on life, music etc beyond mainstream

2016 10 Okt

Poem of the Deep Song

von: Manafonistas Filed under: Blog | TB | 4 Comments

“Poema del cante jondo and Romancero Gitano, the books of poems that Lorca wrote first, out of his excited response to gypsy music, poetry, and dance all around him in Granada, contain some of his most powerful and trenchant lyrical work, original, inimitable, daring, and a clear expression of the duende, the Dionysian daemon in poetry, of which he wrote eloquently. A new, fresh, consistent translation – and Mr. Angel’s is all of these – is a welcome return to that wild dance, in this bilingual edition.”

W.S. Merwin


Cante jondo. Deep Song. A poem meant to be sung, not with a pretty voice but with a cry, to break the silence and stillness of the body. A rustic form of flamenco. A poem written to remind Spain of its deep musical soul, the primitive song of the Andalusian Gypsies. A poem by Federico García Lorca written in 1921 when he was only twenty-three and had but fifteen years left to live before the Franco regime murdered him in the hills of Granada.

Translator Ralph Angel returns to Lorca’s strange, unique rhythms and to the irrational, intuitive duende. This incantatory translation, every bit as revolutionary as the original was almost a century before, reconfirms what Lorca said of this work, that it is “a slammer, a wavering emission of the voice … [that] makes the tightly closed flowers of the semitones blossom into a thousand petals.”


P.S.: Reading Lorca is a good preparation for Leonard Cohen’s forthcoming album YOU WANT IT DARKER. His old song „Dance Me To The End Of Love“ was mirroring some old Lorca blues. In his early years Cohen got lost in these Spanish rhythms, their blackness and beauty. 

This entry was posted on Montag, 10. Oktober 2016 and is filed under "Blog". You can follow any responses to this entry with RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.


  1. Uwe Meilchen:

    „Take This Waltz“, from Cohen’s „I’m Your Man“ album is based on his Translation of a Lorca poem. / garcia-lorcas-little-viennese-waltz …

  2. Brian Whistler:

    I am really looking forward to the new Leonard Cohen album.

  3. Martina Weber:

    Not to forget: W.S. Merwin himself is a brilliant poet.

    I love his book The second four books of poems, including „the moving target“ (what a title!), „the lice“, „the carrier of ladders“, „writings to an unfinished accompaniment“). Dark and sometimes metaphysical. One poem (in autumn) starts like this:
    The extinct animals are still looking for home
    Their eyes full of cotton

    Now they will
    Never arrive

    The stars are like that

    Moving on without memory
    Without having been near turning elsewhere climbing
    Nothing the wall

    The hours their shadows

    The lights are going on in the leaves nothing to do with evening

    Those are cities
    Where I had hoped to live.

  4. Michael Engelbrecht:

    Several months ago Leonard Cohen wrote to Marianne Ihlen, the lover and muse who had inspired ‘Marianne’ and ‘Bird On A Wire’. She was desperately ill with leukaemia and the end was near.

    “Well, Marianne it’s come to this time when we are really so old and our bodies are falling apart,” Cohen said in the missive. “I think I will follow you very soon. Know that I am so close behind you that if you stretch out your hand, I think you can reach mine.”

Manafonistas | Impressum | Kontakt | Datenschutz