Lázaro García: Weaving a face in song

Lázaro García: Weaving a face in song

A song is one of the simplest musical forms that throughout its development, has been in the investigative spotlight and dichotomous classifications between the cultured and the popular. At the same time, it has shown that it presents a clear tendency towards the assimilation of diverse typologies of cultural practices, constituting universal heritage within human expressions. In this sense, the troubadour style has become the genesis of a form of expression.

When we speak of the New Trova Movement (MNT) and its sociocultural repercussion in Cuba, the name of Lázaro García Gil is recurrent. Together with figures such as Silvio Rodríguez, Pablo Milanés, Vicente Feliú and Noel Nicola, among others, he founded this movement and sedimented a typology of Cuban song that, from a musicological point of view, is imbricated with the most general problems of current theoretical thought.

Lázaro's artistic trajectory has been approached in different sources and numerous journalistic and audiovisual works -more of a descriptive nature-, however, his compositional style is susceptible and deserving of a specialized analysis. Although his work initially had common ideo-aesthetic positions and evident convergences with other composers of this movement, his music shows a very personal aesthetic.

He is a composer who has obtained dissimilar recognitions and has known how to unfold and fulfill directive tasks, where he was national vice-president of the Movimiento de la Nueva Trova and was musical advisor of the Egrem. He also founded and directed the Cienfuegos recording studio Eusebio Delfín, and between 2004 and 2008 he directed the Abdala studios. His work also includes incidental music for theater (Teatro Guiñol Nacional) and cinema (Ecifar). He has several recordings, among which, just to mention a few, are Al Sur de mi mochila (Egrem, 1986); Si de tanto soñarte (Producciones Abdala, 2002); En pos del mar (Bis Music, 2004); Pescando una canción (Producciones Colibrí, 2006), Como si fuese ayer (2019), accompanied by guitarist Jesús "Chuchi" Saura, as well as countless tributes through recordings of albums with songs by the author from the voices and styles of artists such as Ingrid Rodríguez Díaz de Villegas with the album Tejiendo un rostro en la canción, produced by Eduardo Rodríguez Saura, in 2019.

Songs such as Carretón, Al Sur de mi Mochila, Dardos de Miel and Pequeñín, are some of the titles that occupy a relevant place for the author himself. They have been taken up again in later recording projects, as is the case of Carta de amor, with an evident social impact, and interpreted by artists such as Liuba María Hevia, Amaury Pérez, Silvio Rodríguez, Nelson Valdés, among others.

In order to analyze Lázaro García's musical work from a musicological point of view, it is necessary to understand the creative framework from two fundamental planes: the Thematic Plane (referring to the argument), with the objective of seeing the function of the text; the different points of view in which the author approaches the themes; and the poetic characteristics in the use of the word as a means of communication of ideas, and the Compositional Plane (where the process of creation is coordinated) from the structural relationship of all these elements, and the determination of typifying factors of the composer's process of musical creation.

From a thematic point of view, most of Lázaro's songs are grouped along the lines of love and philosophy. Works such as El Mundo de tu mano and Siempre será el amor, show us a treatment by the author of serious, reflective and intimate tones. He has a preference for classical textual structures, as well as a poetic language with the use of rhetorical figures (metaphors, simile and synesthesia) and poetic images in songs such as Asonancia del tiempo and Inclina el cetro a la flor. In addition, he has dedicated songs to Cienfuegos enhancing its qualities in works such as Trovada a la Perla and Hotel Jagua. The general tones of his lyrics are marked by the use of the first person, and he embodies the timeless troubadour who sings to the beloved person or memory, with a lyricism in the language that denotes the closeness of the argument to the author's subjectivity.

When we analyze the common features in the creation of Lázaro García from the compositional point of view, it becomes necessary to study the morphological aspects of his work and the aspects of the dramaturgy with respect to the functions of the parts in the structures. There is a preference for simple binary musical forms (with a higher degree of complexity given by combinations of textual forms and processes of thematic and musical synthesis in sections with development function) and ternary (with ABC tripartite schemes with use of the continuous form without refrain).

The predominant functions are expository and developmental. He has a preference for chromatic melodic patterns, as well as fragments with circular and descending designs. The singer-songwriter glimpses a preference for minor tonalities with presence of harmonic instability from the use of frequent contacts and modulations from the use of altered chords (augmented chords of double dominant and diminished, 7th, 9th, 13th, etc...). The dynamics are maintained on mezzo sonorities, and the metrhythmic impulses have a tendency to deceleration.

The figure of Lázaro has become a paradigm for Cienfuegos culture. His songs show us contextual aspects as a result of his belonging to the Nueva Trova Movement (which he defends and keeps in force) and others that distinguish him by his own creative style. The relationships between the thematic and compositional spheres make it possible to consider our beloved and charismatic Lázaro García Gil as one of the Cuban artists with the highest level of elaboration in his work and indisputable artistic values that embellish the musical catalog of Cienfuegos, and with the certainty that his songs will be eternal while he weaves a face in the song.

(Taken from 5 de Septiembre)
English versin Hector Hdez.