A Web of Sighs | Homage to García Lorca

by Daniel van den Berg

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There are quite some poets who have honored the guitar’s sounds and music. But none as beautifully as Federico García Lorca. He has written several poems on the acoustic guitar’s unique qualities. He was an extremely versatile young man, who, in the end, died for his beliefs: he was murdered by right wing militias in Spain, sad by true. His body was never found.

I will quote famous guitarist Carlos Bonell here:
“Few poets have written such striking images of the guitar - its sound, its emotional impact - as Federico García Lorca did. Through his life he loved it, for its ancient roots and flamenco expression, and wrote various poems about it. He congratulated his great friend and mentor Manuel de Falla on his one and only guitar composition – Tombeau – but admitted he could only play the first few bars. “My fingers get caught in the strings, and I make such an awful noise that my mother snatches the guitar away and hides it from me.” (…) there are two (…) images which I find amazing. The one is his description of the sound-hole as a spider’s web designed to “trap sighs” and the other is his comparison of the guitar to the Greek God Polyphemus in the poem Adivinanza de la guitarra dedicated to Sáinz de la Maza. Polyphemus was the god with one eye in the middle of his forehead. Better still, he was no ordinary Polyphemus, if there was such a thing, but a “Polyphemus made of gold”. Therein lies great poetry, and an inspiration for guitar players to live up to.”
(from: Lorca and the Golden Polyphemus - Poet, dramatist, painter, pianist...guitarist?, by Carlos Bonell)

I dedicate this song of the guitar to Lorca. May he live on in our hearts and thoughts.

All guitars, music, drum programming, strings arrangement, mixing and mastering by Daniël van den Berg, DanArchX, May 2015

lyrics

The Guitar
Federico García Lorca

Ft: Cola Franzen (trans.)

The weeping of the guitar
begins.
The goblets of dawn
are smashed.
The weeping of the guitar
begins.
Useless
to silence it.
Impossible
to silence it.
It weeps monotonously
as water weeps
as the wind weeps
over snowfields.
Impossible
to silence it.
It weeps for distant
things.
Hot southern sands
yearning for white camellias.
Weeps arrow without target
evening without morning
and the first dead bird
on the branch.
Oh, guitar!
Heart mortally wounded
by five swords.

Spanish original

Empieza el llanto
de la guitarra.
Se rompen las copas
de la madrugada.
Empieza el llanto
de la guitarra.
Es inútil
callarla.
Es imposible
callarla.
Llorra monótona
como llora el agua,
como llora el viento
sobre la nevada.
Es imposible
callarla.
Llora por cosas
lejanas.
Arena del Sur caliente
que pide camelias blancas.
Llora flecha sin blanco,
la tarde sin mañana,
y el primer pájaro muerto
sobre la rama.
¡Oh guitarra!
Corazón malherido
por cinco espadas.

credits

released May 12, 2015
Guitar: Paulino Bernabé, Taller de Guitarras, Modelo-50, 2001
Bass: Ibanez JS100, with octave FX
DAW: Amplitube
Drum & strings Samples using SampleTank
Mixing and Mastering with Final Touch

Photo credits: Aquinas Toledo photography, title: Music is what feelings sound like.

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about

Daniel van den Berg Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Architect/partner by profession I find myself playing guitar and writing these tracks in afterhours, at nights, evenings, when in need of a dose of guitar sounds.

I have been playing guitar since I was 11 years old, largely self-taught and have tried different styles and instruments, Renaissance lute, Flamenco, Classical guitar and fusion.
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