El valor cultural de las abuelas es de gran importancia para las sociedades. Su conocimiento, diálogo y experiencia las capacitan para construir valores culturales positivos, los cuales traen cambios sostenibles en la comunidad en que se desenvuelven. Sus valorables experiencias les dan un lugar especial para ser guías de la generación de sus nietos y nietas, y formar parte de programas de desarrollo, política y activismo.
LAS QUINCE: THE MEMORY OF WOMEN FROM PUERTO DE LA CRUZ TURNED INTO A SONG.
to this journey in time,
to the collection of picture frames of every family night table,
to the album ... musical of a town that is much more than a postcard.
If you are from here ...
It is possible that you recognize yourself (in) these experiences collected from daughters, granddaughters, friends, neighbors, clients, workers, ..., -and in some cases also the male version of these relationships- around those women who were part of the childhood and youth of lives that have now reached more than six decades. Women of whom little or nothing had been collected and of whom, however, there is much to tell.
If you reside here or are visiting us ...
Feel adopted and get closer to memories that may be similar to yours. Or maybe not and you are facing an opportunity to learn that any past time is ... diverse, and in the case of Puerto de la Cruz defined by many aspects of which we are going to make you participant with text, image and music.
Imagine you put a record player to work. This imperfect sound surrounds you and evokes another era. Its rhythm defines the beat with which you glance through the sepia and technicolor photos like a carousel of slides. The jumps of the needle cut out some fragments, advance others, but everything is completed in your head because you already know the composition or you fill it in with your score. This is the sy memory works, our own and it is possible how we perceive that of others, recomposing it with our own, inspiring the imagination, adding vintage and retro filters, creating a film in the head to which we are going to put a soundtrack.
In Las Quince we appeal to the memory conscious of the selections, idealizations, omissions or forgetfulness that this entails. But we have put our ears to listen and thus compose songs that you listen to about women who raised the generation that tells us about them. Would they describe themselves the same waty? What would they think of how much the world has changed for those daughters or neighbors with whom they coincided in space and time but with different ages and opportunities? Are we that humanly distant from them? Making their existence visible was the objective, framing them in the social and historical context of at least the first half of the 20th century has been one of the results. In any case, you will see how they reflect a specific intersection of gender coordinates, geographical situation, stage and economic model of the then still town and that will help you to glimpse the scene that we have recovered and that transcends Puerto de la Cruz itself. Peculiarity and connections, the eternal pentagram on which history is written, sometimes just changing the melody. Of course, we can never ask them directly how they felt. However, what learnings can we extract from the shared anecdotes, the vision of their role in the neighborhood, the approach to the most intimate stories, the comparison with the way of relating in family and between genders, the observation of their work in the home or the trades in which they were employed? And this refers at least to its knowledge. The one from whom if we rewind it is difficult to find the trace of wealthy women, even educated, imagine when they belong to lower economic strata and occupied other domestic and / or worker roles. And on this night table there is room for everyone.
For this reason, whether or not you, including the younger generations, want to give these "grandmothers of El Puerto" recognition and revaluation is a conclusion that is not our concern. Let it be the voices that count and those that sing which transport you in this time machine. Judge what sort of reading you do of the described ways of life, the urban, social and relational transformations, what you would discard of all this and in what you think it has been improved. From Las Quince we treat with respect and analytical spirit all the testimonies and documents they lend us, although we were moved by curiosity about this silence and it is possible that also a humanist vision - with a presentist sensitivity, we do not hide it - oriented to broaden the focus by overcoming the objectification of ancient women as models of a single type of femininity associated with the domestic sphere or fossilized in postcard photos and drawings or engravings of visitors as magos ¹ or canastilleras (women who carry small baskets), and reviving them as living subjects whatever the standards they were called upon to live. The creative transformation does not detract from the rigor of the methodology, but it adds the emotion that will help you feel the meaning that we have grasped. A proposal of culture for citizenship made by citizenship. No more labels. Trying to understand each other and not forget where we come from. And this time they are / we are protagonists. They are the musical ... genre. Puerto de la Cruz gives voice to this silence of their past to write the lyrics and find other notes with which she can interpret a future that sounds more harmonious for everyone.
HOW DO WE TUNE THIS ETHNOMUSICAL PROJECT?
The ear, its main sense
Our instruments have been calls, messages, emails, videos, audios, files and folders for classifying data and documentation, the paper on which to compose the lyrics and, indeed, the microphones, musical equipment and voices to get to these lines and the songs that derive from this whole process.
We begin by calling women over 65 years of age who can talk about their childhood and / or adolescence, especially about their corresponding neighborhood in "El Puerto": El Durazno, Las Dehesas, Punta Brava, La Vera, Las Arenas, El Botánico , Guacimara, La Paz, Casco, San Antonio-El Esquilón, San Fernando, San Nicolás, Santísimo-Las Águilas, Taoro-Malpaís or El Tope. We listen to those who voluntarily accept the invitation - also men - also knowing that the result is going to become music. We record them while they speak and then encode what they tell us according to neighborhood, participant and topics, it is written and designed on the one hand and composed on the other based on the information extracted, and this is how you finally get both the contents and the songs that inspire these. Finally by Las Quince, although we know and wish that it is not the end for you. We want you to live it, comment on it, share it, send us your impressions and contributions about your neighborhood, get to know more and better Puerto de la Cruz.
