The history behind Federico, Bernardo, Paco
Federico, Bernardo, Paco is perhaps one of the pieces that best identify me as a musician, in which my way of creating is most recognizable: the fusion of styles, the ternary times, the explosion of energy in the form of music, the intimacy in the cry of an instrument … but, above all, it is a tribute. A tribute to two of the people who have given to me the most and made me grow as a musician: my uncles Bernardo and Paco.
Bernardo was a dancer and choreographer. He left Spain very young to be able to live on flamenco, but also looking for a place where he would not have to hide his homosexuality. After many travels, having worked in Japan and Russia, he settled in Geneva, where he struggled to open the first flamenco atelier in Switzerland. In 1998 he created and produced a flamenco show focused on the figure of Federico García Lorca. I was lucky, extremely lucky, to be part of that experience. I traveled with my parents and my little brother to Geneva, we were with him in the previous rehearsals, helping him with the final touches of the montage, and in the premiere and the functions that the show had. It was a very intense experience. Years later, when my uncle died, aged 39, due to complications derived from the lupus he suffered, that memory inspired me with this music, which begins with the recitation of the same verses by Lorca with which his show began.
Bernardo has been for me (and continues to be) a benchmark for fighting for something you believe in, to follow the path of your passion, through thick and thin. He has been an example of fighting against the rules, against the “should” and against those who did not accept it. He has also been a creative person, an ARTIST with capital letters, with an enormous capacity to express, to transmit, to make people feel.
Another of my uncles, Paco, Paco Cuadrado, one of the most committed and well-known painters in Seville in the last century, was also with us in Geneva for that show. Paco painted Lorca’s face for the backdrop, and he also appeared on stage, precisely painting a canvas. Paco and Bernardo, as good artists, felt mutual admiration for each other’s work and talent.
My uncle Paco has been my other great reference as a creator, as an artist, as a Teacher (that’s what we called each other when we saw each other). He is a person who, throughout his life, has suffered a lot (he was persecuted and imprisoned for his political ideology), but who has never stopped painting and believing in his painting: “it is the only thing I know how to do,” he said many times. His best advice, “paint a little bit every day; even if you’re wrong, even if you delete the next day what you did yesterday. Every day, a little bit ”. Paco died more than three years ago, but even in his last months of life he continued painting. Without being able to stand up, he switched from oil to watercolor, because it required less effort, and he found a new way of expressing himself, always through painting.
Bernardo could never hear Federico, Bernardo, Paco, but Paco did. Without my knowing it, my mother gave him the demo of the piece, without finishing recording or mixing, and without knowing that, in part, it was addressed to him. His reaction is perhaps the greatest compliment that anyone has been able to give me as a musician. After hearing it, he simply said: “Mari, what a desire I have come to paint listening to this music.”