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James Cason, Ambassador, Paraguay Singing Sensation

Amb. James Cason, Paraguay Singing SensationJames Cason, the U.S. Ambassador to Paraguay, has achieved rock star status in that country. Literally.

[H]e learned the obscure Paraguayan Guaraní language, recorded a music album of indigenous folk songs and sold 1,000 tickets to a concert in a downtown theater. Now, in the final year of his four-decade diplomatic career, Cason has suddenly become the toast of Paraguay, or at least the country’s most unusual pop star.

”He’s been on TV and in all the newspapers,” said Nelson Viveros, 16, who traveled to meet the ambassador recently in Encarnación, by the Argentina border. “It’s strange, but people love it.”

Reviews have been mixed:

In a review of the CD release show in the Ultima Hora newspaper, a critic noted that Cason ”sat on a stool with the lyrics in front of him” during the entire performance, appearing ”nervous or unsure about the tune and pronunciation of Guaraní.” The newspaper La Nación was more direct: The ambassador, it said, “sang in the monotone of a tired bird.”

Following the show in Itá, Cason said, fan mail poured into the embassy — as did invitations to festivals and for a (nonsinging) cameo as a cardinal in the opera Tosca. The songs he had performed in Itá went into heavy rotation on local radio stations.

Judge for yourself. Here’s a video of Cason’s musical stylings:

Story via Patrick Fitzgerald. Photo credit: State Department.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He earned a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Dave Schuler says:

    I’m not sure there’s enough money in the world to pay me to hear a U. S. ambassador sing in Guarani.

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  2. Richard Gardner says:

    Does “GOD TV” mean something different in Guarani, or is this part of an insidious Administration plot to put religion into Diplomacy? [I expect to actually see comments like that over on some anti-Bush sites; I just found the station label of Channel 4 in Ita unusual.]

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  3. Fausta says:

    Nice!
    Will he do weddings and Bar Mitzvas, too?

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  4. davod says:

    Situation normal. Panned by the critics, the people love him.

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  5. Actually, I will give the man credit for trying to make a local connection, and therefore engaging (I would argue) in useful public diplomacy. Insofar as learning a local language and being willing to engage the population has to be a net positive for the US’s image.

    Cason has a history of making himself known, btw.

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  6. od says:

    Actually, I will give the man credit for trying to make a local connection, and therefore engaging (I would argue) in useful public diplomacy. Insofar as learning a local language and being willing to engage the population has to be a net positive for the US’s image.

    Yup, I’d say he’s doing his job, and at least in this regard, doing it well.

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