14' Full-HD 16:9
On the 5 August 1940 my grandmother was aboard the Moraleda vapor, heading towards the extreme south of Chile. She was one of the few survivors of the shipwreck. The tragic story has been narrated in my family across generations, gaining every year a richer colour and a somewhat extension of the truth, and finally becoming legend. I have fond memories of my grandmother telling me the story, it wasn't a happy one, the brother of my grandfather didn't survive, yet the real realism of this adventure story would thrill me and it still does. Stranded on a small island for days my grandmother seemed to be lost for ever, as the rest of the survivors of the Moraleda.
My grandfather worked in a bank but could pilot airplanes, he'd be out in the skies flying over the Moraleda's route, trying to find my grandmother. I have a clear image of him piercing the clouds and hovering over the angry sea, looking down whilst my grandmother looking up. The nature in that area is astonishing, one can (should) only be condescending in the face of such powerful elements, extremely strong winds, incredibly strong tides, a sea forger of frightful tales - Chile has beautiful landscapes, infinite horizon lines, makes for great postcards.
In 1973 Pinochet's men would brake through the same clouds to drop in the sea their victim's bodies, the ocean would conceal the evidence yet the wind would blow the truth sooner or later.
This Chilean postcard has layers to reveal, one has to look up and down again.
Personally I am not fond of Neruda's poems, it is part of a tradition that I very much try to move away from. Nevertheless to be challenged to read and record a classic, in what isn't my native language anymore, must have strong meaningful reasons: Elena's music, her personal story tied to Greece's history in conjunction with Chile's one and my mother's voice. Elena's music reflects a condition emerging from Neruda's words, even a certain gamma of colours, if that's possibile, up to a point where the words are truly organic with the sounds melting into spanish and where a folk song becomes universal, bridging the Andes to ancient Greece or to the Celtic folk. At one point, the music is but an echo of all the memory we are and we share.
Elena's idea to have two generations read Neruda I think was brilliant, it's a concrete experience of time and it gave me the opportunity to share these images and sounds with my mother, making our shared experiences and stories come together and broaden too. Something for which I am very grateful.
Matias, sometime in 2022