Friday Untranslatable

Mar 15, 2013 | Translation

Flamenco flagDuende

This rather lovely word has come to mean the state of being greatly moved by art, music or beauty.

The Duende is a fairy or sprite from Spanish, Latin American and Filipino mythology although analogies pop up all over the world and include the Irish leprechaun, Scottish/English brownie and the Welsh Tylwyth Teg. But it is twentieth century Spanish playwright Federico García Lorca who is first credited with using the word in its more evocative sense. He writes:

“The duende, then, is a power, not a work. It is a struggle, not a thought. I have heard an old maestro of the guitar say, ‘The duende is not in the throat; the duende climbs up inside you, from the soles of the feet.’ Meaning this: it is not a question of ability, but of true, living style, of blood, of the most ancient culture, of spontaneous creation.”

Something to to think about for the weekend…

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image: Tim Ellis