Debuting an Extraordinary Realization from Auteur Philip Gabbard and Fat Unicorn Society Studios
The Fictional Café is thrilled to join in the worldwide release today of Philip Gabbard’s stunning work, “La Llorona.” He wrote the story, wrote and orchestrated the music, and produced this video, which features a heartbreakingly beautiful duet. This truly incredible visual portrayal of the legendary La Llorona stars Angela Muniz in her debut performance, accompanied by Mexican recording artist Federico Valdez.
In just three minutes, “La Llorona” will take you on a journey through centuries of folklore and cultural heritage, revealed with a new artistic perspective on this age-old story. Take a listen, enjoy, peruse the lyrics and read the interview with Phil below. We would love for you to share your thoughts in the Comments section, and please share this post with your friends.
“La Llorona” Lyrics in English and Spanish
Singers Angela Muniz and Federico Valdez
FC: How did you become interested in the “La Llorona” story?
PG: Anyone who hears about the legend of La Llorona for the first time is unlikely to forget it. It’s a shocking tale that begs endless questioning and offers little resolution. It’s an immensely dark story, and its explanation is somehow a foreboding for senselessness.
When I first heard the tale, I thought it similar to parables such as Hansel and Gretel, Snow White or a Little Red Riding Hood. Those stories, for the most part, provided a lesson from some looming disaster that was narrowly escaped. “La Llorona” provides no such relief. It’s a tragedy and its lessons bend us toward an exploration of the darkest sides of love, pain, regret and remorse. It’s not a sugar-coated tale. It’s stuck with me from the very first time I heard it 30 years ago.
FC: You retell it so artfully in this production. Can you tell us a little about your creative process? How your initial interest blossomed from writing the story about her into creating and producing a short film?
PG: I had no intention of making sense of the La Llorona folklore. I was writing the backstory for a screenplay called “Every Saint, Every Sinner,” about a character, modeled on my own tragic tale, who was serving a self-imposed lifetime sentence of regret and remorse. As I considered how to tell this piece of my story, I thought back to the tale of La Llorona. I was thinking mostly along parallel lines between her and me, but also of all the senseless tragedies in life portrayed in literature and the world’s great, unanswered questions that torment us for all eternity. This is what I was attempting in my screenplay and in my new song.
In the song, many tormenting suppositions are offered: simple and haunting questions like, “What I have I done?” which is despair and regret, met with accusation from another point of view that plaintively demands, “What have you done?” and “Why have you abandoned me?” At tragedy’s most impassioned crossroads two stories appear: one the victim’s and the other the accuser’s. Two points of view. I wanted to tell that tale so I wrote a poem which became a song. And this song will undoubtedly serve as a cornerstone in the soundtrack for my movie, once made.
FC: Your visual storytelling is compelling. How did your engagement with the two actors come about?
PG: I’m fortunate, as a creative, to have built my Fat Unicorn Studios on the El Paso/Juarez, Mexico border, which attracts diverse creative talents who are eager to learn from me and contribute in return. My vision for the La Llorona tale is as one detail of a greater story, and to take what was established in folklore and modernize it while keeping it as culturally relevant as the original legend. I recognize I’m telling a story about disparate aspects of life – death, despair, cultural diversity – all the while weaving a contemporary, relatable experience for audiences, regardless of language. I feel the work provides an opportunity for continued conversations – and questions – about the commonalities we all experience when tragedy strikes. A feeling about the answers to life’s greatest questions which are never provided . . . and in understanding that, how our lessons are learned.
The song was a collaborative experience that just kept getting better as we progressed from writing to composition. The melody inspired us to keep trekking forward and we were soon fast-tracking our video production to meet our deadline for the musical release. Our idea, as a production company, was to release the song and video to the world together with the hope of stirring interest in our greater aspirations: not just making our movie, but drawing attention to our other stories as well, and moreover to inspire other creatives to share their projects with us to consider for future collaborations.
FC: Those are all wonderful goals. Tell us a little about yourself, your books, your work.
PG: I’m a thinker, a creator, a writer, a producer of audio and video works for the public at large. I’ve published two books, THISday and Thrivation, and hope to write more, make more movies, and always be a creative mentor to many. [more]
My work? Not knowing what comes next is often a universal sentiment. It’s what being creative truly means to me. We make what we feel, and we share it with as many people as we can. It’s beautiful.