In his brilliant lecture entitled “The Theory and Play of Duende” Federico García Lorca attempts to shed some light on the haunting and inexplicable sadness that lives in the heart of certain works of art.
“All that has dark sound has duende”, he says, “that mysterious power that everyone feels but no philosopher can explain. […] All love songs must contain duende. For the love song is never truly happy. It must first embrace the potential for pain. Those songs that speak of love without having within in their lines an ache or a sigh are not love songs at all but rather Hate Songs disguised as love songs, and are not to be trusted. These songs deny us our humanness and our God-given right to be sad and the air-waves are littered with them. The love song must resonate with the susurration of sorrow, the tintinnabulation of grief. The writer who refuses to explore the darker regions of the heart will never be able to write convincingly about the wonder, the magic and the joy of love for just as goodness cannot be trusted unless it has breathed the same air as evil” – Nick Cave
Translated by A. S. Kline © 2004 All Rights Reserved. This work may be freely reproduced, stored, and transmitted, electronically or otherwise, for any non-commercial purpose.