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En toda Andalucía, roca de Jaén y caracola de Cádiz, la gente habla constantemente del duende y lo descubre en cuanto sale con instinto eficaz. El maravilloso cantaor El Lebrijano, creador de la Debla, decía: “Los días que yo canto con duende no hay quien pueda conmigo”; la vieja bailarina gitana La Malena exclamó un día oyendo tocar a Brailowsky un fragmento de Bach: “¡Ole! ¡Eso tiene duende!”, y estuvo aburrida con Gluck y con Brahms y con Darius Milhaud.

Y Manuel Torres, el hombre de mayor cultura en la sangre que he conocido, dijo, escuchando al propio Falla su Nocturno del Generalife, esta espléndida frase: “Todo lo que tiene sonidos negros tiene duende”. Y no hay verdad más grande. Así, pues, el duende es un poder y no un obrar, es un luchar y no un pensar. Yo he oído decir a un viejo maestro guitarrista: “El duende no está en la garganta; el duende sube por dentro desde la planta de los pies”. Es decir, no es cuestión de facultad, sino de verdadero estilo vivo; es decir, de sangre; es decir, de viejísima cultura, de creación en acto.

Federico García Lorca

All through Andalusia, from the rock of Jaen to the snail’s-shell of Cadiz, people constantly talk about the duende and recognise it wherever it appears with a fine instinct. That wonderful singer El Lebrijano, creator of the Debla, said: “On days when I sing with duende no one can touch me”; the old Gypsy dancer La Malena once heard Brailowsky play a fragment of Bach, and exclaimed: “Olé! That has duende!” but was bored by Gluck, Brahms and Milhaud.

And Manuel Torre, a man who had more culture in his veins than anyone I’ve known, on hearing Falla play his own Nocturno del Generalife spoke this splendid sentence: “All that has dark sounds has duende”. And there’s no deeper truth than that. The duende, then, is a power, not a labour; 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”. That is to say, it is not a question of faculty, but of a style that’s truly alive; a meaning of blood, of the most ancient culture, of spontaneous creation.

Federico García Lorca

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