“The consecration of an artist occurs in eternity”

The news already began to generate waves of nostalgia. After fifty-five years of brilliant career, Les Luthiers announced its definitive farewell to the stage. The group has already started its last tour with the presentation in Buenos Aires. Before leaving for Latin America and Spain, where they also have a very loyal audience, they will be every Thursday, Friday and Saturday in January at the Teatro Ópera (Avenida Corrientes 860) presenting Más tropiezos de Mastropiero, a show that preserves the singular style that made them famous and revolves around a hilarious interview with the endearing character created by Marcos Mundstock, Johan Sebastian Mastropiero. “This year I will be 77 years old, and Jorge Maronna, 75. We feel very vital, and artistically we believe we are at our best moment, but as we approach 80, our muscles and joints anticipate that they will soon begin to present impediments” , explained in a statement Carlos López Puccio, who began working with Les Luthiers in 1969, two years after the founding of the group, and became a stable member from ’71.

When asked about the reasons for the prolonged success of Les Luthiers, López Puccio is blunt: “I will try not to feel like the protagonist. I think Les Luthiers invented a genre of their own. A rare mix of humor and music in close correlation. Music was never background music, and humor was always balanced by the necessary music. To both basic elements was added the parody of musical genres, of theatricality and even that expressed in those instruments that are no better than the real instruments, but that -as in all parodies- please precisely for this reason, for not being what they pretend to be. The ingredients were always very careful: elegant humor, sometimes cult, other times cult. Never rude or too easy. Much less, tacky. Some say he’s smart. There were also no clichés, references to immediate reality or fashionable characters. I believe that the explanation is enclosed in that mixture: a scarce product, the result of a lot of work and that gives deep joy”.

—Do you remember the first show you did with Les Luthiers? Where did you go, how did the public react, how did you spend it…

“I have a vague recollection, but it’s nowhere near the best.” They invited me to participate in the group in their first presentation at a café-concert. Looking at the historical calendar of performances, I deduce that this must have been November 26, 1969. My role was that of a violinist (but I had to play Latin, a tin violin). I rehearsed once, the music was all written and the choruses too. And I acted. Bah, it’s a saying. The show was a nice mix of songs with grace and refinement that today would look very innocent. Interspersed were the cultured comments of the presenter, Marcos. I don’t remember that there were many people, rather few: about twenty, thirty people. In fact, we always remember that in subsequent presentations in that same venue we used to stand at the door of the premises, with a face of dissimulation, of being drinking fresh air, to see if this or that couple that was coming was going to come in or not to see us.

—Does he still get nervous like when he started on stage?

—I always have a slight, very slight fear. But it is reverential, more for the rituality of that moment than for its unpredictability. The presentations of Les Luthiers, once a show has been released and filmed, only suffer slight differences in reception depending on a few variables that in general make a bet possible: how many people are in the room, in which country we are, how many performances are They have already sold in that stay. But I know that if I make a mistake in a speech or play another note, no one judges me with the flaming rod with which a famous soloist who botches a scale is judged.

I do get quite nervous at premieres because the uncertainty quota is infinitely greater.

—The formation of the group had several changes throughout the years. And well-remembered names such as Gerardo Masana, Daniel Rabinovich, Marcos Mundstock, Ernesto Acher, Carlos Núñez Cortés… What conditions were essential to be part of Les Luthiers?

—The specifications were never written. Each of us brought a particular set of skills and wisdom. We had to be musicians, comedians, composers, actors, mimes, writers… What was achieved was the product, a wise meeting of the virtues and tastes of each one of the members, refined -sometimes conflictively- through criticism. of others.

—There is a lot of superficial humor circulating on social networks, even tacky. That of Les Luthiers has always been a more refined humor. Do you think they can appeal to younger people, anyway?

– I’m a grandfather. I am not sure that I can wisely answer questions related to young people. Today there is a lot of talk about new “paradigms” and even “hermeneutics”, but I fail to understand the extent to which these social circumstances can prevent or allow young people to enjoy what we offer. I do notice that a certain degree of brutalization has been taking place, something that worries me about our country. I was always convinced that our humor was transcendent. Not said with pomposity, with arrogance, but in the humble sense that he tried to transcend the circumstantial and aim at what is essentially human. Saving the immense distances, to try to clarify without obscuring: a reading of Oedipus Rex made by Freud reveals meanings that were always there and that perhaps explain, centuries later, the permanence of this tragedy. Young people are invited to participate in our party, which can be theirs.

—Which are your main influences as an artist? What musicians, writers and actors earned his admiration and still inspire him today?

—Mahler, Proust, Borges, Richard Strauss, García Márquez, Woody Allen, Picasso, Chaplin… And the signatures continue…

—Woody Allen is very questionable today. What do you think of the cancel culture?

—I would like to add to the previous list the “disastrous” Richard Wagner. I think that the cancellation corresponds to the hermeneutics of the time in which it occurs. The consecration or not of an artist occurs, instead, in eternity.

—Do you remember a moment that you particularly enjoyed with the group? A tour, a show, a stage situation, perhaps something from the coexistence with his companions. An unforgettable moment with Les Luthiers, in short.

—The most important week of my life was the celebration and delivery of the Princess of Asturias Award, in 2017. Receiving this award, which many men I admired had already received, which made us a “critical mirror and benchmark for freedom in the contemporary society” not only implied an important call from my own mirror of the past time, it was also accompanied by the warmth, hospitality and pampering that seemed to come from all over Asturias.

the current formation

In addition to Carlos López Puccio and Jorge Maronna, the two oldest members of the group, the current line-up of Les Luthiers includes Roberto Antier, Tomás Mayer-Wolf, Martín O’Connor and Horacio Tato Turano, as well as alternates Santiago Otero Ramos and Pablo Rabinovich. They are the ones who will carry out the farewell tour of a project that marked the artistic creation of Argentina in the last fifty years. The status of Les Luthiers is difficult to question today.

They will be presented throughout this year in Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Uruguay and Spain. And then they will say goodbye forever. The recordings of many of his unforgettable shows on YouTube will remain for lovers of pleasant memories. And the memory of his followers, the immovable partners of all these years of intrepid and shrewd humor, those who enjoyed a warmth and a good energy that Les Luthiers always transmitted on stage.

They were awarded many times: the Konex, the Latin Grammy, the Order of Isabel la Católica, the Princess of Asturias for Communication and Humanities… They were also declared illustrious citizens of Buenos Aires and illustrious visitors to many cities in Latin America. In 2012, the Kingdom of Spain granted them Spanish citizenship by naturalization letter, a special concession to people of particular merit. And above all they will be resounding whenever they are mentioned by the powerful echo of the applause of the public, standing up, as befits them.

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“The consecration of an artist occurs in eternity”