Trio Arbós launches its new album for the label Sacratif, together with the singer Sandra Carrasco: BOLEROS arranged by Ricard Miralles
“To speak of music without speaking of boleros is like not saying anything at all” — Gabriel García Márquez.
Trio Arbós accompanies the prodigious voice of Sandra Carrasco in an album of boleros arranged by Ricard Miralles, one of the most important arrangers of Spanish music. Miralles processes the musical essence of the boleros on this recording and returns to us a “sound atmosphere” replete with infinite harmonic details, achieving also a prodigious interaction of the instruments with vocals in an iridescent and vibrant dialogue.
WITH A GENTLE WHISPER
Perhaps a whisper uttered in someone’s ear or the falling of a naked lock of hair on a bare neck define the bolero better than all the literary or musical references that could be applied to the genre. From its supposed Spanish origins in three-four time to its definitive structure in two-four time, projected onto an overwhelming myriad of subgenres, the bolero, rather than a musical and literary genre, is, as Sergio Sinay has stated, “a sentimental cartography of a continent”. Not of a geographical content, by the way, but of a symbolic continent: the Hispanic world. If Cuba and Mexico were the origin of this artistic and conceptual treasure, it does not matter much. Or rather it does, because Caribbean Tropicália’s privileged access to affairs of the heart undoubtedly facilitated the identitarian encounter with a Latin American character that crossed geographical borders and encapsulated, as few artistic forms have been able to, the essential outlook of millions of creatures united by a common language.
Nobody has defined the true nature of the bolero better than Guillermo Cabrera Infante: “the bolero is a song with rhythm”. Far more than the infinite connotations and influences of this cultural amalgam that has almost become a way of life (or knowledge), the bolero is music and word, and probably the most powerful combination for expressing the soul of things. Cabrera Infante deploys his legendary wit to transcend that basic but accurate starting point: “the bolero is an aura, an ambit, and the place where poetry and music meet. The words rest on the rhythm. It is the opposite of the romantic musical ideal, a romance with words”. He ends by observing that “ultimately, the bolero is not a rhythm but a sonorous atmosphere that is intended above all else to be poetic”. Indeed, the rich poetic-literary influences of the bolero have been traced from 15th-century Castilian lyrical poetry and its subject matter of courtly love (Zavala wittily defines the bolero as “a soap opera written by Petrarch”), up to the poetry of Ibero-American modernismo, with all its arsenal of hyperbole and taste for the affected. After pointing out that he unsuccessfully tried to write a bolero with Armando Manzanero, Gabriel García Márquez wrote that “to be able to synthesise in the five or six lines of a bolero everything that a bolero encapsulates is a true literary feat”.
Furthermore, in musical terms, the bolero is a perfect synthesis of melodic and harmonic inspiration. So much so that the author of One Hundred Years of Solitude believed that “to speak of music without speaking of boleros is like not saying anything at all”. It is in that necessary musical conversation about the bolero where the wonderful arrangements on this album find their voice. From his refined perspective, Ricard Miralles processes the musical essence of the boleros on this recording and returns to us a “sound atmosphere” replete with infinite harmonic details, achieving also a prodigious interaction of the instruments with vocals in an iridescent and vibrant dialogue. Those vocals are the voice of Sandra Carrasco, which, as Cabrera Infante states in relation to the great performers of this genre, “takes from the music and especially the lyrics to turn someone else’s creation into a personal song”.
Juan Carlos Garvayo