POETRY AS MUSIC

 ADAPTATION of MELODIES from COHEN to POEMS of LORCA and OTHERS 

By Leonard Cohe By Federico Garcia Lorca       

The Window > Se ha puesto el sol

Anthem         >    Balada interior

Who by fire  >    Si mis manos pudieran deshojar

And By Miguel de Cervantes       

Dance Me to the End of Love >     Bailan las Gitanas   

 COMPOSER of FERNANDO BARROS to POEMS of LORCA and OTHERS

Son De Negros en CubaEl Baile

Yo no soy yo, soy este

Guitarra Del Meson

Bolero flamenco, Romance de la perdida de Alháma.

La Caña Preflamenca

You Never Can Tell, Chuck Berry.

Observing metamorphic transformations in nature allows us to extrapolate that method to humans and the arts. That is to say, the foundational substance becomes a supporting substance retained in the new identity. These essential elements are absorbed, invisible yet to the observer, until the transformed form creates a stunning awareness of the new when loosed from its protective cover.

Likewise, our compositions make use of a similar pattern of creative transformation, if you will. We begin with folk songs that poet Federico Garcia Lorca chose, rescued from oblivion, transcribed for the piano and performed in various venues. Following a trajectory that reveals their hidden elements, we submit them to an unexpected metamorphic process. The melodic essences of the old songs are those that give musical meaning to different poems that Lorca wrote.

Additionally, in his short life, he created diverse artistic works, including poetry, music, and literature. He created formidable, yet popular, works for the theater, while also embracing other mediums such as painting. His contemporaries and artistic collaborators included Joan Miro and Salvador Dali.

“Lorca in the Keys of Hands and Voice,” a concert conceived and presented by Fernando Barros,  Adam Kent and Melissa Moore, is a collaboration inspired by Lorca’s example. Lorca collected melodies from the Spanish folklore repertoire and transcribed them for the piano using two different concepts: 1) adapting the old melodies to various of his poem, as for example, ANDA JALEO to the poem “Preciosa y el Aire”; and 2) singing the old songs using the expressive, emotive characteristics inherent in flamenco music.

At differing stages of development artists acknowledge their homage to other artists, history, other cultures and, sometimes, their peers. Inspiration is related to those metamorphic stages – hidden until the time comes to be revealed as something new. Our reveal is that of the link between Federico Garcia Lorca and Leonard Cohen.

The unlikely pairing of Spaniard, Federico Garcia Lorca and Canadian composer and singer, Leonard Cohen, spark questions of how two highly individualistic compositional processes can be at all similar. Along with us, you will discover how the beauty in Cohen’s melodies evoke the foundational structure that musically support Lorca’s poetry, forming a new expression unexplored before in either canon.

Fernando Barros, also a composer and singer, has a unique capacity to hear the innate musicality inherent in Spanish prose and poetry. His epiphany for creating this program came about while researching the profound influence Garcia Lorca and flamenco music had on the songwriter, Leonard Cohen. His metamorphic reveal consists of, not merely translating Cohen’s lyrics into Spanish, but readily adapting Lorca’s poems to the melodies of Cohen, like a glove coupled to a hand.

In “Take This Waltz,” Leonard Cohen reveals his gratitude to Federico Garcia Lorca by putting the clothes of his music to Lorca’s poem, “Poet in New York.” This collaboration, despite the separation of several decades and continents, can best be seen as a synthesis of the spiritual union of their two paths.

Fernando’s metaphors above are a striking example of how to approach the age-old question as to the sources of inspiration and creativity. His own compositions of the past decade reveal the inherent musicality found in the works of the writers and poets of Spain, reflected in a “beautiful voice, low in register, but with a clarion brightness to it, and beautiful diction.” His vocal resonance is uniquely suited to the subtleties required of melodic inflection and phrases.

The genesis for Cohen’s own leap into the unknown came at a time when he was dabbling in prose and poetry, having become influenced by the works of Garcia Lorca. At a park across the street from his family home in Montreal, Cohen encountered a young man playing the guitar. Impressed by the musicianship of the young man, he approached and asked if he would be willing to teach him the guitar. Cohen brought his languishing instrument to the next day’s lesson and proceeded to have a disappointing time of it while trying  to master the fingering and rhythms of his young teacher. Undaunted, he returned home and practiced, so that the next day’s lesson was not so much a disaster as the initial one. The same scenario repeated itself for a third day of practice and lesson. Cohen had made enough progress that he considered he might be able to actually learn to play the guitar. Just as mysteriously as he appeared, however, the young teacher disappeared. When Cohen contacted the landlady from whom the young man rented, he was told that he had committed suicide. In his early twenties himself, and a bit lost as to his own future, Cohen was deeply affected by this news. However, the young man had left Cohen with a lifetime gift of six foundational guitar chords. As it turns out, these were a flamenco guitar chord progressions and formed, “The basis of all my songs and all my music.” (Leonard Cohen)

Beginning with “Suzanne,” Fernando has begun to reveal the natural rhythms, tonalities and sentimentalities of Lorca and Cohen and ‘officiates at the marriage of the two voices.’ Adding his own, he realizes the essence of exploration, thereby concretizing the ephemeral quest for the source of inspiration and creativity. Flamenco itself is a synthesis of Mediterranean musical epochs and genres, ranging from before the time of the Visigoths, through African, Sephardic and Arabic influences, the Romantic era through to today’s innovations. Like the singers of flamenco’s genesis just 170 years ago, Lorca represented his deep comprehension of humanity in all its struggles, and Cohen its vagaries. Creating a broad cultural awareness of the rich heritage of flamenco’s past with links to innovations in  the present is our hallmark.

