The cheerful comadres of Aravaca | Culture

The cheerful comadres of Aravaca | Culture


More than 35 years ago, Fernando Márquez, The left handed, component of Kaka de Luxe, La Mode or Paradise, was commissioned to compose a book on Double Vainica for the collection The Jugglers, by Ediciones Júcar. The volume included opinions of those who knew the duo, such as Luis Eduardo Aute, Jaime Chávarri, Jaime de Armiñán or José Manuel Caballero Bonald, Márquez's own criticisms of Vainica's records, the chronicle of the first public performance, signed by Juby Bustamante, and a long interview arranged in three conversations with the protagonists. The publication was delayed until 1983 and included the lyrics of the duo.

Walden Books and The Music Library have just re-edit the volume with some modification: does not include the letters -from the publication of the Complete songbook de Vainica Doble was commissioned by Morsa ediciones in 2016-, but comments by El Zurdo on subsequent albums, new voices that comment on the group -Lorena Álvarez, Teresa Iturrioz or César Sánchez- and a new cover, designed by Elisa Peña, as an added graphic material. This reissue coincides with that of Tachycardia (New Media, 1984), which publishes remastered now Larvin, a new label dedicated to the rescue, among others, of discs in vinyl format of Spanish groups such as Pata Negra, La Mode, Najwajean or Dover.

From that record, in which El Zurdo participated, he writes in the book that the Vainica "transgress all pop norms in a musically inactual work [de los guiños rockeros de otros discos aquí se pasa a un apoyo cuasi conventual basado en música clásica y jazz]" Maybe in that inactuality is the secret of its timelessness and that it continues to sound tremendously new, fresh and modern.

Cover of the reissue of the book on Double Vainica.
Cover of the reissue of the book about Double Vainica.

At Zulueta's house

Vainica Doble were venerated by the young people of the movement, also by the children of their friends and they are now for those older children who make music. The cheerful comadres of Aravaca was one of the names that shuffled for his duo at the home of filmmaker Iván Zulueta, author of the cover of Countercurrent (1976). By that time, Gloria van Aerssen (Dos Hermanas, 1932-Cercedilla, 2015) and Carmen Santonja (Madrid, 1934-2000) had been for years the attraction of a certain Bohemian Madrid viñetista, with Mingote at the head. Van Aerssen and Santonja had met on a basketball court in the University City of Madrid. Van Aerssen studied Fine Arts and Santonja, at the music conservatory. The first one also danced and from that experience as a professional with the company of Pilar López he soon knew that he detested the stage. Santonja, in addition to a musical talent that had blunted soon, painted and had done theater in the Spanish University Theater. There he met the actress Chus Lampreave, and from there emerged a discreet career of brief appearances in film and television. When they released their first album, in 1970, they were about to turn 40.

Throughout the three conversations that make up the book, Van Aerssen and Santonja respond to Márquez's questions about his beginnings, influences and songs. The answers reveal the characters of both, differentiated and, at the same time, the naturalness with which any of them took the floor to talk about the duo. They talk about their mistakes and their successes, or rather about their virtues, how good they spent composing and what they suffered with some industry tolls, such as concerts or promotion, which they barely did. They speak of bad experiences, of the long silence as a group, of their separate years, of their other works (handicrafts, painting), of their task as composers of songs for others (You are everything, for Luz Casal, it was probably the most successful one), together or alone, and the projects that did not work out as expected, such as the soundtrack of Sneaky, by José Luis Borau.

The result is of a disarming sincerity, where the pose shines by its absence. The book is more than a gift for fans delivered to the most unique duo of Spanish music, author of songs of a strange and surprising beauty, and whose influence extends without stridency until today. It allows us to get closer to the complicated work of songwriting, it is a portrait of the music industry and the story of the lives of two women whose intelligence, talent and humor, as Jaime de Armiñán said, are a luxury that perhaps we do not deserve.

The cult and the popular; the plastic and the musical

The journalist Esther Peñas recalls in the prologue of the book that one of the adjectives associated with Vainica Doble is that of naive. They were, but not in the most frequent sense, but in the etymological one: born free, near the origin, according to Peñas. Their songs united the popular and the cultured, they looked for the words that better fitted in melodies that drank of the most modern music and of the most cultured one. The group Yes and the Gregorian chant, pop and flamenco, appear mixed in their themes. its Mariluz was created as his Dear Prudence (The Beatles) particular, they told Marquez. And they united two worlds: the plastic and the musical, maybe that's where the strength of the images of their lyrics comes from.

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