texts “halfway houses between an essay and a story”.
Borges was not known as a great lover of music. He enjoyed classical music, and even tango as long as the “bandoneon” was not too prominent.
There is a lovely story about him going, invited by a friend, to watch a tango musician and composer whom everyone said was some kind of “boy wonder” of the new tango wave. One that borrowed a great deal from his New York upbringing and carried a very jazzy influence. His name was Astor Piazzola.
Borges apparently stayed for about six songs, and suddenly turned around, looked at his friend, and said: “Let´s go. Apparently they decided they were not going to play tango tonight”. Or so the story goes.
If you have never read him, recommended works by this very influential author (some have gone as far as to say that he may have been the XXth Century´s best writer: http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20140902-the-20th-centurys-best-writer ) could be Ficciones (The Garden of Forking Paths, The Circular Ruins for example), Laberynth, The Aleph, and the earlier The Approach to Al-Mu’tasim (1938).
Borges is a bridge. A bridge between old and new, North and South, Classical and modern trends. In way he is also a bridge between Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas. He is all about being new while rehashing what has already been done. Showing that what we create is more like what we “recreate”. His stories are wonderful to read, despite their inherent complexity, and they always feel new.
Clearly, he was also more open minded than many gave him credit for, since even after allegedly leaving Piazzola´s concert and despite his known dislike for the bandoneon, shortly after he went on to join forces with him in a project in 1965. From that wonderful coupling we have this beautiful song simply called: “El Tango”.
Until next time!
©2016 by Ignacio Alperin Bruvera