Alhambra, Granada, Spain

La Torre de la Vela by 091

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You'd better look among the shadows
If there's moonlight
Because you know that without doubt
I'll be there
La Torre de la Vela (the Tower of the Sentinel)
Little remains of the Alhambra, a once vast and imposing fortress and palace complex in Granada, Spain. Built in the 1200s by the last Moorish, Muslim rulers of the area, it stands today as a testament to the passing of time, and worlds we are so far removed from it is hard to believe they were once real. 091's song “La Torre de la Vela” is named after the largest tower still standing of this once impressive citadel. Just as the ruins of the Alhambra evoke retrospection, this song, as songwriter/guitarist José Ignacio García Lapido, told us in September 2011, is “about the feelings and issues of a young man... what we did when we were that age.” “La Torre de la Vela” is a reflection on the past through a personal lens, centered around the powerful image of the La Torre de la Vela (The Tower of the Sentinel).

The rollicking guitars of this song by one of Granada's most popular and internationally noted bands begins with the words “you'll find me in the night on the road/ or up in the highest part of the Torre de la Vela,” immediately setting the scene and evoking the landmark of the band's home. The lyrics of the song go on to outline the aimless activities of the songwriter's youth - going to the cinema, drinking in the bar alone, playing billiards, waiting in the unemployment line, and of course, climbing the tower. From the top of the tower the river valley of El Albaicin can be seen, the River Darro, lined with churches, buildings of antiquity, and ancient bridges. How can one do anything but reminisce about the places below when faced with such a breathtaking vision of the lands in which they grew up? Exploring the places and activities of his youth, the song's writer is resigned to this compulsion, but still, it is not a hopeful summation.
Granada, viewed from the Albaicin to the Alhambra
Despite that, the songwriter asks the listener to look for him, he advises, “but don't look inside of me” saying that there they will only find “a heart that's broken by questions without answers/ you'd better look among the shadows if there's moonlight/ because you know that without doubt, I'll be there.” The tower of the citadel, a monument rife with meaning, both individual and historical, to those hailing from Granada, is the perfect point of focus for the song. "The action of the song was to be focused on a specific geographic point, full of symbolism, and the Tower of the Sentinel was perfect,” explained Lapido. A young man, trying to find his place among the city as he surveys the land is at the heart of “La Torre de la Vela.” “Someone... [who] needs to be found or saved,” as the author of the piece suggests. ~ Maggie Grimason

Thanks to Pablo Calvache for suggesting this Songplace.


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