It was a winter day in Madrid. I took the express train “Puerta del Sol” to Brussels. At that time, Hendeva was the final station for our trains. The Spanish tracks and the French tracks were not of the same width, a defensive measure implemented by Franco’s government. Disembarking from the train, I held my suitcase tightly in one hand, while the other clutched my passport. In the dead of night, we crossed this space open to the sky, enclosed by barbed wire – “tierra de nadie” (no man’s land). On the other side awaited at least 26 years of a different life, and I dared to hope that I could finally grasp it. On that day, I was only 26 years old. But before that day, there had been countless others, thousands of days, whose echoes I can still hear…
A word from Tënk
One winter day when she was 26, Charo Calvo left Madrid for Brussels.
On a winter day of her 26th year, Charo Calvo leaves Madrid bound for Brussels. Her train journey marks the beginning of this autobiographical creation - this "phonobiography," as she aptly names it - which blends documentary and history with personal narrative. In this journey towards exile and Belgium, the Spain of Franco which she experienced as a teenager emerges, while the sound design questions and sketches her memories in a language that was not hers as a child, and in an electroacoustic language of which she has rare mastery.
Quoting Gabriel García Márquez, she writes about her piece that, "life is not what you have lived, but what you remember and how you remember it."
Phonobiographie #1 was awarded the Palma Ars Acustica by the European Broadcasting Union, in addition to being nominated for prestigious awards such as the Prix Europa and the Phonurgia Nova Awards.
To be listened to with headphones, of course.
Documentarian and audio artist
English transcription available here.