  • Inherent in the history of music is its ability to cross borders & bridge epochs. 
  • As humans strive to honor unity within diversity, our performance/educational works reveal innate, historical desires to resolve differences.
  • Woven into a time and place are the unique cultural textures that illuminate, define and enrich a people. 
  • We proudly present the three essential pillars of our Andalusian flamenco culture: literature (poetry & prose); music (Sephardic, ancient melodies and Spanish lineage); dance (rhythm & harmony).
  • Our performances reveal a wealth of historical references and selected poems, combined with both original compositions & traditional flamenco music. Additional features include audiovisual biographies.

 BIOGRAPHIES

FERNANDO BARROS 

Flamenco Specialist: Singer, Composer, Historian, Teacher, Author

A native of Granada, Spain, Fernando specializes in the unique cadence and rhythms that are the foundations of flamenco music. He has gained international recognition as an innovator whose voice and compositions reveal the “melody” inherent in Spanish literature and poetry, including Federico Garcia Lorca, Antonio Machado, Juan Ramon Jimenez and Miguel de Cervantes. Exemplifying the rhythms that give musical identity to cultures around the world, he draws on ancient texts and melodies, as well as composing with today’s audiences in mind. In 2017, Fernando inaugurated new courses on flamenco history, rhythms and vocal techniques through the auspices of the Instituto Cervantes of Albuquerque and Collected Works Bookstore in Santa Fe. 

He is honored to be an invited member of the International Council of Dance at UNESCO (No. 16955), which preserves indigenous dances from around the world.

On the vanguard of integrating the traditions of flamenco with new approaches to teaching, Fernando has authored two books and a recently released instructional manual. He offers university-level master classes and workshops for life-long learners interested in Spanish culture and the authentic history of flamenco. He has performed in Spain, Morocco, Canada and the United States.

As a cultural ambassador from the region of Andalusia, Spain, he is now based 

in Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA.  

His work and writings are featured on two websites: queeselflamenco.com and  studyflamenco.com

TITO RIOS

Classical concert GUITAR, music educator and author

 JUAN ANICETO

As a young Musician and Educator, Juan Aniceto is dedicated to both his art and his profession. Originally from Lima, Peru, Mr. Aniceto grew up in Torrance, California and began playing bass guitar at the age of 16. Along with his close friends and bandmates, he became part of the local rock scene and performed in various LA venues including the famous “Whiskey a GoGo” in Hollywood and “Chain Reaction” in Anaheim.  He continued to play music throughout Southern California for the next few years before his interest in Jazz led him to pursue an education in music. After studying at a local community college, Mr. Aniceto transferred to the University of Redlands, where he completed his Bachelors of Music Degree in Music Education in 2016. His time spent at the University of Redlands provided him the opportunity to meet and work with several well known musicians such as Richard Sherman, composer for Disney films including “Mary Poppins” and “The Jungle Book”, and Kevin Eubanks, the band director for the Tonight Show with Jay Leno

Mr. Aniceto now resides in Santa Fe, and is a teacher for Santa Fe Public Schools at Nina Otero Community School. He continues to play music with a variety of groups and has performed with local  well known artists including Nacha Mendez in the 2018 Santa Fe Bandstand Summer Concert Series. When not working, you can usually find Mr. Aniceto at a local coffee shop or taproom, studying and practicing his orchestration with a music notebook and pencil in hand. 

BRIAN NELSON

A graduate of the Berklee College of Music, Brian Nelson has studied West African drum and dance at the Dagbe and Dagara Music Centers of Ghana, West Africa. In addition to touring the United States and Jamaica as a working percussionist, he has also worked as a dance accompanist for Boston University and University of Buffalo. Nelson has worked in a variety of musical contexts, from electronic dub reggae to folk ensembles, and is currently the Artistic Director at Queen Bee Music Association in Santa Fe, NM.

MELISSA MOORE

Artist, Writer, Educator, Entrepreneur 

Melissa Moore, a 25-year educator in the Montessori method, directed Desert Montessori School in Santa Fe, NM for 17 of those years. As a child of the Civil Rights movement, she was raised in a progressive family of activists in Memphis, Tennessee. She had the honor and deep privilege of being present at Dr. King’s, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech given the night before his assassination. Together with Robert Muller of the United Nations, she presented art works at Wainwright House in Rye, NY, on the 100th anniversary of the birth of the French paleontologist, Teilhard de Chardin. Her banner, “Those Who Were Our Lights,” hung at St. John the Divine in NYC for many years. Her newest works consist of a talisman series that are one-of-a-kind created in mixed media, two of which are in the collection of the author, Judy Blume.

This experience of delving into the history of flamenco has as its foundation of her life-long immersion into education, research, leadership and fundamental curiosity about the connections readily made in the arts. 

copyright © Text by Melissa Moore; Italicized metaphors by Fernando Barros 

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