Fernando González Marabolí
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June 2005

Fernando González Marabolí:
The mind behind the cueca

He's a poet, a developer and an investigator of the "cueca", Chile's national dance and song. His experience determines his ideas over such a genre. Fernando Gonzalez Maraboli has just been given the award Cueca Chilana Samuel Claro Valdes, in the category of Investigation.

By Rosario Mena.

He was born in Santiago in 1927, and raised among poets and singers from the port of Valparaiso. Fernando Gonzales Maraboli received from his parents and grandparents a tradition strongly rooted in his family through generations. He's a poet, a developer and an investigator, but with no more academy than self-experience and oral culture. In his work he has been able to reveal the cueca's characteristic traces and origins, which he looks for in books, compilations and his self taught lessons on philosophy, world history, vernacular cultures and traditional poetry and music.

He's a man of humble background, whose main job has been that of "matarife" (cattle butcher), but whose personal library contains more than six thousand books. Along with his investigation and rescue work, those books have been the conceptual base for Chile's most important edition about the cueca: professor Samuel Claro Valdes' "Chilena o cueca tradicional" (Universidad Catolica Ed., 1994), and whose subtitle includes the acknowledgment: "According to the lessons of don Fernando Gonzalez Maraboli".

It has also been remarkable his work with the group Los Chileneros, which was registered in the trio's first record (Los Chileneros, 1967), and which came as a surprise for its combination of a traditional cueca and street-like issues; urban stories from the areas of La Vega and Estacion Central in Santiago, the port of Valparaiso, bars, restaurants and brothels.

The unique and eclectic search for the cueca's true essence is a road that Gonzalez Maraboli still walks up to this day, making a context between what's just musical with his wide knowledge related to this traditional expression, some coming from the world's most ancient cultures. Most of his conclusions, which sometime links the cueca with History and the cosmos' origin, are contained in Claro Valdes' book. There, in the prologue, one can read the theoretical principles that sometime put the cuecas under a mathematical analysis.

A popular thinker, a visionary of traditional knowledge, a conceptual developer of our Chilean cueca, Gonzalez Maraboli is an unavoidable referent to understand and reveal it as a major art.

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