Berta Rojas, the "proudly Latin American" guitarist

Berta Rojas, the “proudly Latin American” guitarist

New York (EFE).- “Aguyje” or thank you in the Guarani language. It was the first word that the classical guitarist Berta Rojas, proud of her origin, said when she received the Latin Grammy two weeks ago for her album “Legado.”

It is the language he learned from his grandmother, which is the official language of Paraguay along with Spanish, and which millions of people heard during the broadcast of the event.

It is the same Berta Rojas who in her childhood was teased for speaking Guaraní, and who last week gave the first Grammy to Paraguay, to whom she dedicated this award.

«Before, in Paraguay, girls who spoke Guaraní were called ‘guarandas’ as a derogatory way of referring to those of us who preserved the language. In my case it was a way of communicating with my grandmother, who spoke Spanish but mostly Guarani,” she recalls in an interview with EFE.

“Despite the fact that I have lived in the US for many years, it is a way of consolidating my Paraguayan identity and remembering where I come from,” says Rojas.

Berta Rojas attended the event in Las Vegas on November 17 wearing an emerald green dress and jewelry from Paraguayan designers.

Awards for Berta Rojas

Rojas, in 2021 received the Golden Guitar award in honor of his career, the highest distinction granted by the International Guitar Convention.

He won the Grammys in the categories of “Best Classical Music Album” for his album Legado, and “Best Classical Contemporary Work/Composition”, for “Anido’s Portrait: Chacarera”, composed by Sergio Assa.

In Legacy, in which Rojas rescues the figures of the Frenchwoman Ida Presti (1924-1967) and the Argentinean María Luisa Anido (1907-1996), she interprets songs by these pioneers of classical guitar who lived at a time when they were not well regarded. this profession for women but even so they succeeded in a world reserved for men, plus other songs composed in honor of them.

This vision has not yet disappeared, and she relates that it was not easy for her to break into the world of music with her guitar because “it was not yet a well-regarded profession in Paraguay.”

He had to break in some way with the structures that reigned at that time, difficulties that he assures “make us stronger and allow us to open the way and affirm ourselves in our vocation.”

His guitar “La rojita”

Rojas remembers that this album was the last one he recorded before his guitar, “La rojita”, as he calls it, was stolen in Cleveland, but that it miraculously reappeared, delivered by a person who had bought it from the thieves.

Rojas says that La rojita gave her luck at the Grammys, and therefore “she will only be replaced when (she) can no longer.”

This album and awards, according to Rojas, currently a professor at the Berklee College of Music in Massachusetts, brings to the conversation -that was her intention when she recorded it- all the pioneers of the guitar.

“It is a cause that many colleagues, women and men, have been embracing in the guitar world and somehow this recognition gives much more strength to this work, which I hope continues to gain strength and radiates to other areas of music”, manifest.

Latin American music stands out in Rojas’s discography, because, according to the artist:

“Latin America is the reserve that activates the world, it is a music that has so much to offer in its rhythm and in the honesty of its lines a direct contact with its people,” he points out.

“I am proudly a Latin American guitarist,” says Rojas.

By Ruth E. Hernández Beltrán |

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