“The male dancer appears from the darkness, near her. They circle each other with birdlike lekking. The first cantaor unzips his skin, which falls to his feet. Out of his sinewy throat – or perhaps, from the earth – roars a bristly emotion, smelling of anguish and love and blood and tears.” From the heart of Andalucía, Erica Goodkind’s fierce appraisal of Flamenco.
“My heart stopped and must have stopped too long, because that was the moment the devil got in—or whatever it was. A haunting spirit. A small god animating the body of this man. He pulled off all the seeds, and recast me in a new image. Woman desiring. A new, dark melody filtered in. Nothing has been the same since.” Kate Montgomery’s hypnotic meditation on duende in the other.
“Encountering SHADOWED! for me was very much this feeling—of how to navigate, moment by moment, the real kernel of a passed thing.” The duende of Ellen Rothenberg’s 2015 solo exhibition, elsetime, and the 2018 book that examines it, Green Lantern Press’s SHADOWED!.
“We simultaneously participate in Apple’s pain while using her performance as a container for our own. That way, we too get the chance to bleed.” Sarah Kasbeer collectivizes the duende of trauma in Fiona Apple’s 1996 album, Tidal.
“Rather than just bastardized values of authenticity and emotion, Lorca’s theory really deals with formulation and application. Duende arguably occurs during the creative process, a period where distortions, cracks, and twists birth meaning with experience and skill.” Daniel Vidales challenges traditional notions of duende, emphasizing the willful intention behind art.
“The ephemerality and immateriality of the evening lurk in the vaulted space, threaten the elevated precise present, and host duende, which by nature comes awake when time and element are allocated as such.” Bradyn Sloan elegantly charts the duende within a recent Seattle visit by Yugoslavian performance artist Marina Abramović.
“Beyond economic deaths, educational deaths, overdose deaths, Appalachia carries a kind of pastoral death: the cratered hillside replaced with slurry ponds and refineries; a discarded refrigerator in a flooded creek.” Nic Lawrence summons her West Virginian childhood while finding duende in Harmony Korine’s 2009 film, Trash Humpers.
“Duende is more than a fleeting moment of sadness. It’s an aesthetic. A projected acceptable sadness. A stepsister of nostalgia.” Paul Asta takes a kaleidoscopic view of Duende, via Elliott Smith, mental illness, and fast food.
“And a writer’s moment of struggle with duende is not something that can be boxed in and kept, however much one longs to keep it. The struggle is always new, always fresh.” Beside her own piercing memories, Lana Spendl illuminates duende within Ozren Kebo’s memoir of the Bosnian War.