Skay Beilinson (La Plata, 01/15/1952) never left very firm biographical traces. In the seven decades of her life until today, there was not much emphasis on self-documenting. Despite being a key figure in the history of Argentine rock, he prefers to slip away like a ghost.
And although the reverse of his former friend, partner and nemesis? Indio Solari, chose not to isolate himself and be a public person (he runs errands, goes out to eat, runs periodically through Palermo, usually goes to drink in his friends’ bars). He has developed a gift without a label, halfway between invisibility and a timid fragility that invites him not to approach him.
And if he does, the pale eyes that encouraged Marta Minujin to baptize him “sky” in those days when the Instituto Di Tella and rock weren’t separate issues won’t be so visible.
Skay’s preaching seems to be based on example. The most recent, for example, occurred on his return to live shows, leading his band (Los Fakires) at the Movistar Arena in Villa Crespo. In front of more than ten thousand witnesses, he decided to first bring a premiere (the contractured blues-rock of Pigeons and ladders) attaching, glued, the most celebrated theme of local music, Ji Ji Ji.
Thus, in that sonic hinge, present and past, his current soloist and the anthem of Patricio Rey and his Redonditos de Ricota came together in the same breath, also unlocking the logical story of his show in a happy anticlimax. Nostalgia is never a resource or option in this artist or in his work.
Sakay, with Poly. More than half a century of love.
“This is a story about artistic freedom, religion, political ambiguity, self-study and the creation of art under a repressive regime.” The same thing that film director Andrei Tarkovski once said about the 15th-century Russian artist Andrei Rubliov, the subject of his celebrated film, could describe Skay’s long road.
Of course, it links geographically with the direct origins of his surname, which come from Baku (Azerbaijan) where his father Aaron was born, a former Soviet republic, and current country, near the Caspian Sea. And not so far from Georgia, another former republic the Beatles winked at in Back in U.S.S.R, that topic that opened the White Album, published just when young Skay was passing through Europe, in 1968.
It is the one that pondered integrating the Holy Trinity of local independent rock, along with Indio Solari and his life partner, Negra Poly, when founding Patricio Rey y sus Redonditos de Ricota. They were not the first, but they were the ones that went the furthest, until they established themselves as a unique phenomenon in the world.
From the way of composing their songs to generating their shows and distributing their records, they made the text manual that, once effective and oiled, facilitated the movements of all the most successful Argentine rock from the ’90s to date. His solo career, which has already spent two decades of study and path, is faithful to the modes traced since the end of the ’70s.
The Round ones. With Indio Solari he formed a historical duo. A society that lasted a quarter of a century.
When the enlightened, brilliant and mischievous serial no-nonsense Indio Solari “tries” to praise his former partner in the documentary Tsunami: an ocean of peoplee, does not avoid falling into the trap of his own tirria.
“There are three solos by Skay that I find wonderful: that of A whole stick, the one of Black label and I’ll forget about the third because I’m big ”. Solari, a cultist of editing as part of the creative system, knows that he is in the middle of a documentary and that a snap of his fingers would be enough to ask for a cut and repair the pothole, but no. It’s done like that.
In his sayings, expanded in the memoir Memories that lie a little, the creative contribution of his former partner in Los Redonditos de Ricota is minimal. Almost insignificant. Curious all, and incomplete until Skay answers the shots by elevation.
Suspicious, too, from the reduction of Indio to the role of “solo maker”, when one of the many salient skills of the guitarist is his ability to orchestrate the songs, with riffs, bridges, solos and phrasing that become so chanted like the lyrics themselves.
In the style of Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin), Beilinson does not build songs, but sound cathedrals: anthems of an architecture forged in a very own style, which continues to be part of the aesthetic conformation of his seven solo albums, and even of the very interesting material that was uploading during the pandemic, one topic per month.
The fact that many of the first Redonditos musicians remember him as the one who directed rehearsals with a pendulum-whistle on his chest to tame the seminal chaos would not clarify the many either. The songs remain, and their imprint is undeniable.
The birth of Patricio Rey. Skay, mid-’70s, searching for her destiny.
One of the most important decisions made by the creative nucleus of Los Redondos, of which Guillermo Beilinson (Skay’s brother) was also a part, was to eradicate the possibility of a leader from the project. So, Patricio Rey, a nobody, a demiurge, a fictional character behind whom they could form a column, Los Redonditos.
It is inferred that the true reason for the end of the band, at the beginning of this millennium, could have with the moment in which the Indian began to establish himself as an individual entity, above the incorporeal Patricio Rey, beyond the assumed examples of disagreements. economic and other minutiae of the inside of the band.
Outside of guesswork, Skay always showed his spiritual side, never settling in traditional religious niches, despite having Jewish blood running through his veins. Rather, he can be considered as a curious and pantheistic man, in permanent search for symptoms and signs of illumination.
In your passport, it is as easy to find stamps from places like Fez, Istanbul and Jerusalem as it is from Paris, Berlin or London. And in his interviews, he prefers never to fall for the spicy foods of Indio Solari and to put his concerns in the foreground. “The mystery is to exist,” he said in 2016.
Art under repression
It is not told by legend, but by Beilinson himself on more than one occasion, that when together with Poly and a group of friends they retreated from the city to the countryside to end up in a community experience in Pigüé (southwest of the province of Buenos Aires ) the then pigeon musician lived happy days.
He communicated with the birds and was close to following in the footsteps of Saint Francis of Assisi when his parents excised him from that idyllic world with the diagnosis of “mystical neurosis.”
That was a short time before the ERP (People’s Revolutionary Army) kidnapped his father in 1973 and put in check the life of the family, which had been very good until then.
His next inland exiles, always carried out with Poly, would be in the second part of the ’70s and would have destinations as extreme as Salta (a couple of years in the harsh clearing) and Mendoza (to try to straighten a winery that gave lost).
Skay Beilinson, in the ’80s. The age of pubs and the first hymns. When the subsequent massiveness was something unsuspected …
In both cases, the reasons had a triple play: 1) Continue avoiding the citizen routine. 2) Seeking to profit from land or businesses that the Beilinson family had maintained despite the post-ransom bankruptcy. 3) Being off the radar of the installed state violence that began with Triple A during the government of Isabel Perón and would worsen with the 1976 Military Coup.
In fact, it was the need to return to La Plata from time to time and get together with his old friends that would serve as an excuse to speed up and oil the times of Patricio Rey and his Ricotta Rounds as a carnival vehicle for so much sorrow, absence, pain. and distance.
Skay, an enlightened one in his own darkness. Photo Martín Bonetto.
No Guru, No Methor, No teacher. As the legendary musician Van Morrison put it in one of his albums (No Guru, No Method, and No Master), Skay managed on his own to create an unmistakable style.
He was 17 years old when he attended a Jimi Hendrix show at the Royal Albert Hall in London. (February 1969) and a few months later he was returning to La Plata with bombs like Led Zeppelin’s debut album.
That, for a man who always functioned as a sensitive antenna, was enough. But not final. From what he gathers, his followers made one of the most tender and accurate little songs that can be heard on the local scene.
“It is a special night / you are not going to miss it / it touches the heart / of Patricio Rey.” Because where El Indio was assumed to be the face of the legend (and Negra Poly, silent ventriloquist of the ricotero dream, could be the liver), Skay beats and smiles, as if assuming that not all dreams are lost.