Sharing Duende in Buenos Aires

5/21/2017: Soon I will be in Buenos Aires, my father’s childhood city, and one in which I will share my novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, at Kel Ediciones in Belgrano, Buenos Aires, on May 26, 5:30p.m. What an honor! I will take time off of my regular blog for a few weeks, but please share news of this event with friends in Buenos Aires who may be inspired to share a moment with my novel, Flamenco guitar, and DUENDE, a word brought alive in this port city by a great Spanish Poet Federico GarciaLorca more than 80 years ago. 

Here’s a little excerpt of my talk to Flamenco Guitar: 

“It was October of 1933 when a large Italian Passenger Liner landed here, in the Port of Buenos Aires. That day, one of the most important Generation of ’27 Spanish poets—Federico Garcia Lorca—arrived in Buenos Aires, where he fell in love with its streets and people and remained for six months…much longer than he had planned.

Federico Garcia Lorca was no ordinary poet. He was one from Granada, from Southern Spain, where the Gypsy culture, Flamenco dance and music, and the spirit of the land would forever claim him—that is, until he was killed by Spain’s fascists in 1936.  Lorca knew, unlike many artists, what it meant to truly be creative, to instantaneously confront both the present and death itself rather than to be tied to the musings of the past.”

So when he came to Buenos Aires to premiere his play, Blood Wedding, he also offered an unforgettable speech, The Play and Theory of the Duende, that would forever leave its imprint on the world… and, years later, would inspire my novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, which I bring to you today. I come here from New Mexico to walk these streets that Garcia Lorca once walked, and that my father, Alberto Adam, also traversed as an adult and child growing up in Buenos Aires. I honor both men today, as I bring to you my story, my novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, and “duende,” this essence that Lorca carried with him from Spain 84 years ago.”  

In Lorca’s speech, he said, “In Andalucía (Southern Spain), the people constantly talk of the duende,” explaining that all that has black sounds has duende, since 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. He went on to describe a guitarist as saying that “The duende is not in the throat: the duende surges up, inside, from the soles of the feet.” Meaning, it’s not a question of skill, but of a style that’s truly alive: meaning, it’s in the veins: meaning, it’s of the most ancient culture of immediate creation.” 

“Duende”, Lorca added, is a “mysterious force that everyone3f52c657f037f47efd369cc5dd7af233.jpg feels and no philosopher has explained” that is “in sum, the spirit of the earth.”… the spirit of the earth, which, in moving through every limb of our being, unencumbered and raw, produces an almost religious enthusiasm.  It’s that spirit that an artist embodies when singing so profoundly and truthfully, with clear channel, that we are left with goose bumps, and sighs. Unlike the muse and angel, this spirit must come from within, and must be “awakened in the remotest mansions of the blood,” and ONLY once having done so, then, “announces the constant baptism of newly created things.”

The duende is what we hear in the llanto, the cry out, el cante hondo, the deep song of Flamenco, which has remained with us during our brief, but intense human history. Just travel along the threads of an ancient Gypsy culture to experience this. These nomadic, song-wielding, magic-making people, who arrived in Spain from India, still carry the essence of song they brought with them from the orient, of the Ragas, of indigenous chanting, a kind of prayer that keeps that sweet dialogue between the unseen and seen world alive, honoring the holy and sacred part of being human.”

This song of Gypsy wove its fabric into Spain’s Arabic, Jewish, and Catholic roots—even as Fernando and Isabel of Spain set out to explore the Americas and enacted the Inquisition, which kicked out, killed, and tortured Jews, Arab, Gypsies, and non-Christians in Spain. Many Gypsies fled to the mountains, and it was here that they kept their traditions alive. Maybe—as with the negro spirituals, the Blues, and Native American chants, and so many deeply soulful songs—it is this very persecution, these dark times, that help create this ancient sound of longing that rises more fiercely and fully from the depths of our being than ever before, and reminds of our most profound connections.”

Can you hear the depth of this LLANTO, this “song of the earth,” this most life-affirming voice of the soul that never quits? Maybe if you listen closely, you can, as you also hear the poet’s voice… carrying a plaintive solitary cry belonging to an Andalusian Soul …of Gypsy, Arab and Jew…of indigenous roots untangling, struggling to surface to engage in the most challenging, yet rich work of our life—that of fully inhabiting ourselves.”

