Dare to Read

October 30, 2011

Leonard Cohen Acceptance Speech Premio Principe de Asturias

 

by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban

 

 

As I mentioned in a previous post (https://carmenferreiroesteban.wordpress.com/2011/06/04/congratulations-to-leonard-cohen/) the Canadian poet Leonard Cohen won the Spanish award Principe de Asturias in Literature.

Here you can listen to his moving speech while accepting the award in which he credits Federico Garcia Lorca for giving him his voice and an unknown young Spaniard who taught him how to play guitar.

Beautiful!

August 19, 2011

Requiem for Federico

by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban

to Federico Garcia Lorca

In August 18, 1936, Federico Garcia Lorca was taken prisoner by Nationalist militia in Granada, during the chaos that followed the failed military coup that ignited the Spanish Civil War. He was never seen again, and his tomb was never found.

He had been born in Granada in 1898 and, by the time of his death he was an internationally renowned poet and playwright.

Interested in the Spanish folklore in his youth he published Libro de poemas (1921) and Romancero Gitano (“The Gypsy Ballads”) (1928). Some of these early poems (La Tarara, Verde que te quiero verde, Anda jaleo, Romance de la luna) have become deeply engraved in the Spanish subconscious and are still widely sang today.

Romance de la Luna.

Verde que te quiero verde.

De los cuatro muleros.

Lorca was also an accomplished pianist and (as reflected in his poems) a lover of the Cante Jondo or “deep song” performed by singer and guitarists in his native Andalucia. A passion he shared with the renowned Spanish composer Manuel de Falla.

Falla’s ballet El Amor Brujo was brought to the screen by Carlos Saura in the 1980s with Antonio Gadés and Cristina Hoyos.

As was Lorca’s play, Bodas de Sangre.

Lorca’s other two plays in the Rural Spain trilogy, Yerma (about the impossible yearning of a barren woman for a child) and La Casa de Bernarda Alba (a tragedy that explores the repression suffered by women in traditionalist Spain) have also been filmed. La casa de Bernarda Alba by Mario Camus in 1982 and Yerma by Pilar Távora in 1998.

The three plays are still performed today both at University Drama representations and at mainstream theaters.

To escape a deep depression brought about by an unrequited love and his conflicted feelings about his homosexuality, Lorca traveled to New York where he lived in 1929-1930. NYC made a profound impression in him. During his visits to Harlem and later in his trip to Cuba, he discovered and fell in love with African-American spirituals which reminded him of Spain’s “deep songs.”. All these experiences, coagulated in his book Poet in New York.

Years later, the Canadian bard, Leonard Cohen discovered Lorca’s book in a Montreal bookstore. Lorca became Cohen’s idol so much so he named his daughter after him (Lorca).

Cohen’s translated and set to music one of Lorca’s poems Pequeño Vals Vienés. You may recognize this hauntingly beautiful song as Take This Waltz.

Apart from the films based on his plays, several movies have been made with Lorca himself as protagonist. (Go here http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0305030/ for a complete list). Among them, La Desaparición De García Lorca (1996) with Andy García, terribly miscast as Lorca, and the deeply moving Little Ashes (2009),

In Little Ashes, Robert Pattison, of Harry Potter and Twilight fame, does a moving portrait of the Surrealistic painter Salvador Dali and the Spanish actor, Javier Beltrán, plays Lorca as a young man in the fictionalized account of the time they spent together, and with the well-known director Luis Buñuel, in the Residencia de Estudiantes de Madrid. You can read my review at http://www.notreadyforgrannypanties.com/2011/06/little-ashes.html

Later Dali and Buñuel moved to Paris where they collaborated in the surrealist film A chien Andalous,

<a href="http://video.google.com/googleplayer.swf?docid=3830396680029577028&hl=en&fs=true“><embed id=VideoPlayback src=http://video.google.com/googleplayer.swf?docid=3830396680029577028&hl=en&fs=true style=width:400px;height:326px allowFullScreen=true allowScriptAccess=always type=application/x-shockwave-flash> </embed>

as shocking and provoking today, as it was in 1929 when it was conceived.

Lorca believed the title of the film (totally unrelated to its content) was meant as an insult to him. For as he says in Little Ashes, “I’m the only andaluz they know.”

His death at 38 put an early end to this talented poet, playwright, theater director (he travelled with a tent, La Barraca, through Spain in the 1930s, bringing the classical theater for free to towns and villages), and painter. You can see a gallery of Lorca’s pictures here: http://www.slide.com/r/3s4clS893z9ZetLN0MEKGwknzkdVTTEU?fbr=1

As my personal requiem for Lorca, I made him one of the immortals in my novel Garlic for Breakfast (https://carmenferreiroesteban.wordpress.com/2010/12/27/garlic-for-breakfast-8-by-carmen-ferreiro-esteban/).

