As with the rest of the Relatos Cortos, El barrio del Retiro Obrero has a history and a special connection with me.
It is the neighborhood where my father lived in his childhood, and where my aunt Pepi and my grandmother Pepa lived. I spent many moments of my childhood in his house and in that neighborhood. When my parents were on tour with Pepe Moreno’s Andalusian Ballet, I stayed with them, and there are many memories that have remained recorded from that time: how my aunt prepared and drank her coffee every day, accompany my grandmother to the market to do the shopping, and stop on the way back at the comic shop, go up to the roof of their house to hang the clothes and listen to the bells of the churches of Seville …
Years later, when I started composing for film, I was commissioned to create the soundtrack for a movie that was set in that neighborhood. The movie hadn’t started shooting, but I wanted to introduce the director to some musical ideas (a habit that I recommend whenever possible). I took my home video camera and went to that neighborhood to record takes of the streets, of the people, of different places. I made a small montage and started to improvise on those images, based on what they generated for me. The entire first half of El barrio del Retiro Obrero is the pure result of that improvisation, as it came out at that time, without changing a single note.
In the end, that movie project did not come out, but the music remained, and one day I decided that I wanted to continue expressing what those feelings had generated in me, and from there I developed the rest of the song. Music that always brings me the memory of that neighborhood, of that house, of that feeling of closeness, of the small but simple things, of the family. Hope you enjoyed this ride.