Argentinian guitarist Rafael Nasta talks about his steps on the blues roads, Chris Cain and local scene

"I thing that as time goes by you are more mature, while your experience prompts you to choose the best notes."

Rafael Nasta: Experiencias de Blues 

Rafael Nasta is an Argentinian blues musician. In the early 90's he formed the Nasta Super Blues Band. Recently he made a successful tour with the renowned West Coast guitarist Chris Cain, confirming its leadership as Blues guitarist in Argentina with his own band. Nasta Super had recorded five Cd's edited, "Nasta Super," "Problema Social ", "Van a Pagar", "Que la Suerte te Acompane" and "Tiempo Perdido". At this time the band have two DVD's Nasta Super Live At Tangoar, and Intimo.  At this time the band is: Rafa Nasta on guitar and vocals, Gabriel Cabiaglia on drums, Mauro Ceriello on Bass and Keyboards Walter Galeazzi.

"My sound is simple, just the guitar wired to the amplifier. I very rarely use any other effect, and that happens mainly when I use Strats. My soundbook is a modern one, I like the traditional sound but I tend to mix it with jazz and funk."

Rafael Nasta is one of the most important figures in local Blues scene, with his own style and dedicated to modern Blues. He has performed and shared the stage with the most important guitarists of local scene: Luis Salinas, Francisco Rivero, Alambre Gonzalez and International level artists like: Chris Cain, Lurrie Bell, Phil Guy, Duke Robillard, Eddie C. Campbell, Byther Smith, Larry McCray, Eddie King, John Primer, Little Mark Simmons, among others. 

Interview by Michael Limnios

Photos by: Dolores G., Ornella Capone, Marcelo Santangelo & Gustavo Seronello

What do you learn about yourself from the blues and what does the blues mean to you?

Thanks to the Blues I have learned how to be patient, how to take the right time. This is music played through air which gives me air as well. I understand the Blues as my lifestyle, my way of life; I owe the Blues everything I am and that feeling hits me right on the chest.

How do you describe Rafael Nasta sound and songbook? What characterize your music philosophy?

My sound is simple, just the guitar wired to the amplifier. I very rarely use any other effect, and that happens mainly when I use Strats. My soundbook is a modern one, I like the traditional sound but I tend to mix it with jazz and funk.

What characterizes my music is my personal experience and also experiences that I find in other people’s lives; I like to wright about my own feelings and different events I have gone through.

"I would like music producing companies to be more open to art than to business. There are many great talents who do not have enough opportunities, while big companies only care about money and forget that music is an Art."

Why did you think that the Blues music continues to generate such a devoted following?

I guess that such devoted feeling comes from the fact that the Blues have a style which cuts deep into you and touches your heart with an impact that never ends. Once the Blues catches you, there is no way out from this marvelous musical genre.

Which memories from Phil Guy, John Primer, Little Mark Simmons and Eddie C. Campbell makes you smile?

Every time one has the honor to play and share the stage with such artists, there is a big smile rising in your face. These artists breathe Blues, live the Blues and transmit it in a simple and honest manner. Their generosity pulls out a big smile on anybody’s face.

What is the best advice a bluesman ever gave you?

The best advice I have ever received it to play from the heart, to play what I really feel, taking always my time.

Is it easier to play the blues as you get older?

Yes, I agree with that notion. I thing that as time goes by you are more mature, while your experience prompts you to choose the best notes.

"I understand the Blues as my lifestyle, my way of life; I owe the Blues everything I am and that feeling hits me right on the chest." (Photo: Rafa & Chris Cain)

Are there any memories from Chris Cain which you’d like to share with us?

Well, when I travelled to see Chris Cain at a small theatre called Little Fox (California) something happened that was very important to me. As Chris was playing, his amplifier broke down during the third song. Since there was neither a substitute nor a replacement, the public became anxious. People in charge of the sound as well as the stage manager tried to help, but it seemed that no one was able to find the problem. It was then that I decided to jump to the stage and tell Chris that since I was an Argentine guitar player and since I knew a great deal about amplifiers, maybe (and if he didn’t mind) I could help. As Chris agreed, I checked the amplifier and after having immediately found the failure, the show went on. Since then, Chris and I became good friends and I promised that one day I would bring him to Buenos Aires. Thanks God this is the fourth consecutive time that I have invited him to Argentina.  

What do you miss most nowadays from the blues of past?

Although I still listen to the old Blues, I think we must understand that we are living a new century; music keeps mutating and changing.

At the present time, I am closer to modern Blues than I am to the traditional style. I listen to Robben Ford, Chris Cain, Matt Schofield, Scott Henderson, John Scofield and all those who are incorporating new trends.

What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

Considering that I do not know the future, meaning that I ignore what could or could not happen, I try not to think a great deal about it. I rather focus on a good present, as I am convinced that a good present will eventually bring a great future too. Basically, I hope I will continue making music, living with this for the rest of my life.

"I guess that such devoted feeling comes from the fact that the Blues have a style which cuts deep into you and touches your heart with an impact that never ends."

If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be?

I would like music producing companies to be more open to art than to business. There are many great talents who do not have enough opportunities, while big companies only care about money and forget that music is an Art.

Make an account of the case of the blues in Argentina. Which is the most interesting period in local scene?

Among local pioneers we can find Pappo, a Blues guitar player who spread the seed around Argentina, as well as Manal, quite a famous group. As years went by, other excellent talents emerged such as Alambre Gonzalez, Gonzalo Bergara, Gabriel Jolivet, Leon Vanella, just to name a few. Nowadays, Argentina is a Blues fan country where weekends present a plentiful circuit of bands that stand up for a great and very enjoyable Blues offer.

What are the lines that connect the legacy of Blues from United States to Argentina and Latin America?

In the case of Argentina, I think that legacy consists of the bands I have mentioned above. Unfortunately, there is not that much Blues in the rest of Latin America; it is my understanding that only Argentina and Brasil offer an important Blues movement. Here, In Argentina, we have "Baires Blues" - an important producing company - whose aim is to bring North American talents.

What has made you laugh lately and what touched (emotionally) you from the local music circuits?

Among the things that have made me laugh are local performers who imitate North American artists and speak as if they were the creators of Blues. On the other hand, it thrills me to find new generations making Blues and keeping the flame alive. In fact, we have a Blues School "Escuela de Blues" where new generations grow to become future bluesmen.

"I like to wright about my own feelings and different events I have gone through."

Photo: Rafa & JLW

Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really wanna go for a whole day..?

I would have loved to spend a whole day with Albert King, playing with him. In my opinion, he is the most talented electric Blues guitar player ever to set foot on this earth.

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