Instituto Cervantes de Manila and the Embassy of Spain will present “Queremos Tanto a Julio,” a jazz tribute to Latin American writer Julio Cortázar, on Aug. 26, 5 p.m., at the Leong Hall roofdeck of Ateneo de Manila University, Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City.
The program will feature a concert of jazz themes that inspired Cortázar, to be performed by saxophonist Tots Tolentino, and a recital of the Argentinian’s writings.
The event is in collaboration with the Ateneo and the Department of European Languages of University of the Philippines.
Cortázar (1914-1984), along with Gabriel García Márquez of Colombia, Mario Vargas Llosa of Peru, and Carlos Fuentes of Mexico, was part of the so-called “Latin American Boom,” a literary phenomenon that, with novels such as Marquez’s “Cien Años de Soledad” and Cortázar’s “Rayuela” (Hopscotch), put Latin America on the world-literature map.
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,” published in 1963, he made his name in the literary world.
Although he wrote poetry, drama and nonfiction works, 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.
Parker also played a major role in the career of Filipino musician Tots Tolentino. Having heard the great jazz musician when he was 16, Tolentino made saxophone his chosen instrument and became one of the top jazz artists in the Philippines.
On Aug. 26, Tolentino will “jazz over” Cortázar’s texts inspired by the musical genre, so much loved by both writer and musician.
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