A report by Judy-Cantor-Navas for Billboard.
“One Hundred Years of Solitude” was inspired by Colombian vallenato songs; García Márquez in turn inspired R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion” video.
Today (March 6) would have been Gabriel García Márquez ’s 91st birthday, and Google is celebrating with a Doodle dedicated to the magic realist writer.
Here at Billboard, we are remembering the famed Colombian author with some of the music he loved best. Here are five things to know about García Márquez and music.
García Márquez was a major mambo fan. In his memoir, Living to Tell the Tale, he recounts nights dancing to the mambo in a Baranquilla brothel as a young man. In an article he wrote on mambo in 1951 in that city’s El Heraldo newspaper, García Márquez stated that the author of “Mambo No. 5,”, mambo king Perez Prado, “Has discovered the definitive chord on the heart strings of all of the young guys who whistle on the street corners of the world.”
Garcia would later spend much of his time in Cuba, where he founded the International School of Film and Television and maintained friendships with Pablo Milanés and other musicians.
One Hundred Years of Solitude was inspired by vallenato songs. García Márquez described the masterpiece that brought international attention to Latin American literature as “Nothing more than a 450-page vallenato.”
Quoted in Cuba’s Opina magazine, the Colombian writer referred to the roots music of his country as “a narrative that is sung.”
“The fact that [vallenato] songs tell stories of real events gave me the idea for One Hundred Years of Solitude.”
García Márquez was a fan and friend of the great vallenato composer and singer Leandro Díaz.
The Nobel Prize winner couldn’t listen to music while he wrote. “I like music so much that I can’t listen to music while I write,” García Márquez said in article in Opina magazine. “Because I pay more attention to the music than what I am writing!”
The author of One Hundred Years of Solitude had a huge record collection. “They say that one lives where his books are, but I live where my records are,” García Márquez once wrote. He was known to have over 5,000 albums in his home.
The video for R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion” was inspired by a García Márquez story. The director of R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion” video credits a García Márquez story with inspiring the clip.
“…There’s a story by Gabriel García Márquez called “A Very Old Man With Wings” in which this freak angel arrives and nobody knows quite what to do with it,” director Tarsem Singh told Rolling Stone. “So it’s that story, told abstractly through the style of these guys called Pierre et Gilles, who are these iconic gay photographers that take how Indians do their gods and goddesses, then they do that to the Western gods.”