“What we do, Juanjo Domínguez can do, but what Juanjo Domínguez does, we can’t do.” – Paco de Lucia.
Some years ago Juanjo was invited to give a concert in Madrid.
The theater seemed a bit too big for him and said to himself “how I’m gonna fill this big theater in Madrid?
When he arrives at the concert, he sees that Paco is also participating. “Ok…” he said to himself.
While being in the artists’ room, Paco de Lucia came in and said to him:
“Joanjo, I’m going to play only two pieces, and that’s it, but I’ll be the first one to play,”
Juancho tells him: “Great, whatever you want, buddy.”
Paco goes on stage and tells the audience:
“I announced my participation in this concert because I wanted you to see my name
so you’ll get to know the guitarist who is going to play after me.”
This little story demonstrates the great generosity of Paco de Lucia as much as the critical role of Juanjo Dominguez as one of the greatest guitarists of all times.
“The extension of my hands is the guitar.”
Juanjo who was born in Junín near Buenos Aires, on 23rd of Octubre 1951.
He grabbed the guitar for the first time when, at the age of five, he saw his dad with the guitar, trying to play something that didn’t come out well, he realized what was his father’s mistake, grabbed the guitar and played it correctly.
His father and mother, who was an amateur bandoneonist, invested in the talent of their boy.
He has played in more than 130 albums and recorded about 30 of his own.
One of the albums that expresses his character as a person and performer is “Sin Red” which he decided to record live in the studio with guest artists as if it was a live performance.
Straightforward, honest and full of character.
When he talked about his live concerts, he said that each time the organizers ask him for the program of his show, he tells them to mention that the repertoire will go according to the predisposition of the artist.
He does it because during his time on stage he observes the audience, “feel” the people in front of him, look at their faces and then decides what is going to play out of his enormous Argentinan repertoire.
The guitar sound and style of Juanjo Domínguez
I remember when an Argentinian friend introduced me to the music of Juanjo Domínguez I knew it was going to be my endless romance with this guitar phenomenon.
He is a contemporary of Paco de Lucia, and with such virtuosity and unique sound, the comparison between them is inevitable.
For me what Paco did to the Flamenco guitar, Juanjo Domínguez did to the tango guitar.
With a musical background of classical guitar and the history of his predecessor’s guitarist such as Aníbal Arias and Cacho Tirao he succeeded in embracing the repertoire the folk music of the Argentinian countryside like Chamamé, Chacarera through the Buenos Aires Tango and reached out to American jazz music and the music of Beatles.
Listen to his live performance of ‘La Cumparsita’ below, probably one of the most known Argentinian melodies.
Pay attention, among other things, to the way in which he manages to imitate an orchestra violin section like with a three strings tremolo ( one of his trademarks) applying rich articulation using staccato, vibrato and enrich the chords progression using passing chromatic bass scales.
As an accompanying guitarist
Juanjo Dominguez accompanied dozens of artists over the years.
As an accompanying guitarist, he is next to the singer and not behind him. Musically. He always responds to all the nuances of the text and does so in a unique and virtuoso technique. almost
I understand if someone might think that he over-plays, but I think that there must exist a guitar accompaniment like this in the history of the guitar.And it his unique approach to playing with a singer.
Watch this video and ask yourself: Who accompanies whom?
I know without a doubt that I should not have introduced Juanjo Domínguez at all, if he was living and creating in Europe or the United States and or if his approach to his career was more extrovert, at least like the soul, groove, and virtuosity he brings to the stage.
For me, he is a model of inspiration as a guitarist and a person.
I hope that you will also find your takeaways from his art.