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“The great artists of the south of Spain, gypsies or flamenco, already sing, already dance, already play, know that no emotion is possible without the arrival of the Elf“said Federico García Lorca in a conference in Buenos Aires in 1933. The text was collected in Goblin’s game and theory, an essay on the mystical influence of a superior force, something in which Federico believed ‘at face value’. Intangible and mysterious, the Elf was for the ubiquitous writer in Rimbaud, Goethe O the cante of Granada’s Sacromonte equally.

Lorca rejoiced in the unknown of force, which without knowing or disregarding technique had the same relevance as the “tasty science” that he described. Saint John of the Cross, connoisseur of all mysticism. From Pastora Pavón, The Girl with the Combs, wrote that during a concert in which the goblin did not appear, someone in the audience yelled a “long live Paris”, making the French capital a metonymy to discard the technique and reclaim the experience. Pastora then got up as if possessed, drank from the cazalla and dedicated to the public a torn cante that was received with cheers, invoking at last the goblin.

Lorca the musician

Before entering the Home and study Philosophy and Letters in 1918, Lorca wanted to be a musician. On the piano you can see him in some photographs, with the countenance of a poet, without even imagining that his teacher became Manuel de Falla, who had moved to Granada in the first decade of the 20th century.

Lorca in 1932 along with a poster for La Barraca.

Wikimedia Commons

The writer went to his house to ask him in person to take classes with him. The musician, reserved with the students he took under his wing, saw in Lorca the necessary aptitudes to be able to make a career in music and accepted it. They were of very different backgrounds. Falla was a Catholic and a conservative, Y He did not see with good eyes nor the homosexuality of Lorca nor his “lack of temperance” when responding in interviews.

However, from the meeting of both geniuses, a friendship emerged that Lorca would speak of in the following decades, with words, always of affection, towards the author of The love wizard.

With the composer he studied for several years, showed him the vanguards that were brewing in Europe and that would also have an impact on the literary torrent of the Andalusian. Unable to fight the latter, who was making his way more and more ardently, Lorca abandoned the instrument to go to Madrid and dedicate themselves to other trades.

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However, the close relationship with music would emanate more often from the throat and hands of the poet. The Granada-born man boasted of being the one who knew the most popular songs, many of them were never transcribed since he thought that the rigidity of the pentagram would stagnate them. In the 1920s he would travel along with his teacher the Andalusian towns in search of popular songs, gathering once again as many clues as he could from the duende’s passage through fund Y sales.

Thus in 1931, he transcribed several songs on the piano directly on the blackboard and 78 revolutions, accompanied by the voice of The Argentinita: Gypsy zorongo, The four muleteers, you Jaleo, In the Café de Chinitas, The three leaves, The waiters of Monleón, The Pelegrinitos, Nana de Sevilla, Sevillanas from the 18th century Y The morels of Jaén.

Flamenco singing

In 1922 Falla and Lorca founded the Cante Jondo contest, a competition to discover talents and sounds of the town. The poet once again wanted to get to the roots of popular cantes, ignoring the flamenco built on a checkbook basis by the gentlemen who picked up the gypsies in their cars to take them to the farmhouses to perform.

Cante Jondo Competition of 1922

Cante Jondo Competition of 1922

Lorca World

In order to obtain sufficient financial support, on December 31, 1931, a letter signed by Manuel de Falla, Joaquin Turina, Giner de los Ríos, Juan Ramon Jimenez, Ramón Pérez de Ayala e Ignacio Sánchez Mejías among many others. After the flood of signatories, the city could only accept the conditions and start organizing the first national cante contest.

In the Plaza de los Aljibes from Alhambra, in the height of summer, figures of the stature of Jose Cepero, Thomas Pavon O The girl with the combs in front of a beautiful curtain painted by Ignacio Zuloaga. Among the winners, the chronicles left the shy name of a stranger Manolo CaracoHe who won one of the first prizes and to whom the subsequent decades would soar with glory.

Ramón Gómez de la Serna he delivered a speech that was greeted with such laughter every time the writer opened his mouth that it was impossible even to carry it out. The surrealist entente that met in the middle of Corpus Christi only missed Igor Stravinsky Y Maurice Ravel, invited but absent at the last moment due to the weakened municipal coffers.

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However picturesque the scene may seem, the idea of ​​those present was based on creating literature of an unknown art. Cante Jondo begins to take shape in its aesthetics and its essence as the aforementioned figures become aware of it. From the amalgam of influences and ‘palos’, a unifying current begins to emerge that will lay the foundations of flamenco to this day.

Lorca and The Legend

It is not surprising that the poet’s deep imprint survived the following decades. Neither the efforts of the Franco regime to erase all traces of the poet through arms, nor the silence to which his poetry was relegated, served so that the marriage between pen and cante died.

In 1979, Island Shrimp And his wife, The Spark, traveled to Madrid to leave testimony of one of the most important records in the history of flamenco In our country. In studies Polygraph From the capital, Ricardo Pachon He conjured a group of musicians who were to pave the future of the genre. Neither Kiko Venom, nor the Amador brothers, ni Alameda forgot the poet who once again flew over in the form of the wind, so present in his poems, the recording of The legend of time.

Once the gale ended and while the album was mixed, Camarón returned home with the bittersweet feeling having lost the aforementioned Elf between synths Moog, electric basses and percussions from the album. Only one song had claimed for the maestro the mystique of the “thistles and definitive stones” of the national cante of which the poet spoke: The lullaby of the big horse.

It is not surprising that Lorca’s text exerted a supernatural force on the singer, but it is surprising that the only accompaniment to the song was the sitar, Indian instrument, and the organ that surround his voice. A Lorca who could never enjoy who possibly best interpreted his poems and who said that Spain was a country “always moved by the goblin and always open to death“.

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