Ambassador Cason had never sung professionally before
The US ambassador to Paraguay has become a music
sensation in the country after recording an album of folk songs in the
indigenous Guarani language.
"What I've been trying to do is show respect for Paraguay and for its
culture," James Cason told the BBC.
Proceeds from the album sales are going to fund English-language grants
for poor Paraguayan students.
Mr Cason's efforts have been well received, although one politician
grumbled about his pronunciation.
"The polls show that Paraguayans thought we didn't respect their
culture. I said, that's not true and so that's why before I even came to
the country, I learned Guarani and I've been studying since then," Mr
"I've never been to a country where I can't speak the
language." (¡¿CUÁNTOS INÚTILES
DIPLOMÁTICOS/AS Y FUNCIONARIOS/AS PARAGUAYOS/AS ESTÁN EN SU
PAÍS, PARAGUÁI, Y NO ENTIENDEN Y NO HABLAN GUARANÍ?! ¡MALDITO
"APARTHEID LINGÜÍSTICO" PARAGUAYO! MALDITO.)
Through his lessons, he discovered that Paraguay "has really beautiful
music", he said.
'Harder than Chinese'
Mr Cason, who had never been involved in professional music before, was
encouraged to sing by Paraguay's most celebrated soprano, Rebecca
This resulted in his appearance at a concert and the recording of his
CD of folk songs, including one the ambassador wrote himself, Campo
Some reviews have been less than favourable, and one Paraguayan
politician said the ambassador "sings horribly and his pronunciation of
Guarani words is stammering".
But Mr Cason's songs have been playing on the radio and listeners have
been enthusiastic, he says.
"I think they're just amazed and delighted that someone would take the
time to learn a language which is probably harder than Chinese," said Mr
Cason, who leaves Paraguay, his final posting, on 2 August.