Archive for March, 2010

The Chieftains: SAN PATRICIO – meeting of Irish and Mexican music / encuentro entre música irlandesa y mexicana



I draw your attention to the remarkable new album by the veteran Irish folk group the Chieftains, SAN PATRICIO (Blackrock Records, 2010, HRM-31321-02; http://www.thechieftains.com). This group, who earlier entered into dialogue with Galician music in their 1996 album SANTIAGO, now turn their attention to Mexico and revive a forgotten chapter of history linking Ireland and Mexico. During  the war between the US and Mexico of 1846-1848, a group of Irish soldiers switched sides, going over to become part of the Mexican struggle against the invader, as the Batallón de San Patricio (St Patrick’s Battalion). The US won the war and the Irish ‘deserters’ were captured, cruelly punished and in many cases executed. Their memory is now revived through the Chieftains’ music-making, reaching out across cultural barriers. The album – co-credited to Ry Cooder, the US guitarist famous for his work with the Cuban musicians of Buena Vista Social Club – features another celebrated US artist, Linda Ronstadt, today a major promoter of mariachi (see article on this blog for 24 September 2008), as well as a host of Mexican musicians including Los Tigres del Norte, Los Camperos de Valles, Lila Downs, the Veracruz harp player La Negra Graciana, and the 92-year old Chavela Vargas. The musical fusion is stunning, and I cannot recommend this album highly enough!

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Llamo a vuestra atención el fenomenal álbum, recién salido, del veterano grupo de música folk irlandesa, los Chieftains, bajo el título SAN PATRICIO (Blackrock Records, 2010, HRM-31321-02; http://www.thechieftains.com). Este grupo, que ya dialogó con la música de Galicia en su obra de 1996, SANTIAGO, ahora dirige su mirada hacia México para revitalizar un capítulo olvidado de la Historia que une a Irlanda con México. Durante la guerra de 1846-1848 entre EE UU y México, un grupo de soldados irlandeses decidió cambiar de bando y hacerse parte de la lucha mexicana contra el invasor, bajo el nombre del Batallón de San Patricio. Ganó la guerra el lado estadounidense, y los ‘desertores’ irlandeses fueron capturados y cruelmente castigados, siendo mucho de ellos ejecutados. Su memoria se rescata ahora a través de la música de los Chieftains, más allá de las barreras culturales. El álbum – firmado conjuntamente con Ry Cooder, el guitarrista norteamericano conocido por su colaboración con los músicos cubanos de Buena Vista Social Club – tiene la participación de otra célebre artista de EE UU, Linda Ronstadt (hoy día embajadora de la música mariachi – véase entrada en este bitácora del 24-IX-2008), así como de toda una pléyada de músicos mexicanos, entre ellos Los Tigres del Norte, Los Camperos de Valles, Lila Downs, la arpista veracruzana La Negra Graciana, y (a sus 92 años) Chavela Vargas. La fusión de músicas es abrumadora, y difícilmente sabría yo brindarle a este álbum todas las alabanzas que merece.

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EDGAR ALLAN POE REVIEW, Fall 2009 – POE IN SPAIN issue -with my and Ana González-Rivas Fernández’s review of JACK MIRCALA, “Siniestras Amadas”

 

 

Now published is the Fall 2009 issue of the Edgar Allan Poe Review, based at Penn State University, Pennsylvania (Vol X, No 2, ISSN 1051-743X, editor: Barbara Cantalupo). This issue breaks important ground in Poe studies by consecrating a large proportion of its pages to the 2009 Poe bicentennial celebrations in Spain and the Poe scholarship being carried out in that country. There are a total of eight essays by Spanish scholars: this material has been guest-edited by Beatriz González Moreno and Margarita Rigal Aragón, the organisers of the Poe conference held in February 2009 by the University of Castilla-La Mancha at its Albacete campus, and reflects the themes and activity of that conference (while not duplicating the official proceedings, which will be published separately). The contributors include Fernando Galván (Poe and Dickens), Ricardo Marín Ruiz (Poe and Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer), Santiago Rodríguez Guerrero-Strachan (Poe and nineteenth-century Spanish poetry) and Beatriz González Moreno (Poe and Conan Doyle). There is also an important overview article by Margarita Rigal Aragón on ‘Spanish “Misreadings” of Poe’s Life and Works at the Beginning of the Twenty-First Century”.

I am pleased to add that this issue also includes (pp. 131-135) a review, co-written by Ana González-Rivas Fernández (Universidad Complutense de Madrid) and myself, of Siniestras amadas: 22 delirios necro-románticos de Edgar Allan Poe (“Sinister and beloved: 22 necro-romantic moments of delirium by Edgar Allan Poe”, Madrid: Ediciones Sinsentido, 2009), by the distinguished Spanish illustrator Jack Mircala, a beautifully produced book which offers a selection of Poe’s tales and poems on the theme of women (“Ligeia”, “Eleonora”, “Ulalume”, “Annabel Lee” and the rest), freshly translated and illustrated by the artist.

The review is on-line at: http://yatrarollason.info/files/MircalaEN.pdf

For the Albacete conference, see my report of the event at: http://yatrarollason.info/files/AlbacetePOEreportEN.pdf

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Note: this review is also available in Spanish (on-line only), at: http://yatrarollason.info/files/MircalareviewES.pdf