Agustin Barrios, Magnífico guitarrista, gift of the Guarani, Treasure of Paraguay, expressed his mystical encounter with the instrument as follows
Tupa, the supreme spirit and protector of my people,
Found me one day in the middle of a greening forest,
Enraptured in the contemplation of Nature,
And he told me: “Take this mysterious box and reveal its secrets.”
And enclosing within it all the songs of the birds of the jungle
And the mournful sighs of the plants,
He abandoned it in my hands.
I took it and obeying Tupa’s command I held it close to my heart.
Embracing it I passed many moons on the edge of a spring fountain
And one night, Yacy (the moon, our mother),
Reflected in the crystal liquid,
Feeling the sadness of my Indian soul,
Gave me six silver moonbeams1
With which to discover its secrets.
And the miracle took Place:
From the bottom of the mysterious box,
There come forth a marvelous symphony
Of all the virgin voices of America
Barrios delighted to perform in traditional Guarani attire wishing to represent the soul of his people to the world.
Meeting with Andre Segovia in the 1920s, Segovia was so impressed he wished to play Agustin’s La Cathedral in his concerts.
Agustin Barrios is considered the greatest by many, “… as a guitarist/composer, Barrios is the best of the lot, regardless of ear. His music is better formed, it’s more poetic, it’s more everything! And it’s more of all those things in a timeless way. So I think he’s a more significant composer than Sor or Guiliani, and more significant composer — for the guitar — than Villa-Lobos.”
— John Williams, 1993