Please join me this May 26 at 5:30p.m. in Buenos Aires (and if you can’t make it, please let friends who can come know) to celebrate storytelling, Flamenco guitar, Garcia Lorca, and my father, Alberto Adam. It’s at Kel Ediciones, Conde 1990, 1428 , Buenos Aires, Belgrano, 54  11 4555 4005,  kelediciones.com, a top carrier of books in English in Buenos Aires. 

My Novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is also available on Amazon at Amazon Page  or at www.michelleadam.net. Also, watch a brief video on “duende”, “the spirit of the earth”: YouTube Video

 

45. Sacred Action: Spirit Inside Flesh (Join Saturday’s Storytelling, Flamenco Guitar & Spanish Tapas Event!)

Blog 45: December 9, 1998—Struck by these lines from The Last Temptation of Christ movie I watched almost 20 years ago, I wrote them down:

“The dual substance of Christ—the yearning, so human, so superhuman, of man to attain God…has always been a deep inscrutable mystery to me. My principle anguish and source of all my joys and sorrows from my youth onward has been the incessant, merciless battle between the spirit and the flesh…and my soul is the arena where these two armies have clashed and met.”

This struggle between spirit and matter were deeply tied to the hip pain I experienced back then, when I lived, at age 30, with my parents in New Jersey. In this country of materialism gone rampant, especially back then, I fought to hear my soul’s voice that had become so distant after my family and I had moved from Spain to the United States during my middle school years. My hip injury in my late twenties had granted me the permission and urgency to reawaken this part of me—and my novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, became a way for me to express this.

Today, as I prepare for a local Storytelling, Flamenco Guitar, and Spanish Tapas event tied to my novel, I can see more clearly how this battle of spirit with matter, and the ultimate merging of these has become my life’s work. The other day, as I rehearsed with Ronaldo Baca, Flamenco guitarist and singer, we spoke about this energy, and how deeply it is tied to “duende”, the essence of my novel.

The Spanish Poet Federico Garcia Lorca once described “duende” as a work and battle, where we wrestle those demons and dark places of our psyche to uncover, to awaken, to become an artform longing to be born. This “duende,” he said, is the spirit of the earth “one must awaken in the remotest mansions of the blood,” and it is only in doing do so that duende “announces the constant baptism of newly created things.”

Aren’t Lorca’s words similar to that of Nikos Kazantzakis’s words of The Last Temptation of Christ? Isn’t there a battle we all engage in as humans (if we are willing to be honest with ourselves) of merging spirit with matter, of becoming this invisible life force of “duende” that moves through our visible, limited physical reality?

As more people wake up to this life force within themselves, how do we engage in this righteous battle to become most fully spirit within flesh? (I see examples of this in our recent history: at Standing Rock in the Dakotas, the Sioux Nation has been protecting the waters by standing up against Energy Transfer Partners, an oil company building a pipeline which is intended to transport 5550,000 barrels of oil a day to maintain our comfortable lives. Since the U.S. presidential elections, others have taken to the streets in protest of the results, and it seems, so many of us are waking up, realizing we can’t take our freedom and democracy—or what there is left of it—for granted any more).

At this time of immense change and upheaval, how do we take this essence of “duende” and be the conduits through which life can—through sacred action—fully express herself?

How have you become this spirit inside flesh most authentically?

*This Saturday, Ronaldo Baca and I will be offering a journey inside this essence in an inspiring evening of Storytelling, Flamenco Guitar, and Spanish Tapas. It’s this Saturday, Dec. 10th, at 4p.m. at Awaken to Wellness Center, 1704 Moon St NE, Ste 9, Albuquerque.

My recently-published novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, may also make a great gift this season! It’s available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Child-Duende-Journey-Michelle-Adam/dp/099724710X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1474233011&sr=8-1&keywords=child+of+duende  or at www.michelleadam.net

26. A Vision of New Life

WHAT BROKE YOU SO YOU COULD BE PIECED BACK TOGETHER AGAIN?