This episodic review does no justice to the multiple artistic facets of this immensely talented poet, but I hope it has awaken your interest to learn more.

June 4, 2011

Congratulations to Leonard Cohen

by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban
In one of those bizarre coincidences, as I prepared for my reading last night (see below Homage to Federico Garcia Lorca), I learned Leonard Cohen has been named on June 2nd, this year’s recipient of Spain’s Prince of Asturias Award in Literature.

http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/lifestyle/2011/06/01/leonard-cohen-wins-spanish-letters-prize/#ixzz1OAIXaNlm

I had the pleasure of seeing Leonard Cohen in person in San Francisco in 1989.
I still remember.
In the link below you can hear him singing Take this Waltz, his amazing translation of Federico Garcia Lorca’s Pequeño Vals Vianés.
http://youtu.be/WdkIW7V8Y0w
My sincere congratulations to a great man and artist.

December 17, 2010

Garlic for Breakfast 7

Welcome again to my paranormal novel Garlic for Breakfast.
If you missed the previous installments, please check below.


by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban

 

 

“Don’t.”

Federico’s arm shot in front of me and grabbed my hand. “Please, don’t,” he said. “Becquer might forgive me for breaking his car. Or for failing to drive you to the party. But if I do both, he will kill me for sure.”

I turned to look at him, surprised at the self-deprecating teasing in his voice.

“I thought you were immortal,” I said.

Federico smiled. “I’m sure he would find a way,” he said letting go of my hand. “His ingenuity to cause me pain knows no limit.”

“You love him,” I said and regretted it immediately, for I was afraid my inappropriate comment would throw him into another fit of anger. But Federico didn’t seem to hear. He was staring at the gaping hole in the dashboard where the wheel used to be as if he willing another one to appear.

“Becquer is right,” he said after a moment. “I do overreact sometimes.”

He sounded so defeated I felt sorry for him. Becquer was charming, I had to admit. It was not difficult for me to imagine falling for him and the pain at his rejection. “Not at all,” I said to cheer him up. “Your reaction was understandable giving the circumstances. He should have offered to pick you up.”

“You think?” he asked. Then, after I nodded, he added wistfully. “Let’s hope Becquer agrees with you when I tell him.”

I waited for him to produce a phone and call Becquer to ask him for a ride. Although it wasn’t cold outside, I was not looking forward to walking in the dark in my too tight black dress. But Federico didn’t move and when, after digging into my handbag, I offered him mine, he shook his head.

“That won’t be necessary,” he said. “Matt is coming.”

“How do you know that?”

“Becquer just told me.”

“But you didn’t…” I didn’t finish my words but waved the unused phone in my hand.

“I don’t need a phone to talk with Becquer.”

“You can read his mind?”

“Not exactly. I only hear what he wants to share. I cannot force myself into his mind. He would notice and block me. Actually, he just did that, when… Did Becquer ask you to be his secretary?”

“No. I’m just a writer.”

“Only a writer.” He smiled, a friendly smile that lit a twinkle of mischief in his eyes. And I found myself warming to him. “And what do you write, if I may ask?”

“Mainly stories for young adults, about impossible love and faraway lands.”

Federico nodded. “It sounds like something Becquer would love, and Beatriz would hate.”

“And you?”

“Me? I would have to read the story first. I used to write dramas when I was human. But I have mellowed with time.”

“You were a writer before you were immortal?”

“I was indeed.”

Federico bent forward and worked the CD player with his long fingers until he found the right track. “Listen,” he said. Sitting back against his seat, he closed his eyes.

Now in Vienna there are ten pretty women.

There is a shoulder where Death comes to cry.

The broken voice of Leonard Cohen came through the speakers, declaiming a poem made song. The first song I had danced at my wedding with the husband that had since become a stranger.

Take this waltz, take this waltz,

take this waltz with the clamp in its jaws.

Federico, eyes still closed, sang along keeping the beat on the dashboard with his fingers.

I looked at him in profile and, as if seeing him for the first time, I noticed his dark wavy hair, his cleaved chin, his arched bushy eyebrows. I gasped.

“You’re Federico,” I said, my voice breaking before I could complete his full name.

Federico nodded. “Yes, he said. I am ‘that’ Federico.”

Without losing his beat, he resumed his singing, his voice fitting perfectly the lyrics of the song, the lyrics of his perfect words.

To be continued …

If you missed the previous installments, please check below.