“El Duende”, a short film about the magic of the marimba | radionics

Between images of the thickness of the jungle, of the sky sometimes clear and sometimes rainy handsomewith faces that seem to speak without being so and that stare at the camera, a mixture of the traditional sounds of the marimba with electronics, where the rustling of dry leaves, the whistling of birds and the high-pitched cri-cri of the crickets, they are the brothers Pacho, Isaac and Genaro Torres.

While holding the cues with which they play the instrument, the three talk about a mysterious being, between devil and goblin that he taught his father, the teacher José Antonio Torres, to play and make that jungle piano that they also know how to play with such mastery and with which they in turn carry the tradition, identity and soul of this beautiful and mystical region of the country. A) Yes, the goblina short film that lasts twenty minutes is worth a visual and sound game that immerses us in a world, like that of legends and myths, that seems to oscillate between fiction and non-fiction, between sleep and wakefulness.

In this way, in a project that first began with four songs that Simón Mejía mixed based on the music of the Torres brothers, the goblina short film that tells the spiritual stories behind this instrument and that in turn serves as a mirror of that South Pacific black poetic cosmogony as ancient as magical and amazing.

Thus, after finishing four LPs with his label Palenque Records, Mejía understood that there were stories that the only thing missing were images to be told. That’s where the idea of ​​making an audiovisual piece arose, in which Simón Hernández and Lucas Silva also participated. A piece in turn based on the documentary divine melodies de Silva and which he himself describes as the result of “remix, of a remix, of a remix” of these jobs.

One day, Genaro tells in the film, his father, the teacher Jose Antonio Torres, also known as Gualajo, “a friend appeared to him”. And she asked him if what he wanted was to play or play a marimba, to which he replied that he wanted to do both, followed by a formal: “mister”. “No, no, don’t call me sir. Those vices leave them, tell me friend “, The musician tells about the leprechaun’s response to his father, before saying that he then gave him the cues to teach him. Thus, he recounts, how he transmitted to him the art of playing the mythical chonta piano, made of jungle, and how he listened to her, cried for her and sang to her the music that would continue to inspire him for the rest of his life. of the.

After this anecdote, with musical fragments and images of ants carrying leaves on the bark of a tree, this production takes us through a geography that is not domesticated, that of Guapi, in Cauca and where the sea water on one side and the river on the other side of that piece of land, flow with a racking similar to that of the music that plays in the background. The one that sounds here is precisely that of the Torres, that of the gods: that music that they play with the marimba like those who know how to create very well while playing and challenging what they already know, respecting the rhythm and meddling in a deep catharsis. a rite with which they reaffirm who they are and where they come from.

Then, on the screen we see a full moon that seems to be observing the scene, as if blessing the spiritual and generational journey of a marimba that sings to life, that resists oblivion.

He told him to tell him Tiburio”, Genaro recounts the time he saw this creature with his father. And he adds:My mother, Rogelia, saw it and asked: ‘Who is that playing?’ ‘Mom, it’s a man who came with a big hat.’ My mom got holy water and bathed my dad. She bathed her body.”he says naturally, drawing a mischievous smile on his face and concluding that it was something very nice and also saying that he knows they will see each other again.

So, mixing elements of the documentary such as the voices of the marimberos, with elements of the audiovisual essay and the video clip where post-production and sound play an essential role when it comes to seeing superimposed images, contrasting colors and jungle sounds, this production is an attempt to represent all that symbolism present in the stories.

It’s a job that like a leprechaun, as if winking at that playful character that lets us see this film, dares to break everything, to challenge, but not just because, the structures. In Silva’s words: “it is not anthropology”is an attempt, he says, to get out of the grid, of the traditional narrative and in summary, it is the result of playing both in the editing room with the image, and in the recording studio, with the music.

And it is that as he said Federico Garcia Lorca at a conference in Buenos Aires in 1933quoting the gypsy singer, Manuel Torre, “everything that has black sounds, has an elf”because yes, just listen to the Torres Dynasty, To understand. It is enough to enter that trance evoked by her hoarse sobs that reach very high notes similar to crying and laughter, her skill with the marimba that immerses us in the thicket of the mountain and those stories that resist being forgotten about an African spirituality, by allowing oneself touch by the sound of the bongo that evokes the firm step that is taken on the earth and that of the guasás that gives the movement of the seeds that they feed, like music, to understand that only a supernatural force, perhaps that can only come from the blood, of the ancestors or of that leprechaun carried as an amulet by those teachers who have the gift of translating the untranslatable into songs, which can explain so much beauty.

Here you can see this beautiful documentary:

“El Duende”, a short film about the magic of the marimba | radionics