Dancers rely on their legs, singers their vocal chords and guitarists their fingernails. According to classical guitarist Jim Bosse, the permanently attached guitar picks at the end of his fingers are his most prized possession that can either make or literally break a performance.
Bosse, the northern half of Dos Amricas (Spanish for "two Americas"), takes good care of his nails: he moisturizes them daily, manicures them precisely and reinforces them with Super Glue when emergencies arise.
Alejandro Dvila, Bosse's Argentinean counterpart, is also a keen manicurist as well as an established guitarist and composer. Together they are Dos Amricas and will perform as part of the Recital Series 2004-2005 at The Colorado Springs School.
It is an unlikely combination: a Cañon City optometrist and an associate professor of guitar who live thousand of miles apart. But it works.
Bosse lives in Cañon City and balances running his business with playing guitar. He began his music career as a teenager in a rock band and had stints with various groups. His interest gradually shifted to classical guitar and he has studied with some of Colorado's finest musicians.
By contrast, Dvila has always played classical music and started when he was 7 years old. He obtained his professorship in classical guitar at the San Juan National University in Argentina where today he is the associate professor. He has performed throughout Argentina and Chile and since 1997 has given over 80 concerts in the United States.
Unlike the continents they represent, Dos Amricas has a melodious relationship, but some gulfs still exist. Bosse and Dvila do not have a common language; they communicate by Bosse speaking broken Spanish and Dvila responding in similarly broken English. "We get by," Bosse said. "Just."
But all barriers are transcended in the music. The guitar playing is complex, rich and transporting.
Classical guitarists often play solo. What gives Dos Amricas' music its depth and wonder is the beauty of both guitars working in harmony.
The duo met seven years ago when Dvila performed in Cañon City. Bosse was taken aback by what he heard; he took a guitar lesson given by Dvila and asked the Argentinean to look at some of his own compositions. Dvila was impressed; a friendship was formed and sealed in 2001 when Dvila invited a petrified Bosse to play for his Argentinean students. Bosse survived the ordeal and the experience solidified his desire to continue performing and composing.
Since October 2001, they have performed as a duo in both the United States and Argentina.
In the Springs the show will center on music from the two Americas. The first half will contain Argentinean pieces, some by Astor Piazzolla, the renowned father of New Tango, and others by Jose Paredes, a little-known composer. The arrangements are all contained on the CD Music of Argentina, which will be available at the show. The second half will include pieces composed by Bosse and some of his arrangements of contemporary tunes.
It will be a great show, but there is that Achilles' heel: those oh-so-temperamental fingernails. Too brittle, they break easily. Too soft and the guitar strings do not resonate with clarity and the music can seem lifeless.
Speed and constant friction can break even the most nurtured nails, but Bosse assures us not to worry: There'll be plenty of Super Glue backstage.
capsule Dos Amricas
Louisa Performing Arts Center, The Colorado Springs School, 21 Broadmoor Ave.
Thursday, Feb. 10 at 7 p.m.
Tickets: $15 adults, $10 students and seniors. Call 475-9747, ext. 110 for more information