Yapci Bienes

Fuencaliente has a strong tradition in the field of décimas popular . This tradition is not limited to the local appreciation of its expressions, which is considerable, but also implies an interesting local cultivation. The décimas has collected the feelings and sayings of the people, their living memory, from the main to the anecdotal. Here the estrofa has covered and covers multiple relevant functions, conquest, from the cultural and identity perspective, it must be assumed as a remarkable element. In our context, the décimas becomes a rhymed and metrified version of local history. The sung décimas has encouraged people to make food on the beach or the winery party, in the same way that it has alleviated the rigors of agricultural and fishing tasks, or seasoned the gallofas. Today it continues to find, both in private celebrations and in community festivals, its own space, a favorable setting in this south of volcanoes and vineyards.

If we remember among several poets born in the 19th century: María Rodríguez Carballo, “La Melra”, Nicolás Gómez Lorenzo, “El Mocho” or Clemente Méndez Romero, “El Tuerto”. From that time, it belongs to Nicolás “El Mocho” of whom more décimas are preserved thanks to the fact that he printed many on pieces of string. Considering the continuity of the tradition, later poets stand out, such as Nicolás Gómez Hernández or Eudocio. To the latter, the oral tradition attributes a very famous décimas that reflects the healthy historical pique that we maintain with Sister Villa de Mazo:

«Mazo is a brave people
friendly, welcoming,
rancher, farmer,
very prosperous and flourishing.
But it is more Fuencaliente,
with its extensive vineyards.
That are clear signs
of what destiny wanted:
give Fuencaliente the wine
and Mazo the animals. “


If we focus on the field of poets – whose art consists of improvisation, typically sung and accompanied by verses – the municipality is the cradle of figures such as Eladio Martín Bienes, “Lalo” and Gabriel Yanes, better known as “Luis el Casayanero ”. The first is pleasantly remembered for its humorous spark, a showcase of Canarian grace, of cunning. Part of his versatile production is collected in sound publications promoted by his own son. At the same time, it was included in the anthology of versadores that was published by the Centro de la Cultura Popular Canaria. The participation of Lalo Martín in any popular celebration was taken as an event, assuming that he would brighten the party with his tremendous and effective occurrences, such as:

«Forgive me for the little,
but I’m going to leave:
I have to sing
less brain than a mosquito […] »


Lalo sang mainly in private celebrations, although he also toured multiple stages, starting from them laughter and thunderous applause, which constitute a public recognition of this human insignia of our culture. In all fairness, he was distinguished by giving his name to a street in his hometown: Las Indias. As far as Luis “el Casayanero” is respected, he did not lavish himself in public settings, but mainly in friendly meetings and / or linked to production. Despite this, he is admiringly remembered, both for his compositional finesse and for his melodious tune, of which no original sound records have been found. Many, however, still remember how he savored the words when launching that formula with which he used to announce himself before starting to improvise:

«In the cellar I wait for you,
you give a shout upon arrival,
let it be heard from the dwelling
by Luis el Casayanero […] »

Continuing the family saga of Luis “El Casayanero” are Joseíto Bienes and Yapci Bienes, his nephew and his grandnephew, respectively. Promoters of the Punto y Clave Group, they have been involved in numerous festivals and cultural spaces, and have disseminated this tradition in schools and in the media. Together they have released two CDs. Yapci has also recorded two other discographic works with Cuban repentistas: the first with Adolfo Alfonso and the second with Yordán Quintero, “Yayito”. Likewise, he is a typical member of the Canarian delegations in the international festivals of poetic improvisation, participating in many of those organized in the national territory and in several of those organized abroad, visiting Cuba, Mexico, Argentina, Portugal or Italy.
Apart from the verses alluded to here, who are the best known in Fuencaliente, among the neighbors there are and have been several decimistas with the capacity for improvisation, among them we will highlight: Gabriel Hernández, Miguel Martín, Luis Manuel Hernández Bienes and Victoria Díaz Bienes.
When dealing with décimas and verses, a reference to musical folklorization is required, a field in which the municipality should be highlighted. In fact, it has given birth to several outstanding point players for versatile improvisation: Aquilino Torres (accordion), Pedro Pérez (guitar), Luciano Díaz (guitar) or Rubén Medina (lute). To them, we must add two other musicians who, without being fuencalenteros by birth, are by experience and adoption: Irineo Acosta (lute) and José Álvaro Martín, “Chanito” (lute). In the field of musicalization and singing of memorial décimas, the figure of Carmen Rodríguez Carballo (accordionist and tonadist) and the work of Echentive, a careful collective in the compilation and preservation of traditional décimas, punteos and tunes, whose field work in this matter has been reflected in some of his record and bibliographic publications.
We also want to highlight the role of the municipality in the field of versatile associations. Fuencaliente is the cradle of the founders and headquarters of the first formalized associations of versadores in the region: Versadores isleños and Los Resucinados. From this last entity, projects of great relevance were implemented in the spheres of dissemination and didactics of the art of the versadores. This work has been continued by its successor, the current Asociación Palmera de versadores Punto y Clave.
Through it, actions of enormous positive impact have been consolidated, such as the Insular Workshop of Versadores de La Palma (Excmo. Cabildo Insular de La Palma) or the Project for the recovery and dissemination of the dot and the popular décimas in the Canary Islands (Canarias Cultura en Net). The work of this association was institutionally recognized in 2017, when it received from the Fuencaliente City Council the distinction of outstanding cultural group.
Some years ago, the Insular Workshop of Versadores de La Palma established one of its schools at CEIP Las Indias. Given the disappearance and / or weakening of many traditional channels of cultural transmission, an alternative window is thus consolidated. From there he looks to the future at the love that links Fuencaliente and the décimas, an ancestral love, reciprocated.

Foto: Domingo Méndez.