The Scratched Record: Quédate conmigo
I have heard more than once the wise Frank Delgado say (half seriously, half jokingly) that a troubadour is nothing more than an artist incapable of selling the coupon to someone only as a singer, only as a guitarist or only as a poet; that their performance is rather mediocre in each of those sections, but that when they join, then the circle is closed and the stadium is filled. Like any sentence of this kind, it fits more or less well depending on the segment of paper where you land the bevel. Frank was perhaps thinking about himself, because the opinion is painted on him. You would have to ask him. What is sure, sure, is that he was not thinking about Javier Ruibal. He would have noticed the leap to his comment, because the man from Cádiz wins in the rings, in the high bar and in freehand exercises. Lose in the all-around with only a few.
I looked through the Discogs database and burst out laughing when I saw the style box. The person who uploaded the album must have broken his head before saying “Ya, pa’ la pinga. Flamenco and that's it ”. Javier Ruibal's eclecticism is not the one to have because it is fashionable to be eclectic. He can no longer speak in any way other than that. The accent became contaminated, like people who have lived elsewhere for a long time. He always thinks of flamenco, but when he talks you can't get him well where the cantao is from. It can come out with a Hindu tune, a North African rhythm or a salsa tumbao. Either way and in any key it has been, for a long time, one of the most delicate and elegant offers that can be found in the Spanish song market. And this plate seems to me to be its best version.
It opens with April 11th, where the relationship of a poet with the moon is told. These are the first words of Stay with me: “Letter at last / that the full moon sends me / in which it asks me to quote it / in a discreet place. / Love letter / in which she asks me not to delay / or I'm going to lose myself as a coward / her best moon kiss ”. You have to have a lot of courage to open an album like this in the thirteenth year of the 21st century. You have to walk in another universe (in one where history has nothing to do with time and can dawn today in the Ancient Age, tomorrow in the Middle Ages, and so on), you have to have very little respect for ridicule to write " love letter ”and“ moon kiss ”in the same stanza from this time. And above all, you have to be very showy so as not to miss the shot.
Poets like you and me, who have to come up with seven metaphors to say an idea, are never going to understand what's going on in these guys' heads. They got the hazard breaker screwed up. They are not shot when the commonplace appears; That is why they go in and out of there naturally; They don't stay long but they don't shy away from contact either.
Javier Ruibal, as a person, should be as simple as his songs. I imagine it will be very lovable, very given to the rock. Of the people who, if you are their friend, call you on the phone for no apparent reason, just to talk to you. Of which, if you are just an acquaintance, ask "How are you doing?" and he really wants to know how you are doing; Not for pure gossip, but because the other is more interesting than himself, he cares more about knowing you than showing off. In Ruibal there is not that swelling, that sensual pedantry of a damned singer-songwriter that everyone cut Dylan. When Silvio says: "I must break in two", there it is. In Sabina: "But without haste, that I was never a fan of requiem masses", do you see? Charly: "I'm not going by train, I'm going by plane." Javier no. Javier is not the center of his world. He says, in Dream that I dream of you: "One walks alone with one / without any direction, / one comes and goes / from the square of disagreement / to the alley of never again." Only being a very plain man can one say that - which is, moreover, one of the two or three fundamental ideas - with such humility, in broad daylight. His lyrics, unlike those of others, do not ask the world to stop to listen to them, they do not believe they are important. At a party, for example, Silvio cannot show up, say "After how much did I turn out?", And hope that people continue to do their thing. Javier, on the other hand, is lying in a hammock with a glass of wine in his right hand. His verse supports the cheerful murmur of the bars.
The album is full of tenderness and clarity, of love for the everyday, and this is most noticeable in Viñera de postin. When I heard the album for the first time, no more than two years ago, it had been a long time since I found myself, neither in music nor in literature, with a verse that shook my soul like this one did: “La barca de la viña has a candle / made with grandmothers' aprons / And the sailor sews, for his salary, / the network of centenary bottles ”. They can go crying, which I hope.
The political-social issue is not disgusted in the registry. There are five songs that play it, well grouped at the end in the order, except Los mares del surf, which is the second track and the only one of the five where Javier becomes manifest, goes out into the street, takes out the sign that says: " Get out of the shady business, you sneaky Cadiz ”. In the others the message of social justice is only suggested, as the greats of all life have done. Let's listen to The Child of the Serengeti, closing of the album. As Ruibal is an artist, and art is the plan B of official communication, he is not going to tell you "Long live this, die the other!" (As an artist, as a citizen you can say what you want). He is a poet, not a newspaper. Instead of saying to you: "Look, when you're complaining about the kitchen leaking, there are people who are having a very hard time getting a bucket of water," a story is made about a child from an African tribe who wants being an astronaut and that, for thinking about those nonsense on the road, the water spills and drives his mother crazy. Similar occurs in The Prince of Outcasts and Cine Macario, with other problems, other stories and other scenarios.
No se le hace ascos al asunto político-social en el registro. Hay cinco temas que lo tocan, bien agrupados al final en el orden, excepto Los mares del surf, que es el segundo track y el único de los cinco donde Javier se pone manifestoso, sale a la calle, saca el cartel que dice: “Salte del negocio turbio, gaditano marrullero”. En los otros el mensaje de justicia social está nomás sugerido, como han hecho los grandes de toda la vida. Escuchemos El niño del Serengueti, cierre del disco. Como Ruibal es un artista, y el arte es el plan B de la comunicación oficial, él no te va a decir “¡Viva esto, muera lo otro!” (como artista, ya como ciudadano podrá decir lo que quiera). Él es un poeta, no un periódico. En vez de decirte: “Mira, en lo que tú andas quejándote por el salidero de la cocina, hay gente que la está pasando muy mal para conseguir un cubo de agua”, se arma una historia sobre un niño de una tribu africana que quiere ser astronauta y que, por andar pensando en esas boberías en el camino, se le bota el agua y vuelve loca a su madre. Ocurre parecido en El príncipe de los parias and Cine Macario, con otros problemas, otras historias y otros escenarios.
You came to Cuba recently, Javier. To a Longina Festival, I think. And I, as always, dizzy, looking north, when the candle is in the south. I hope he returns, because as life is going, it is increasingly difficult to get to Cádiz to see.
Carlos M. Mérida
Oidor. Coleccionista sin espacio. Leguleyo. Temeroso de las abejas y de los vientos huracanados.