Mauricio Aznar, leader of Más Birras, the unknown Quixote of Spanish music | Culture

Only idealists lose bets for causes more important than victory. She sang it in Bet on rock'n'roll Mauricio Aznar, leader of the Zaragoza band Más Birras, and Don Quixote proclaimed it mounted on his horse: “I, bowed to my star, go along the narrow path of knight-errantry, for whose exercise I despise the estate, but do not honor it.” ”. “Mauricio was a great romantic, like a Don Quixote,” says Javier Macipe, director of The blue star, the film that is garnering very good reviews about a musical figure barely known in Spain outside of music-loving circles, but who, as it is colloquially said in the field of songs, was a musician among musicians, one of those artists who, without need To succeed, he served as an example to other professional colleagues due to his attitude and sensitivity.

paraphrasing Bet on rock'n'roll, Perhaps betting on Mauricio Aznar was betting on defeat, but the fact that he was the leader of one of the most beloved and abused Spanish rock bands by the industry never failed to enlighten those who knew him, even those who did so after he died at the age of 36 from an overdose on October 2, 2000. One of the latter was the director of The blue star “The music of Más Birras accompanied me from the cradle, but my clearest memory of Mauricio is the day he died. He was 13 years old and I realized the tragedy that had happened in the city,” explains Macipe, also from Zaragoza like Aznar. “I felt great admiration and magnetism for his figure a week after his death. “I accompanied my sister to a concert and saw a giant photograph of him backstage and it impacted me forever.”

That admiration and magnetism have led him almost 25 years later to film his most ambitious film project: a story that focuses on the little-known trip that the musician made to Argentina in the late nineties in search of artistic muses and in order to also get away from his addictions to drugs and alcohol in Zaragoza, to which he ended up succumbing upon his return to Spain. The blue star It has accumulated some 19,600 viewers since its premiere on February 23. And, this weekend, it registered 186 tickets sold for each theater where it was screened, the third best average of the entire national billboard, according to data from the specialized consulting firm ComScore.

“Mauricio was a very interesting and necessary figure. He laid the paving stones for the paths of encounter with other cultures and that others, later, have traveled,” explains Jairo Zavala, artistically known as Depedro.

Zavala made the trip along the Panamericana and explored the roots of Latin folklore almost two decades after a musician who had become a reference in the world did so. rock'n'roll and the rockabilly from Zaragoza. “He lived an incredible evolution, completely introducing himself into the folklore of the Southern Cone. To me she was surprising and magical. I saw him play a lot of times in a bar in Las Delicias, in my neighborhood of Zaragoza, and then with his Almagato project,” says Juan Aguirre, who with Amaral was encouraged in the 21st century to embark on that journey of Latin roots that have Also done by people like Xoel López or Rozalén.

From left to right, the actor Pepe Lorente and the director Javier Macipe, in the Ochoymedio bookstore in Madrid. Samuel Sanchez

Don Quixote said that “retiring is not fleeing.” For this reason, Mauricio Aznar's journey is an important journey in Spain: that of a pop-rock artist who breaks with his own mold for a personal search that is more ambitious in the human than in the commercial. “He had genius and charisma. It was very easy to identify with him because he lived music in a very passionate way,” confesses Aguirre, who met him one day when he was leaving school, invited him to a beer and gave him advice so that he would never stop playing. With his toupee, leather jacket, jeans and pointed boots, the leader of Más Birras said that the rock'n'roll It was “a way of life”, but, anguished by existence and addicted to drugs, he found another, calmer and brighter way on the other side of the world with an unknown indigenous family while he discovered the secrets of the chacarera, a dance and song performed traditionally with guitar, violin and bass drum.

With a simple and absorbing style, the film's story moves away from the typical biopics to immerse the viewer in the beautiful journey of personal search of a musician who did not long to be famous, but rather to connect with existence. A directionless idealist who felt that, outside of the excesses of rock, there was something mystical and real in the music of Atahualpa Yupanqui and, therefore, he traveled to the Argentine Atahualpa region with the idea of ​​meeting him. However, along the way, he ran into Don Carlos Carbajal, an elderly musician who was in poor times, who welcomed him into his family and taught him the mysteries of the folklore of the province of Santiago del Estero. A family that is largely included in the distribution of The blue star

“When I began to document myself, I began to experience wonderful things like taking the same trip that Mauricio did and meeting the Carbajal family,” says Macipe, who was able to follow in the musician's footsteps thanks to the letters he sent to his girlfriend and became friend of the same family who inspired the singer and composer of Más Birras. The actor Pepe Lorente, another Zaragoza native, plays the role of Mauricio. “It was a trip of total immersion,” explains the actor, who during filming learned to sing and play the guitar and also traveled to Argentina accompanied by Macipe. “I built a relationship with the brother of Carlos Carbajal, who died, like the one Carlos and Mauricio themselves had, a relationship between a Quixote and a Sancho,” says Lorente.

An image of 'The Blue Star', with the characters of Don Carlos Carbajal (left) and Mauricio Aznar.
An image of 'The Blue Star', with the characters of Don Carlos Carbajal (left) and Mauricio Aznar.

The blue star was born at the initiative of Mauricio Aznar's mother, Inge Müller. Carlos Saura had the idea of ​​bringing the life of Aznar and Más Birras to the screen, but he never got along with his mother. This was not the case with Macipe, who, after including a song by the musician in his first short film, received an invitation from his mother. “I went to her house as if I were going to Elvis's mother's house,” the director says with a smile. She told him Saura's idea and invited him to take charge. It took Macipe ten years to see himself “capable.” “What worried me most was making a film that wasn't just for fans. I wanted to talk about the universal artist that Mauricio represents. All the time I wanted to separate myself from my admiration for him,” he explains.

The legacy of Más Birras' music has survived to this day as a hidden treasure for the general public. They were not successful, but they reached the hearts of many rock lovers, including Enrique Bunbury, who covered them with Héroes de Silencio Bet on rock'n'roll, quite a hymn that Aznar composed with Gabriel Sopeña. Bunbury makes a cameo in the film, leaving his voice on an answering machine in which he asks Aznar for permission to cover his song. However, The blue star reflects on the value of creation beyond the dictates of the word triumph. For this reason, the story also focuses on Mauricio's return to Zaragoza, when he tried to develop his new passion for Argentine folklore and it turned against him: no one understood him, not even his Más Birras fans.

“It was a shame,” says Jairo Zavala. “He was a very intelligent guy and found ancestral rhythms in a magical way and could not develop it in Spain. I would have loved to have met him and to have had a conversation in which to stay with his wonderful capacity for analysis and absorption,” he adds. Added to this frustration was a tragedy: his older brother died, to whom he was very close and who introduced him to the rock'n'roll. The loss of him led her to relapse into drugs until he was found dead of an overdose in his apartment. “We say a lot that this film is a karate Kid musical because of what it has as an inner world. Because it is, at its core, the story of how someone is searching for the light and, in the end, the life of this anonymous guy influences others,” says Macipe. An anonymous uncle, a musical idealist who, like Don Quixote, lost his bet, but, like the ingenious gentleman, was able to say: “I know who I am.”

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