Diosdado Gaitan Castro prepares a new festival of Andean music: “From song to song”, a show that will give together with the Bolivian Yuri Ortunonext June 16. “I soak up each song, I sweat, I dance, and people connect with us”, says the Ayacuchano singer-songwriter when talking about how he is happy on stage. In conversation with La República, he also told what it means that his son Arian Gaitan follow the steps.
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—How did the idea of doing “De canto a canto” come about?
—We have joined two workers of art and Andean culture. For my part, I have been working on Peruvian Andean music for more than 36 years and Yuri Ortuño is one of the clearest, most forceful and sharpest voices in the Bolivian songbook.. In addition to the love for our music, friendship unites us, and we decided to make these presentations that will undoubtedly brighten so many hearts that love this song of ours.
—How long have you known Yuri Ortuño?
—Since the year 90. It’s been 34 years of friendship and love for Andean, Peruvian and Latin American music. Let’s not forget that Yuri Ortuño makes autochthonous music from his land, his town, his people, but he has also used some Peruvian songs, especially from the center of our country, and he has made them (…) very emblematic songs in his repertoire.
—And what other collaborations are coming up?
—I have an album in my hands called “36 años” where I collaborate with 36 artists of all genres. It has taken me a lot of work and time.
—Any artist rejected the invitation?
—There are some who have become crazy, but I will not name them. They did not like doing a collaboration with an Andean art worker.
“Did they discriminate against you?”
—Not so much like that. I think it was due to ignorance that this music has incredible value and enormous power in terms of music, harmony, its beauty, but also when it reaches the public.
—Andean music will disappear?
—No never. More than 500 years have passed and this music is still as hot and strong as ever. Another 500 years will pass and it will still stand.
—Your son Arián Gaitán is also a musician…
—My son is also on that path. And I see him studying, working, researching and I’m not going to put a stone in the way.
—How was sharing the stage with your son?
—A wonderful experience. You see it from birth, a wawita. Later, he grows, you train him, guide him and, suddenly, he starts suggesting things to you and he is almost the director of the band. He fills me with emotion, my chest swells. And even more to follow my route. My legacy in the hands of my son will continue in good shape.
—Didn’t your son consider using a stage name so as not to be put down by your shadow?
—He is Arián Gaitán and I am Diosdado Gaitán. He will have to forge his way as such. As an artist he understands that he has to be integral. Good musician, composer, arranger, but also good as a human being.
—What happened to your dad and his artistic career?
—My father was the lyrical tenor, Constantino Gaitán Luis. He did opera, classical music. Unfortunately, he was not understood. My mom changed his course, put him in another path and he dedicated himself to teaching, where he was also happy teaching.
—Did your mom disinherit you for being a musician?
—It’s true. She wanted us to be college graduates. I would have liked to graduate in some music, but at that time there was none. Possibly, one day I will start studying. Knowledge doesn’t hurt anyone.
—And what specialty would you take?
—If not music, anthropology.
—And now that your son is a musician, what does your mother say?
—He is his number one fan. For my mom, he is and we are nothing.
—Have you written songs for your family?
—I have written to everyone, to my daughters, to my mother, but I have not been able to write a song for my father or my son. She’d sit me down and say, ‘This time I’m going to do it.’ And she doesn’t come out. That’s how capricious life is.
—What song did you write to your mom?
—Is called “Swallow of love”. With words I want to reach its magnitude, but I never succeed. It’s the most important song for me, but it left me a little frustrated because I wanted to say so much to my mother and I couldn’t find the words to express so much love.
Are you where you imagined you would be when you started?
—I don’t know when I will be, but what I do know is that I have to do more and my time is getting shorter, and so many projects are going to stay there and that makes me desperate. I am confident that my son will continue that task.
—What projects do you have for this year?
—This year I’m going to release three albums. One made in Buenos Aires (Argentina), two taken live here in Peru, at the Gran Teatro Nacional and at the Bianca de Barranco Convention Center. They are records that are filling me with pride because they have the participation of my son Arián, and it gives him something different, beautiful, revitalizing and renewing that encourages me.