Oscar Safuan

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Oscar Safuán
Oscar Safuan.JPG
Background information
Birth name Oscar Nelson Safuán
Also known as Oscar Safuán
Born (1943-09-21)September 21, 1943
San Estanislao, Paraguay
Died May 28, 2007(2007-05-28) (aged 63)
Rio Grande do Sul, Brasil
Genres Paraguayan Folk Music
Occupation(s) Singer, Song writer

Oscar Nelson Safuán was a Paraguayan composer.

Childhood and Youth[edit]

Safuan was born on September 21, 1943 in San Estanislao, Paraguay. His first trio had the name of "Los hijos del Paraguay" (meaning The Children of Paraguay).

First steps[edit]

Towards the end of 1962, in the middle of a great expectation, the group left to Foz de Yguazu, in Brazil, as their first stop in a long way. Once located there, they started a series of presentations at some of the local restaurants, which allowed them to cover their daily expenses.

From Foz de Yguazu, they went to Curitiba, capital of the Paraná state. With an improvised album, made of eight pictures taken at a nearby lab, in the bus terminal, they left in order to look for a job in the big city. They mainly looked at restaurants and barbecue places, so as to get at least a good meal each day. They also went to newspapers, radio stations, and the only TV channel of Curitiba at that time. It was there that they finally made a series of presentations for a program directed by Kat Maia, TV program presenter.

By then, the group’s name was "The Three Suns" and besides Safuán (who was the third voice of the group) was also Dario Duarte, (second voice, guitar and second requintist) and Antonio Gill (first voice and maracas).

These first experiences of "The three suns" are marked by many anecdotes, normal in a group of musicians who were looking to place their Paraguayan music in the foreign market. One of them is that since they did not have money to make their clothes, they bought a strong material, with many color stripes and they converted into the traditional "poncho de sesenta listas" which complemented the typical Paraguayan outfit of the boys: ao poì shirt, pants and three color belt (the colors of the flag).

They were dressed like this during one of the many presentations at a family house when they realized the curtains of the house were of the same material of their ponchos, which made them lose interest in wearing them anymore. They gained a prestige with a lot of effort in the stages of Curitiba, therefore they set a new goal, to arrive to São Paulo.

His trajectory[edit]

He established himself in São Paulo. There the group made contact with other Paraguayan artists who were living in that city, such the case of Luis Bordón, Papi Galan and Americo Pereira, and with this one, Safuán studied theory. He also studied with masters such as Miguel Angel, Rufo Herrera and Luis Pecora. At the same time, he dedicated to making musical arrangements at disco houses and to the presentations of the group.

Later, he continued studying with different masters. Safuán founded a music school, "Los Amigos", where he taught other Paraguayans to read music. He was questioned by the evolution of the folk music of his country, and in 1974 he started a research on it, and elaborated the basis for a projection proposal, developing rhythmic combinations as well as melodic ones, in base of the fusion of the guarania and the Paraguayan polka. In 1977 he presented in Asunción his new rhythm named Avanzada, applied to his first composition: "Tema Paraguayo". This musical innovation was supported by important people of the Paraguayan musical sphere, among them, Don Mauricio Cardozo Ocampo, but the Avanzada had also people against it.

From 1980, the Avanzada began to gain an important space as a musical style which is now part of the country folk music.


Year Works
1975 Tema paraguayo; Avanzada.
1978/1979 Credo
1980 Badí badá; Paraguay 80; Nacionales 1
1980/1983 Nacionales 2; Nacionales 3
1984 Panambí hu
1985 Dos guitarras

Awards and distinctions[edit]

Year Awards
1985 Award given as "Los doce del año". Radio 1º de Marzo. Asunción. Paraguay. Recognition plate. Dúo sertanejo "César e Paulinho". Piracicaba. Brasil.
1992 Honor Mention from Ateneo Paraguayo.
1990/1994 Homage twice at the "Festival del Tapirakai" San Estanislao. Paraguay
1997/1983 Homage by the group "Arte y Amor" for the creation of Avanzada. Autores Paraguayos Asociados (APA). Asunción. Paraguay.
1994 Recognized for the services to the nacional cultureat the Festival del Takuare’e. Vice Ministerio de Educación y Cultura. Guarambaré.Paraguay.
2000 Homage by the Instituto de formación docente Prof. Mercedes Bareiro de Fretes. Luque. Paraguay.
2001 Nacional Music Award 2001. Cámara de Senadores del Congreso Nacional del Paraguay.
2002 Homage at the Festival del Colegio de Paraguayos Ilustres. Capiatá. Paraguay.
2003 Recognition for the services given to the Nacional art Teatro Municipal de San Lorenzo.

His style[edit]

Safuán presents a new style applied to the traditional Paraguayan folk music. He has achieved a perfect and fresh fusion of the Guarania and the Paraguayan Polka, after long years of research, study and love for the music of his country. According to him, "[the Avanzada] is neither polka nor guarania. It is anew rhythm generated by both, and as the child, has a life and a light of his own."

In this musical style, Safuán incorporates, besides folk rhythms, electronic instruments and we can also perceive some influence of the popular Brazilian music such as bossa nova and ballade.

Last years[edit]

He spent his last years working without rest in favor of the Paraguayan music, in order to spread the culture. He died in Santa Maria, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, from lung cancer.


  • Safuán, Oscar Nelson. En tres tiempos (Memorias). Editorial El Lector. Asunción.
  • Szarán, Luis. Diccionario de la Música en el Paraguay. Editorial Szarán la gráfica. 1997. Asunción.

External links[edit]