Monday, August 25, 2014

Instituto Cervantes and the Embassy of Spain, in collaboration with Ateneo de Manila University and the Department of European Languages of the University of the Philippines, present tomorrow at the Ateneo campus the cultural event “Queremos tanto a Julio,” a jazz tribute to Argentinean writer Julio Cortázar. The program will feature a concert of jazz themes that inspired Cortázar, performed by saxophonist Tots Tolentino, and a recital of his writings.

Julio Cortázar (1914-1984) — along with Gabriel García Márquez, Mario Vargas Llosa and Carlos Fuentes — was one of the protagonists of the so-called “Latin American Boom,” a literary phenomenon that, with novels like Cien años de soledad or Rayuela, put Latin America in the map of World Literature. Although Cortázar was born in Brussels, his family returned to Argentina after World War I. In Buenos Aires he studied, worked as a teacher and began writing. His first published story, “Casa Tomada” (“House Taken Over”), appeared in 1947 in a magazine edited by Jorge Luis Borges. Cortázar moved to Paris in 1951 where he worked as a translator and interpreter and began publishing in earnest. With his second novel, Rayuela (Hopscotch), published in 1963, he made his name in the literary world.

Argentinian writer Julio Cortázar at home in Paris. Photo courtesy of Ulf Andersen/Getty Images.

Although he wrote poetry, drama, and various non-fiction works, Julio Cortázar is mainly praised for his novels and stories. A modern master of the short story, his work influenced an entire generation of Spanish-speaking readers and writers in the Americas and Europe.

Cortázar’s main influences were Surrealism and the improvisatory aesthetic of jazz. This last interest is reflected in the story “El Perseguidor” (“The Pursuer”), which he based on the life of Charlie Parker.

Charlie Parker also played a major role in the career of Filipino musician Tots Tolentino. Having heard the great Charlie Parker play at the age of 16, Tots decided that saxophone was to be his chosen instrument. He then pursued his career to become the most prestigious jazzman in the Philippines.

Tots Tolentino will jazz over Cortázar’s texts inspired by this musical genre, so much loved by both of them.

“Queremos tanto a Julio. A Jazz Tribute to Julio Cortázar” will be held tomorrow, 5 p.m., at Leong Hall Roofdeck, Ateneo de Manila University. Katipunan Ave., Quezon City.

For information, visit www.manila.cervantes.es, or like InstitutoCervantesManila on Facebook.

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