Thursday, January 20

‘Una Playlist’ like “Proust’s cupcake”: when people sang just for the joy of singing

Did people sing in the old days more than now? Do we enjoy music more today thanks to all the technologies at our fingertips? These are some of the questions that those responsible for the project asked themselves A Playlist in full confinement, back in May 2020. And they decided to find answers. Almost two years later, their conclusions have taken the form of a show, the one that will premiere this weekend at the Central Theater. A proposal that is presented as a journey through time with the songs of yesterday and today as a vehicle, and that has had a journey that they do not hesitate to describe as exciting.

In a first phase, supported by the project bank of the Seville Institute of Culture and the Arts (ICAS), Violeta Hernández, Isa Ramírez and Mercedes Bernal asked themselves precisely how their parents’ generation had related to music. And, at the same time, that exercise led them to remember their own musical memory, “the time when we had tapes and very few records, but which left songs that have marked our lives,” they comment.

They decided to interview ten people born before 1950, videotaped them and edited a 50-minute montage with their testimonies. From there they began the second phase, which consisted of inviting a group of creators from various disciplines to work on this material. For 15 days, an artistic residency was held at the Espacio Santa Clara in which the actor Javier Centeno, the choreographer and dancer Raquel Madrid or the musicians Sebastián Orellana and Javier Delgado, in addition to the three coordinators, participated. And the result is A Playlist. Memory of what was sung.

A lifeline

Hernández warns that the memory that will be exhibited in the tables of the Central is not so much political as sentimental, “although, logically, among people who have lived the postwar period, who have grown up in a dictatorship, have lived through the Transition and even a pandemic, they arise stories that can have that reading. But they are all very different from each other, of different origins and social status, and of course of very varied musical tastes. From the project phase we were aware that there was going to be a great amalgam, and thanks to that, through them, we obtain the X-ray of a generation “, they comment.

What did the baby boomers sound like? The first thing that comes to mind is the copla generation, but it was also the one that saw rock and psychedelia arrive in Spain, and the one that opened up to French and Italian song, especially thanks to emigration. And Rocío Jurado lives in the memory with Nino Bravo and Camilo Sesto. “Before you used to sing without a microphone, if you had a voice you would sing and if not, you wouldn’t sing. Not like now, with electronic media that tune, amplify and embellish the voice,” says Chari Correa, from Huelva in 1938.

“There is talk, of course, of moments of hardship and misery, but then everything is taken to the field of joy,” adds Violeta Hernández. “There is a time when music is a lifeline, something that helps them escape the bitterness of life.” Among the moments that stand out from these testimonies, the coordinators cite the anecdote of one of them who tells that he once asked Reyes for a ham sandwich. Others start singing for Serrat, or they realize how macho the lyrics of yesteryear could be, or they defend the Beatles at all costs against their eternal rivals, the Rolling Stones. And it is confirmed that the guateques were celebrated wherever they could, in a private house or in an abandoned swimming pool in Cerro del Águila … “What is most surprising is the naturalness with which they tell us about their lives. And that is thanks to the music,” they point out. .

Proust’s cupcake

The development of A Playlist It has even served to discover a star belatedly: José Guapachá, an 82-year-old Venezuelan who lives in the capital of Seville, who has revealed himself to be an accomplished bolero performer, to the point that Sebastián Orellana has produced a record for him and they are all performing together. what the pandemic allows them. “We musicians are all sentimental, we are good people,” says José. “I don’t like doing evil and you have to tell the truth even if it costs your life, as my grandfather used to say. You have to do good to appear well. And sing. And laugh.”

With regard to the tastes of the generation that today is between 40 and 50 years old, The Cure and The Jesus & Mary Chain appear with Golpes Bajos and Radio Futura, but also the Beach Boys and AC / DC. Someone from an intermediate generation like Javier Centeno, who is in his 60s, brings the Graceland by Paul Simon and the dances caught to the sound of Gilbert O’Sullivan. “Music is a spring, like Proust’s cupcake. A vehicle with which you can easily transfer you to another time, which can give you back the sensations you experienced when you were 15 years old,” they add.

Hernández, Ramírez and Bernal believe in fact that the project has no end, that it could continue to be nurtured by the songs of the young people of today who are shaping the memory of tomorrow. They also ensure that the experience could be replicated in any other city, and that the conclusions would be equally interesting. “The next project we think is going to be to create a choir, a choir that interprets all those songs,” they say. “We mean it as a joke, but…”.