Félix Pérez Cardozo

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Félix Pérez Cardozo
Félix Pérez Cardozo 1991 Paraguay stamp.jpg
Born Félix Pérez Cardozo
20 November 1908
Hyaty-Guairá, Paraguay
Died 09 June 1952
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Nationality Paraguayan
Known for Composer, Music.

Félix Pérez Cardozo (20 November 1908 – 9 June 1952) was a Paraguayan musician.

Cardozo was born to Teodoro Pérez and Cándida Rosa Cardozo in the small town of Hyaty in the state of Guairá. This town currently carries his name. Pérez Cardozo died on June 9, 1952 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.


He is the most representative icon as regards the interpretation, development of technique and composition of harp music . As is common in Paraguayan music of the countryside, he learned the basics of playing from other harpists, so making him self-taught with no known music masters.

He was part of a paradigmatic trio consisting of one harp and two guitars, along with Ampelio Villalba and Diosnel Chase. He received support from the poet Pedro José Carlés, with whom he traveled to the capital city of (Asunción) in 1928. During this time they would play at folk music festivals organized in the “Teatro Granados” by Aristóbulo “Nonón” Domínguez as well as in night clubs.

In 1931 he and his band left for Buenos Aires, Argentina, where most of his artistic career took place. They were the first of a long list of Paraguayan musicians that would consequently succeed in the Argentine capital for more than half a century.


In a short period of time, his individualistic style of interpretations of various compositions, mostly created for the harp, quickly gained him wide public recognition. He was a member of several bands until in 1945 he formed his own group. He enjoyed huge fame in Buenos Aires and throughout all the Río de la Plata area. His success was such that a street in Mendoza was named after him.

He recorded numerous LP’s immortalizing all of his songs but one in particular, became internationally known, his version of “Guyra campana” (“Pájaro campana”),.Even though this master piece is mentioned as a traditional country tune in encyclopedias and history books of Paraguayan music, there is no doubt that the recompilation and the final arrangement of this masterpiece were due to the talent and genius Pérez Cardozo.

His contribution to the evolution and popularization of the Paraguayan harp was of great value since it developed new technical aspects such as the widening of the sound effects through the implementation of extra chords, the independent use of the hands, the accompaniment of broken chords for the Paraguayan Polka and the increasingly technical use of the right hand (chords and melodies with five fingers, tremolos, glissandos and other effects).


He married the Argentinian Victoria Sanchez - with whom he had three children: Angela Rosa, Bienbenida and Victor.


Among his greatest harp compositions are found:

  • “Guyra campana”,
  • “Carreta guýpe”, (debajo de la carreta)
  • “Jataity”,
  • “Llegada”,
  • “Mi despedida”,
  • “Angela Rosa”,
  • “Che vallemi Hyaty”,
  • “Che vallemi Yaguarón”,
  • “En tí hallé consuelo”,
  • “Tren lechero”,
  • “El sueño de Angelita”,

He gave music to various verses of distinguished poets such as Víctor Montórfano (“Tetagua sapukái”, a true anthem in which “grito del pueblo” (the shout of the people) claims better days for Paraguay) Antonio Ortiz Mayans (“Burrerita”, “Pasionaria”, “Puntanita”, “Asunceña” y “Taperé”), Félix Fernández (“Rosa”), Rigoberto Fontao Meza (“El arriero”), Andrés Pereira (“Mariposa mi”), the Argentine Hilario Cuadros (“Los sesenta granaderos”, known throughout Argentina as a very popular Anthem.), also the most important poet of Paraguayan history Emiliano R. Fernández, whose piece is seen as a pillar of Paraguayan epic music due to the rhythmic power, melodic beauty and patriotic content of the following texts (“1º de Marzo”, “Che la reina (Ahama che china)”, and the lovable song (“Oda pasional”, “Oñondiveminte”), (“Desde la selva” y “Primavera”).Likewise “Caaguy ryakua”, “Isla Pukú”, the recompilation of “Jaha che ndive”, “Lui ryevu”, “Misiones”.

Later years[edit]

The great “mitá guazú” (big boy) the nickname by which he was known died suddenly in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on the 9th of June in 1952. Atahualpa Yupanki, a fundamental icon of inspirational folk music and poetry in this century in Argentina, sang “Canción del arpa dormida” in his honor (set to music by Herminio Giménez): “...En ese misterio de sol y de selva / de agreste romance de india y mensú / llegaron tus manos a mi tierra gaucha / tejiendo armonías, ¡oh! mita guazu./ Acunando ensueños se nos va la vida / y el viajero parte para no volver. / Hoy el arpa india se quedó dormida / como una guarania que no pudo ser”.


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