Playing the Lisbon Portuguese Guitarra by Ronald Louis Fernandez (continued)
Section 15b. Balada de Montreal, composed by Artur Gaipo.

    (Background information written in 1972 by Ron Fernández)

In late spring 1972 the record "Balada de Montreal" was released for sale in various shops in the Montreal Portuguese community. Some of the music on this 45 rpm EP disc was composed by Artur Gaipo, the 54-year old Azorean-born leader of the group. Mr. Gaipo's technical and interpretive talents on the Portuguese guitarra are evidenced as he plays melody on all four selections. The other members of the group include Fernando Rocha, a 49-years old carpenter, José Marques, a 37-year old cabinet maker (both originally from Continental Portugal), and Ronald Fernández, a 23-year old American graduate student in Anthropology at McGill University. Each of these musicians contributed their talents to the arrangements.

On the record cover from left to right are: A. Gaipo (1st guitarra), F. Rocha (2nd guitarra), R. Fernández (viola), J. Marques (viola).

The master recording for this record was made at the Radio McGill Studio in early 1972 by "Soundbox 72" whose Executive Director was Thadd Beebe. At the time of Balada's recording, Soundbox was funded by a Local Initiative Project (L.I.P.) Grant from the Canadian Federal Government. The purpose of this grant was to promote Canadian musical talent by recording--free of charge--professional quality demonstration tapes which musicians could use to solicit recording or appearance contracts. Consequently, the master for this record was recorded for free.

While the musicians retained their performance rights on this recording, financial backing for the pressing of the vinyl records came from Antonio Mota, the owner of Iberia Furniture. Mr. Mota, who for years had been importing records from Portugal for the Portuguese immigrant market in the U.S.A. and Canada viewed the production of "Balada de Montreal" as worthwhile for several reasons. On the one hand, it was a help for Mr. Gaipo, his musicians and Luso-Canadian music in general; on the other hand, this record was good advertising for his firm, Iberia Furniture. In addition, he saw the production of 1000 copies (hence the name of his production company--Mil Records) as a way of learning about the manufacture of records in Canada. His motive for gaining this knowledge was, as Mr. Mota told me himself, to corner the Portuguese record market in Canada. In essence, his plan was to lower the price of records of Portuguese music by recording Luso-Canadian musician or bringing talent from Portugal to record in Canada and thus eliminate customs and transportation charges which have raised the price of 7 inch, 45 rpm records to $2.50 each.

The record itself was manufactured by R.C.A. in Montreal, the cover photo was taken by Mr. Mota's brother-in-law and the jackets were designed and printed by a firm in Montreal. Due to the fact that R.C.A. and the firm printing the cover had no experience with the Portuguese language and because Mr. Mota, Mr. Gaipo and an employee of Mr. Mota were uncoordinated in their contact with R.C.A. and the printer, errors resulted in both the record label and the jacket. The errors on the jacket were corrected by gluing small calling cards over the mistakes.

The record label was left incorrect. The line "VIOLAS: MARQUES, E. FERNANDES was improperly punctuated and should have read " Violas: MARQUES e FERNANDES. The spelling of the name Fernandez with an "s" at the end instead of "z" was intentional by Mr. Gaipo. He made the alteration to an "s" because he wanted the public to think of Ronald Fernandez as being of Portuguese rather than Spanish descent.

The Songs on the EP (Extended Play) 45 rpm (revolution per minute) were:

"Balada de Montreal" (Ballad of Montreal) which was written in the style of the music played by students at the Universidade de Coimbra. Artur Gaipo had spent some time in Coimbra and liked the music of Carlos Paredes.

"Chula Bonita" (Pretty Chula). A "chula" is a kind of folk dance. This piece is based on a folk melody which Artur Gaipo has arranged. On this record he modulates the melody through several keys.

"Recordando" (Remembering) is Mr. Gaipo's version of an old composition for guitarra and viola. Artur was unsure of the original composer but he mentioned either Jaime Santos or Armandinho.

"Tico-Tico" is a Brazilian choro song written by Zequinha de Abreu in 1917. It is well known internationally. The original title was "Tico-Tico no fubá" arranged by Mr. Gaipo with an interesting original section in the middle.

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