BLOG 26: November, 1997—It’s not a dream or my imagination. It’s a vision as far as I can tell. I see a woman in pure white, with a baby burning in her belly. I get scared. But this lady tells me not to fear, and invites me to take the baby into my arms despite the burning, dark place it is in. I reach out and hold the child, and when I do, something happens. The fire ascends, and somehow, I become the woman in white who has embraced her shadow—who is unafraid of the fire that renews—and who, like phoenix rising from the ashes, becomes anew.

It’s been over a year since I left the East Coast, eager, anxious, longing, and since then I have lived eight months in New Mexico, and currently five months in the hills of Northern California. And I, too, hold a burning sensation in my hips that won’t go away. I write my story that later becomes my novel, Child of Duende, because it’s with words that I can now express this fire, this dance, that lives inside me, eager to tell her story.

Maybe what is happening to me is an awakening, as in my vision…an awakening to duende, this spirit of the earth inside me that the Spanish poet Federico García Lorca once said, “burns the blood like powdered glass” and “rejects all the sweet geometry we understand.” As I battle my pain, and ache to find myself inside the chaos of all that I have known falling apart, maybe the beginning stages of my novel are telling the story of Lorca’s duende:

“Through the empty archway a wind of the spirit enters, blowing insistently over the heads of the dead, in search of new landscapes and unknown accents: a wind with the odour of a child’s saliva, crushed grass, and medusa’s veil, announcing the endless baptism of freshly created things.”

WHAT BROKE YOU SO YOU COULD BE PIECED BACK TOGETHER AGAIN?

Earth Day: Celebrate the Spirit of the Earth Within

AMIDST CHANGE AND UPHEAVAL, AWAKEN DUENDE!

Dear Readers…I am taking a break from my regular blog to share parts of my recently published novel, Child of Duende, and to write about the spirit of DUENDE. May it inspire you! 

As birds court the earth with their love songs, and we renew our vows of change and new life with the earth, I wish to share a special word and spirit with you: duende. It seems so many people are talking about immense change, upheaval, and confusion in their lives. Yet, maybe, this simple, yet powerful word, duende, can give insight into what’s happening, and inspire us to truly see what’s possible in our lives.

Dancing and Singing in Honor of Duende, 2014

The famous Spanish poet, Federico García Lorca, once said that duende is “the spirit of the earth” that one must awaken in the remotest mansions of the blood. He went on to say that duende both breaks us and is the constant baptism of new life. It is that transformative spirit from which all great art and performance stems, and which brings with it an almost religious enthusiasm. The duende doesn’t arrive or awaken within us, though, without a battle, or work, or without letting go of the old, warned Lorca.

This Spanish poet’s words seem appropriate at this time of great change. Yet, how do we awaken duende, this spirit of the earth that is within us, and that is our authentic self?  How do we let go of what we have learned to be, and allow our full spirits to be embodied, to be duende, to be dueño de, “owner of,” this temporary house that is our body?

I had been writing about duende for years as part of my recently published novel, Child of Duende, and had done so through the eyes of my magical protagonist, Duende, who carries the spirit of the earth within her. When writing, I connected deeply to Lorca’s idea of duende, and still do. But it was only recently that I finally experienced and learned to embody this energy.  

About a year ago, I met a Dutch woman on a plane who told me that she had encountered a duende. Until that plane ride, duende had only been a concept, an idea, a feeling. But this woman, who claimed she had never seen spirits or believed in them, told me that an actual duende—a nature spirit or goblin that, in Latin America, is seen as protecting the earth and rainforests—had arrived with a strong wind, and was so real and fierce, it alarmed her.

I went home that night, changed. The next morning I woke up with a sudden anxiety, but then remembered what she had experienced. Duende, I realized, was not just an idea or a transformative energy. It was a being that protects the earth and a spirit that is within each of us. Like the character in my novel, I realized that I too was this duende, and that the anxiety I had carried was unnecessary if I chose to walk in the world with this fierce, protective love that honored the spirit within me and the earth.

What transformed me that day, also transformed my novel, Child of Duende, which I finally published in early spring. I will soon have an official novel launch in late May or Early June, with Flamenco and a celebration of duende (for more information on this launch, book signings, and healing circles, please visit, www.michelleadam.net or www.childofduende.com). But for now, may this child of duende that you carry awaken within you and release its love into the world!