Imagine we don’t’ know anything about it… can you describe your profession? I like to define myself as a luthier. My trade is ocarinera, I am a Master Craftsworker in Majorcan ocarina. Ocarinas are small wind musical instruments made out of clay that belong to the family of globular flutes. The combination of the four elements: air, soil, water and fire climaxes in the miraculous birth of an ocarina. It is a creative profession. Every ocarina has its own personality since it is covered with my feelings, dreams and hopes. The most magical moment is when the clay becomes music.
What materials do you use? In order to create a Majorcan ocarina, I use Majorcan clay form Villafranca, rain water, wooden instruments for its shaping and a gas oven and for the finishing, engobes, organic matter along with all the love I put in the making of each ocarina.
Who is you “ideal client’s profile? Musicians, music students and, in general, people who are sensitive to music and to the wind instruments sounds.
You chose to be a craftsman. How did this decision appear to be an evidence to you? I studied guitar in the Conservatory of Palma and with private tutors. Later on I participated in specialized courses on pottery and modelling. My love for Fine Arts made me study graphic design in Majorca, but when I was in the second year of my studies they stopped offering these classes in Majorca cutting short what would have been five years of studying. As I needed any kind of help to brush off all the frustration I felt for not being able to finish my studies. So someone recommended to hava a meeting with my Mentor Benet Mas as he was a very good self-taught therapist. Finally at the end he invited me to participate in the beautiful project of the Majorcan ocarina; that is why I can say that “I did not chose the ocarina, the ocarina chose me”.The best moment of my career was when the creation of The Sounds of the Earth project came true, which was presentated in Algaida (Majorca) on August the 12th 2012. At this gathering, we were able to enjoy a documentary about the history and the evolution of the ocarina, made by the members of the association, as well as a concert for ocarinas and percussion instruments made of clay.
Would you define your job a passion? What is the best moment you had in your job? On one hand, you need musical talent; on the other hand you have to be skilful and accurate with clay as well as sensitive with this material. Furthermore, you need to have a predisposition, be committed, be passionate and be full of unconditional love.
What role do “talent”, “know-how” and “creativity” play in your profession? Experience brings perfection to the ocarina. I have tried many different techniques such as burnishing, neriage, color englobes, pit firing … , but I have always honoured the traditional ocarina because it is the one that people are always demanding. Actually, my most important marketing techniques have been the creation of a web page (www.carmeocarina.com), social networks, the association The Sounds of the Earth, diffusion of the ocarina and concerts, several awards and acknowledgements, the Pottery Fair (Marratxí), exhibitions, the creation and viewing of the documentary about the ocarina. All of the above are essential for people to know about the ocarina and to keep it from disappearing.
The Sounds of the Earth is an association which main goal is to protect and make people know about a tiny voice, which, along with many others, is part of our Majorcan culture. This tiny voice it is not made out of words, but of the sweet sounds of the Majorcan ocarina. The Sounds of the Earth’s aim is to recover and preserve the Majorcan ocarina as a part of our historic, musical, cultural ethnographic and artisanal heritage. According to the ancient people, when the stars rolled around in the ether, they produced a harmonic sound which was also deafening, although humans couldn’t hear because they were so used to it since birth and they identified it with silence. Within this silence, men and women have learned to listen to other sounds; the sounds of the Earth, the sounds of nature, which humans have copied by mixing earth with water and kneading clay with their own hands to later have their creations be bitten by the mouth of fire. Breath then becomes the tool to produce sweet and magic sounds. In the word of Carmen Hermoso, ocarinas need the four classic elements that, according to the ancient people, were the four known states of matter: earth, water, fire and air.
Because of all the above, our imagination makes us believe that we are in front of essentially magical instruments that bring us closer to the objects our ancestors created by playing around with wood, rocks and clay. The Majorcan ocarina produces the sound of the earth, that becomes the voice, although small, of the men and women of our roots. The Sounds of the Earth Association would love to keep this voice going; because to know something makes us to love it, we would love to have people know about the ocarina.
- To restore and preserve the Majorcan ocarina as a part of the historic, musical, cultural, ethnographic and artisanal heritage.
- To promote the Majorcan ocarina in every social scope in the Balearic Islands, especially in schools and among children and young people.
- To spread the Majorcan ocarina as a versatile instrument.
- To spread the craft of the Majorcan ocarina.
- To create and promote music bands of ocarinas.
- To create and disseminate all bibliography related to ocarinas in general and particularly to the Majorcan ones (historical and ethnographic studies, music scores, photographs, collections, audiovisual resources, pedagogic methodologies etc.
- To recover old ocarinas and get new ones and to classify them and start a collection.
To achieve all of the mentioned objectives some activities will be planned:
- Pedagogic activities for children in schools and music schools.
- Diffusion activities for general audiences (workshops, lectures, talks, seminars, exhibitions, etc.
- Publishing of books and pamphlets about ocarinas.
- Producing documentaries about the making, the history, the performances and other aspects of the ocarina.
- Creation of an ocarina concert circuit.
- Demonstration and diffusion of the artisanal making of the Majorcan ocarina.
- Creation of an ocarina museum.
And what about innovation, what are the changes since you started? Do you use new materials, tools, processes, marketing.What’s the impact of innovation on your performances? How could your profession be more innovative? My teacher Benet unexpectedly introduced me to the world of the ocarina. I started in January 1987 and by August, I was totally immersed in it.
Where and how long did you train before you were ready for creating your business? Imagine that you want to invite young generations to choose your profession, what would be your message to them? The ocarina is a beautiful, artisanal instrument which produces such a spiritual sound that it invites you to love music, your roots and your cultural heritage.
In Conclusion, describe a meaningful experience or a personal reflection that you would like to share with us and explain why. In 30 years, I have made many ocarinas, but none of them were the same because they were all created at different moments of my life and in each I put my feelings, my emotions and my dreams. That is why every single ocarina came out as unique and unrepeatable. All of them helped me to evolve as a person and as a professional.