Guitarist, vocalist and composer Amancio Prada performs at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 30, at Meany Hall. For his UW World Series debut, Prada will perform Sonetos y Canciones (Sonnets and Songs), composed using poetry by Federico García Lorca.
Born in Dehesas, in the province of León, Spain in 1949, Prada studied sociology at the University of the Sorbonne in Paris, and it was in that same city that he studied harmony, composition, and guitar under Michel Puig and Silos Manos.
He made his musical debut in Paris in 1972, playing alongside Georges Brassens. Since that performance, Prada has toured around the world many times over, recorded 30 albums, and won dozens of awards and other official recognition for his artistic contributions.
The musical composition of the Sonnets and Songs he will play in his concert took place over a long period of time, from 1970 to 2003.
“La Guitarra was the first Lorca poem I set to music, three years before recording my first album,” Prada said. “I remember that a mutual friend took me to the home of the Portuguese musician Luis Cília to introduce us and for him to hear my work. When he heard me sing La Guitarra, he asked if I had written the music. ‘It’s very good, he said. In fact, I hadn’t given it much thought. That was my first year in Paris and I wasn’t at all sure that I wanted to devote myself seriously to music. I was full of doubt, so I found Cília’s comment very encouraging.”
It wasn’t until nearly ten years later that Prada composed his second Lorca song, Danza da lúa en Santiago (Dance of the Moon over Santiago), based on one of Lorca’s Six Galician Poems. It is a dream-like poem in which a delirious mother on her deathbed speaks with her son about the moon.
“I composed the melodies for the eleven sonnets in the summer of 1985. I did it in my mind, not for a specific instrument, listening to their silent music,” Prada said. “At first I feared that the structure of the sonnet would be an impediment to finding an appropriate musical shape. But in fact the opposite occurred: once I discovered the leitmotiv of each poem, in brief harmonic succession or in the accidental melody of a lone verse, the formal, logical development of the poetic discourse gave me the melodic line and its resolution.”
Prada also recovered three songs by Lorca set to music by Paco Ibáñez, recorded years ago and never published. “They are three gems that have been with me since I first heard Paco sing them,” Prada said. “I have included them in admiration and to pay tribute to a pioneer and master.”
Tickets are $30 ($20 for students) and may be purchased by phone at 206-543-4880, online, or in person at the UW Arts Ticket Office.