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Antonio Rodríguez Villar
A memory for Eladia
memory for Eladia
By Antonio Rodríguez Villar
No! To stay and let pass the time
is neither to last nor to exist,
nor to honor life!
There are so many ways of not to be,
so much unaware conscience,
To deserve a life is not to hide
and consent so many repeated injustices…
It’s a virtue, it’s dignity
and it’s the attitude of most defined identity.
That of lasting and passing the time
does not give us the right to boast,
because it’s not the same as living…
to honor life.
That was, that is
: a constant active insistence on honoring life. There is in her an absolute identification between her oeuvre and her life. There was no dichotomy between the woman and her oeuvre.
It’s very difficult for me and for my wife
, to talk about Eladia because a very close and deep personal friendship we kept for over 30 years is interlocked with the admiration for the artist, the poetess, the composer.
We were abroad when we knew of her death after battling a disease against which she fought for a long time. Very few times my heart creased so hardly like when our son Javier called us from Buenos Aires to tell us the sad news. We were waiting for that to happen at any time, but —anyhow— it was tough to learn it.
Because Eladia was a light that illuminated us all. Praises are unnecessary. There is her vast and rich oeuvre that free us from eulogies. She –of course- always eluded eulogies and praise. Here we may analyze the poetical and social value of her songs, but that would be a task more extensive and profound than this brief memory.
She was born “in a neighborhood where luxury was something strange”, down there in Avellaneda. Because of that, always, she had her “heart looking towards South”. Like the Gordo Troilo —who was a close friend and they admired each other— that never left his neighborhood. She felt it and there she had based her early affections which she summoned to think, to be with familiar people, to recall her roots.
Her mother was from Granada and her father from Salamanca, two magic cities of our Spain. When we met with Eladia, we always recalled that old saying of the Mexican poet Antonio de Icaza: “Dale limosna mujer,/ que no hay en la vida nada,/ como la pena de ser,/ ciego en Granada” (Give him some alms, ma’m, ’cause there’s nothing worse in life than being blind in Granada).
Eladia was an excellent performer. Her recordings testify it. But she preferred composing, «If the craft of singing is beautiful because it allows a direct and fast communication, -she said-, creation is much greater. That condition without time, that escape from reality, that kind of changing into thousands and thousands of beings that think and feel like us and that expect to find in our language the speech of their sensitivity». And she had command of that creative sensitivity by far.
She was self-taught, even though she was an exquisite learned woman. She herself used to say that she had been a bad student and that hardly finished grammar school. «Later, —she commented—, I tried to engage myself in reading, friendships and my own experiences to compensate for that lack of information. Then, —she added with a bit of mockery—, if I don’t write better it’s not because I don’t know but because I can’t».
She was merry, lively, sarcastic, with a fine sense of humor and irony. But she was as well shy. She always wanted to be far from flattery, maybe because she had to fight against a great timidity. The timidity of the talented that knows that everything can be improved. Those who didn’t know her well would think that she was not talkative or distant. Not at all. At small rendezvouses, —the ones she preferred—, she was like a castanet: graceful, gay, smart, pleasant, witty, joking. Then all her Andalusian ancestors sprang up in a uncontrolled avalanche.
She did not like to talk about herself. When she was asked about one of her many hits she described them as if they would<