Local ethnography + Slow music Caracolas.
PHASE I: NEIGHBOURHOODS OF EL DURAZNO, LAS ARENAS, LA VERA, LAS DEHESAS AND PUNTA BRAVA.
The periphery of the Port.
In an archipelago that is less than 100 km from the African continent and about 1 000 km from the European to which it belongs administratively and politically and makes us its outermost region, talking about the periphery of a town also refers us to what seems to be a center reference and its satellites. Applying this scheme to Puerto de la Cruz makes El Casco, as is often expressed in the mouths of the people interviewed, synonymous with Puerto-center and the respective neighborhoods mentioned in an entity or an annex from which it is reached.
Beginning Las Quince on the experiences of women and being a woman in El Durazno, Las Arenas, La Vera, Las Dehesas and Punta Brava during the first half of the last century gives them a symbolic geographical and neighborhood role that overlaps with that historiographic and ethnographic silence about its women, accustomed to that bias of highlighting only the Portuense gangocheras (informal business women) linked to the dock and the sea, the venerated female religious figures, or the ladies of high birth with prominent surnames or of foreign origin
Fincas (farms) with different crops, mainly bananas, their packaging warehouses even on the seashore, jets to which you have to go to fetch water, passing roads in which paths intersect and not only of vehicles but also humans transforming into places of settlement, and places of worship as meeting and socialization points, are some of the characteristics shared to a greater or lesser extent between these five neighborhoods. The particularity of these and others, as well as more cultural characteristics that can be extrapolated to all in the same temporal context as a collage with a more or less shared background and different faces and situations, you will find if you follow this melody ...
Field work in pandemic.
The first phase of Las Quince is a task that began in October 2020 and ended in June 2021, which meant making some adaptations to the initial approach to adjust to health regulations due to the COVID 19 crisis. We always prioritize health safety of the women we addressed, especially considering that they were precisely part of one of the highest risk groups due to their age profile.
These circumstances have probably caused a decrease in the potential universe of interviewable people, more so having passed through the maximum alert levels that delayed some of the contacts, but it should not be overlooked either that there are neighborhoods whose population was not the one we know today, and that added to the passage of time, it already reduced that number in advance. Although we offered alternative ways to face-to-face - video calls or answering a list of questions as a guide to record either on video or audio, even on the same mobile phone, which, due to the level of familiarization with this technology that they expressed, required, if anything, other people, we remember that there were stages of isolation and very small bubble groups that made it difficult - fortunately the progress in vaccination, the upkeep of preventive measures (use of masks and brief meetings in the open air) and, it is fair to recognize it, the commitment of the participants who joined and they were warmly welcomed to the project, they sorted the data collection. We are left with the satisfaction declared by them of having shared that time and contributing to the memory of the city after all the accumulated time of physical distancing that they carried with them and even among other people from their own neighborhood.
Profile of the people interviewed: (mostly born in El Puerto or nearby municipalities and in the decades from 1930 or 1940).
The fifteen and The Seashells (Las Quince y Caracolas).
Canarian Institute for Cultural Development of the Government of the Canary Islands in public call for the selection, execution and dissemination of cultural projects, innovation and promotion of other sectors among professionals, companies and non-profit cultural entities within the Social and Economic Reactivation Plan of the Canary Islands 2020: 12,000 euros.
His Excellency City Hall of Puerto de la Cruz: approximately 2000 euros as technical material necessary for the public presentation of "Las Quince".
Area of Mayor's Office, Security, Culture and Portuense Identity of the Hon. City Hall of Puerto de la Cruz
Department of Equality of His Excellency City Hall of Puerto de la Cruz
Municipal Center for Women of the Hon. City Hall of Puerto de la Cruz
Department of the Elderly of the Hon. City Hall of Puerto de la Cruz
Councilor for Citizen Participation of the Hon. City Hall of Puerto de la Cruz
Municipal Archive of the Hon. City Hall of Puerto de la Cruz
PFAE Dinamización de Puerto de la Cruz 2019
Filmoteca Canaria - Instituto Canario de Desarrollo Cultural, S.A.
Foundation for Ethnography and the Development of Canarian Crafts (FEDAC)
To all the participants first. Also the people and professionals who mediated to access them.
Of course to the entities and their technical collaborators.
To the PFAE Turismo for the translation of the texts.
And those who facilitated consultations or even selflessly transferred files:
Puerto de la Cruz Municipal Public Library - Tomás de Iriarte
Francisco José Baeza Acosta
Agrarian Transformation Society (FAST)