The Gran Canaria professor Manuel Pérez Rodríguez, who has developed an important task as a researcher and disseminator of folklore and ethnography of the Archipelago through an intense compilation work for several decades, presents on July 20, at 8:00 p.m., within the framework of the VIII Campus of Ethnography and Folclore de Ingenio, his book entitled ‘Ingenio de arpegios’, a volume in which he recognizes the dissemination dimension exercised for more than 70 years by one of the most legendary groups in the Canary Islands, Coros y Danzas de Ingenio.
The also jurist, specialized in Private International Law, who has taught this discipline in both Canarian universities, points out that his work reveals “the symbiosis that exists between the town of the southeast and the history of this group linked to Aurorita Cruz Vega, who it carries, preserves and transmits without alteration the dances and traditional airs of the folklore of the region. It can be indicated that the group is an island within an island that has remained oblivious to the misrepresentations that the popular dances of the islands have unfortunately experienced in the last three decades. That legacy inherited from their ancestors continues to be maintained from generation to generation ”.
Pérez Rodríguez professes an admiration for Ingenio that he does not hide. “I know deeply the 88 municipalities of the Canary Islands and in none is lived and defended as in Ingenio the value of identity traditions, from its famous depth to folklore,” he says. “Despite its growth as a thriving population and as a new nucleus of residence for other nationalities, it has managed to preserve its identity,” he adds.
“Folklore is not a vulgar or magician manifestation, it is the soul of the people”
The professor and ethnographer, who was director and presenter of the TVE program ‘Taifa y Candil’ in the Canary Islands in the 1980s, is the author of several publications, including Arpegios Atlánticos, Rompeolas, Galería Oscura ‘, Acrostics for my land or The Eighth Island Venezuela.
Manuel Pérez proclaims himself a staunch defender of traditional clothing designed by the great Néstor Martín Fernández de La Torre. “There has been a historical demonization of the groups that have chosen to wear the traditional clothing of Nestor. Those who discuss it do so without documentary argumentation. It was rejected in its time by the Women’s Section due to the open political spirit contrary to the regime that Néstor showed and today it appears in the Ethnographic Museum of Tenerife. Even the Cabildo de Gran Canaria, the enemies of the costume, refused to subsidize its handmade making by some folk groups on the island that requested it, to the detriment of other designs. As long as I live, I will defend him as I do with the La Orotava costume, which has also been attacked, ”he details.
The attachment of peoples to their folklore is for Pérez one of the features in which their capacity for representation and symbolization is expressed. “Canaries are an Atlantic mestizo people, shaped by a multitude of cultures that have favored our open and universal spirit. The imprint and echo of the English, the Portuguese, the Jews, the Dutch, the Maltese… settled down in our character over the centuries. The richness of our folklore is a reflection of this cross-cultural miscegenation ”, explains the professor, who is currently working on a chapter dedicated to traditional dances that are still alive in the Canary Islands, which will be included in a national compendium that will be published next year. which comes through FACYDE (Federation of Associations of Choirs and Dances of Spain). “If we lose our identity in the midst of so much globalization and imposed acculturation, what are we?”
“If we lose our identity in the midst of so much globalization, what are we?”
“In the Canary Islands there are more than 90 popular dances that still survive in our traditional folklore,” emphasizes Pérez, who regrets that children and girls are not instructed today with folklore and dance as a complementary activity in schools. “Among them, ‘el pericón’ by Agüimes stands out, with its instrumental and sung variant, which is the dance that has the most figures in the entire Canary Islands and that the southeastern Gran Canaria took to Montevideo when it was founded. Folklore is not a tacky or magician manifestation, it is the soul of the people and one more way of reflecting the joy and vitality of a community that manifests and proclaims in a different way from the rest of the world ”, concludes Manuel Pérez.