in search of duende

“Manuel Torre, great artist of the Andalusian people, once told a singer, "You have a voice, you know the styles, but you will never triumph, because you have no duende.”

All over Andalusia, from the rock of Jaen to the whorled shell of Cadiz, the people speak constantly of “duende,” and identify it accurately and instinctively whenever it appears…Manuel Torre, who had more culture in the blood than any man I ever met, pronounced this splendid sentence on hearing Falla play his own Nocturno del generalife: “All that has black sounds has duende.” And there is no greater truth.

These “black sounds” are the mystery, the roots fastened in the mire that we all know and all ignore, the fertile silt that gives us the very substance of art.“

-Federico Garcia Lorca, "In Search of Duende”

Lorca writes: “The duende, then, is a power, not a work. It is a struggle, not a thought. I have heard an old maestro of the guitar say, ‘The duende is not in the throat; the duende climbs up inside you, from the soles of the feet.’ Meaning this: it is not a question of ability, but of true, living style, of blood, of the most ancient culture, of spontaneous creation.”. He suggests, “everything that has black sounds in it, has duende. [i.e. emotional 'darkness’] […] This 'mysterious power which everyone senses and no philosopher explains’ is, in sum, the spirit of the earth, the same duende that scorched the heart of Nietzsche, who searched in vain for its external forms on the Rialto Bridge and in the music of Bizet, without knowing that the duende he was pursuing had leaped straight from the Greek mysteries to the dancers of Cadiz or the beheaded, Dionysian scream of Silverio’s siguiriya.” […] “The duende’s arrival always means a radical change in forms. It brings to old planes unknown feelings of freshness, with the quality of something newly created, like a miracle, and it produces an almost religious enthusiasm.” […] “All arts are capable of duende, but where it finds greatest range, naturally, is in music, dance, and spoken poetry, for these arts require a living body to interpret them, being forms that are born, die, and open their contours against an exact present.”
—  from In Search of Duende, edited by Christopher Maurer

29Y of age. 2005. Bush’s re-election, we spent the inauguration in denial on a Trip to España, A tablao in Madrid. Kismet the singer I met in the (612) earlier as a guest singer for the Susana de Palma Zorongo Flamenco Show “Guernica”. Cante Jondo. Me Flamenco Singing. My-story. ~Vainherococoa

The duende is a momentary burst of inspiration, the blush of all that is truly alive…it needs the trembling of the moment and then a long silence (viii). Lorca  (All quotes taken from Lorca’s “In Search of Duende,” New Directions Publishing Corp., 1998)