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Memories of a locksmith

Writer, musician and occasionally actor, Leo Maslíah is 48 years old, 25 books written, 30 records and many fans. Currently lives in Montevideo, alone: he is divorced and has a daughter named Paula. Maslíah has no memories of his father, who was a rabbi and left the family when he was two years old. He grew up with his mother, his sister and his uncle Isi, a music lover who bought records by Piazzolla, Joao Gilberto or Georges Brassens. “My grandmother could play two songs on piano: La violetera and a Turkish song that I never knew the name of,” her grandson writes.

From the age of seven, he began to study piano and, later, organ, composition and harmony. His first public performance was playing a concert for Haendel’s organ, in a church in Montevideo. But before living as a musician, he had to do several jobs: he helped in the maintenance tasks in a factory, he was a music teacher and caregiver for boys in a Uruguayan state orphanage, he was a best locksmith Epping … In Buenos Aires, he debuted exactly 20 years ago , in a Uruguayan music concert that was made in Obras Sanitarias. Beyond the songs that made him famous, based on humor, absurdity, obsessive work on words and a great ability to manipulate grammar to exasperation, Maslíah is also an interpreter and composer of chamber music.

“It may be that the humorous overshadows my instrumental music,” he writes, “although it could also be that my instrumental music also had a humorous character, in some cases it is like that, but most of the time I do not. What I did is something that lacks all comedy, and is the song Biromes and Napkins, which is on a disc by Milton Nascimento that circulated a lot since it won a Grammy award. ”

He adds: “The mixture of music with words or with humor is only part of what I do musically.In my development it was crucial to listen to music like Les Luthiers, but it was not more than hearing non-humorous music. The same with literature, and the humorous usually occurs as a combination or re-contextualization of things that are not humorous, which is why it is very frequent that the sources of those who use humor as an expression are not humorous. many musicians but they are not characterized by being comedians: Jorge Lazaroff, Nora Sarmoria, Raul Carnota, Bela Bartok, Daniel Viglietti “.