Aromas full of flavor float from the kitchen to the table of the La Habana Vieja restaurant in Barcelona, where Víctor Amela holds his latest stew in his lap, If I get lost "If I get lost, look for me in Andalusia or Cuba," he stated in 1930 Federico Garcia Lorca. And that is precisely what Amela has done, retrace the footsteps, not Andalusian, but the lesser known of the poet, those that led him to enjoy the Caribbean island after his famous stay in New York. An equally or more transcendental journey. He arrived on March 7, 1930 to give three lectures in one week. What he lived and felt there caused him to extend the visit. Up to 98 days of sun, freedom, party, inspiration and friendship.
"Lorca discovered a joy, a joy of living that in Spain was boycotted by the corset of morality, family and society," says the author. "He used to say that Cuba was full of blacks without drama, because they came from Harlem, from the suffering, which had such an impact on him."
If the city of skyscrapers inspired him Poeta en Nueva York , with some verses that exude “rage against the sissies”, in Havana he wrote the play El Público , his most openly homosexual work. Amela relates the importance that Cuba had in this aspect. "He stops suffering for being homosexual, he accepts himself and lives comfortably with it, he discovers that he can be happy" and adds that on the island "he sang, danced, fucked, drank and cultivated friendship".
In this last aspect, the relationship he had with Flor Loynaz, 21 years old and a lesbian, stands out. "People thought they were having an affair and in reality they were accomplices in nocturnal escapades," she details. “Yerma read him, which he finished off in Cuba by changing some of her passages inspired by her,” he reveals. “Yerma is Flor, but also Federico because he would have wanted to give birth to lives and instead he gave birth to works”.
At the end of 2020, Amela traveled to Cuba to step on the same stages as the poet, she even had a white suit made on the island, as Lorca did, and go further in her desire to reconstruct history. One of the lectures was known to have been broadcast on the radio. What if it had been recorded and the recording still existed? It would be the only sound manifestation of his voice, a voice that those who heard it considered as magnetic as his verse. "I went to look for his voice in the literal sense on an island where he found himself and found his most intimate voice."
Only one person keeps that powerful voice in his memory, Tica, Lorca's niece who has already turned 92 years old. Amela started the week by visiting her, before today's launch of the book, to which she dedicates. From her stay in Cuba, her uncle brought her a black doll “that symbolized the happiness that he had lived there.” And it is that Lorca felt a great attraction for the blackness of the people of the island. "He defended black men who could not access a local," explains the author. "He would say that he is the founder of the vindication of the humiliated, the disadvantaged, the mistreated, the other half of humanity of which he felt part."
Si yo me perdo is the second work that Amela dedicates to the poet after I could save Lorca. “In the first I tell the tragedy, while in the second I expose the opposite face, happiness”. "For me Federico is a lay saint, inspiring, poetic and good, an example of vitality, joy, carnality and sensuality," he concludes.