Tuesday, July 13, 2010

"Duende" and the music of Townes Van Zandt

Since writing the previous blog piece on the music of Townes Van Zandt a couple of additional things have turned up.

I came across this piece on Townes Van Zandt on the excellent Just a Song blog site. Writing about Townes's song The Rake the author writes this:
"The lyrics are spiked throughout with Townes' trademark melancholia. A melancholia that emanated from Van Zandt's pained troubled soul. An essential and undeniable part of his essence, of his songwriting. Never maudlin though. Never false. On the contrary, immensely powerful, impactful, unforgettable."
Very well put. The writer goes on to use the concept of "Duende", coined by the Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca, to understand Townes's work. As defined by Lorca "Duende" refers to a raw inherent sadness and a heightened awareness of death, that is the defining quality of great musical art.

As the blog writer points out:
"The music of Townes has duende in spades. It climbs up from deep inside him, from the soles of his feet to the tip of his skull."
This week ABC Radio National's Daily Planet program features a new album of Townes Van Zandt songs recorded by unknown artists titled Introducing Townes Van Zandt via the Great Unknown. Here is a link to the Project and the CD. The Daily Planet also features songs from Steve Earle's latest CD Townes, in which he interprets some of his favourite Townes Van Zandt songs.

No comments: