Here is an amazing performance of Las Abejas, a composition of the Paraguayan guitarist Augustin Barrios. Agustín Barrios composed Las Abejas in 1921, the same year he wrote another famous piece of music, La Catedral. Although it is classified as a study and it is said that Barrios rarely performed it for audiences, the song has been recorded and performed by modern artists almost as much as La Catedral.

Las Abejas by Barrios

Image from wikipedia

This is a duet performance, by the amazing Hamilton de Hollanda, together with an exceptional guitarist, Marco Pereira. Listen to the performance to hear an amazing jazz variation of the Las Abejas theme, performed with exceptional virtuozity. Just amazing! The song is included in a disc titled Luz das Cordas, released in 2000.

Las Abejas

You can definitely try to play it and it does not have to be in that incredible speed, it sounds amazing even if it is slower. The score can be found in the world known IMSLP database, and  you can download it and print it for free.

If you search, you will discover many different variations of Las Abejas, making it impossible to identify a definitive version. Even the famous guitarist John Williams took the liberty of changing notes and structure in his recording on the record From the Jungles of Paraguay. In this performance by Hamilton de Holanda, you can hear a great improvisation at the middle of the composition that adds a Jazz “aura” to the music, something that Hamilton frequently does.

So, instead of imitating other performers, you must explore the work on your own to play the piece in a way that matches your style. It is highly recommended to start very sow, and wait until you’ve practiced the measures enough to develop the additional flexibility and strength required for the fingering, before increasing the tempo. Enjoy!

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