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Mari Trini, the lesbian icon of the Transition who sang to men “I am not the one you imagine”

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TO Mari Trini (Murcia, 1947) they called her “tomboy” because she was the first woman to appear on Spanish Television wearing jeans, and because she did not play the sensuality card on stage: she dressed soberly, simply, almost always in black and white, letting her thick, straight and straight blonde hair fall over her shoulders. The composer wanted her songs to be heard, not for anyone to turn their attention to other paths. She always ignored the fashion of the ye-yé girl and the miniskirt: her spirit breathed closer to Juliette Greco what of Karina. He liked big cars and, he said, that small skirt “wasn’t practical.” She wanted to climb the bull and take the wheel.

It wasn’t pizpireta, it wasn’t tinkling. It was enigmatic, and cultured, and somewhat dark: it gave the impression that it was worth much more for what it kept silent about.. That events, parties and funerals took place inside without ever coming to the surface. Mari Trini was, above all, the owner of her life, and to achieve this she had to weave carefully a wall of discretion around him: It was easy for the tabloids to once again put a woman’s love affairs as the center of her personality in the focus of debate.

Her physical modesty is an undeniable fact of her way of being, a very conscious choice, despite the fact that it was difficult for her to a certain misogynistic sector of the public went so far as to say that she was lame or that she had a wooden leg because she showed little of her knees: look, Mari Trini had two legs as beautiful as two suns that one day she managed to climb onto the table in an interview with Pedro Ruiz, when she finally felt comfortable and felt like herself, in friendship with him. journalist, whom he appreciated very much.

Much later, in 1984, she would pose naked on the cover of Interviú – in some images, by the way, natural and beautiful, where she did not play at hypersexualizing herself either, because she never needed to – although there are also those who say that, in addition To silence the evil tongues that questioned his potential defects, he did it to overcome a moment of economic difficulty. Nothing new under the sun: the system always suggesting women quote what interests them most. The body.

Cultured, mysterious and traveling

But Mari Trini was not a body, or not only that: her iron and dignified bones served, above all, to support a privileged and cultured brain that traveled around the world and soaked in different music and poems. The girl born in Caravaca de la Cruz composed her first song at the age of six. At seven, he was already playing the guitar; and, at nine, she suffered a long illness that forced her to remain in bed until she was fourteen.. “It was a kidney thing. I suffered from an infectious focus. They had to operate several times on my throat, head, ears… My mouth was somewhat twisted since then,” said the artist. That gesture of hers also earned her the insult of ” drunk” by her sexist detractors.

Many pointed out that those years locked up at home underpinned her withdrawn and somewhat unsociable character, but she did not allow it: “They say that I am surly, lonely, unfriendly… False. What I don’t lend myself to is invented romances, to publicity tricks, like other colleagues do,” he launched. Very true: throughout her life she was a hermetic woman personally and very little was known about her love, about her great love – which we will talk about later -. “My private life is mine,” she stressed. She had something mysterious, Mari Trini, something exquisite and unclassifiable.

At only 15 years old he met in Madrid Nicholas Rayfilmmaker of legendary Hollywood films such as Rebel Without a Cause: he was dazzled by her talent, became her representative and convinced her to move to London to continue training – at first it was with the idea of ​​shooting a film, but it was never made. -. There he met Roman Polanski, Paul McCartney, James Mason and Marlene Dietrich.and began to flirt with French songs, which is why he ended up in Paris recording his first three EPs.

I am not that one: feminist anthem

Upon his return to Spain, he sang for Aute and Patxi Andión, until he got tired of interpreting other people’s voices and tirelessly searched for his own: a job, you know, that takes one’s entire life. As they told her that women did not know how to compose, she castled herself, as Miguel Ángel Bargueño tells in his book The girls are rockers.

That’s why on his next album, Listen to meestablished herself as one of the fundamental Spanish-speaking singer-songwriters, signed by Hispavox. Because they told him “you can’t”. Here your I’m not that onean authentic feminist anthem released in 1971, with Franco very alive, with a national Catholicism implanted to the core.

I am not the one you imagine

a calm and simple lady

that one day you abandon and always forgive

that girl yes, no

That’s not me.

I am not the one you thought you were

the white dove that the water dances for you

who laughs at nothing, saying yes to everything

that girl yes, no

That’s not me

As the wonderful would say Bette Davis in Eve naked: “Fasten seat belts. “This is going to be a busy night.” Mari Trini came to disassociate herself, with this unforgettable lyric, from the conception that the average Spaniard had of the woman next door: he stated, defiantly, that I wasn’t going to be complacent or docile, I wasn’t going to wait for him or excuse his dalliances with other people., that he was not going to laugh at thanking him so easily. It’s much more interesting because this song emerges as a poisoned response to That is methe song sung by Juanita Reina -later, also for Isabel Pantoja– and composed of Quinterowhere the message was the opposite:

That is me

that dark carnation

that goes from corner to corner

turning back his head.

They call me Carmen the same way

what Lolilla what Pilar

with whatever they want to call me

I have to conform.

I am the one who has no name

the one that nobody is interested in

the downfall of men

the one who lies when she kisses.

It was not his case: Mari Trini did have a name, she had authorship, she had a word, and she never took refuge in the femme fatale archetype.. I didn’t want to be anyone’s “downfall” or go “from corner to corner.” It was already a lot of effort not to lose herself and let herself be carried away by the prevailing morality. She didn’t think she would “conform.” That’s why her song continues like this, shooting into the air:

You can never boast

having played

with truth, with love

of others

If you really love me, I’m not that anymore

that cowers in the face of a storm

fighting between waves finds the beach

that girl yes, no

That’s not me.

She made it clear: no one was going to play with her, no one was going to fight her. She wasn’t afraid. But she did have a desire to live and she seemed powerful, emancipated, even fearsome, as when at the end, she concludes: “But if you are only looking for adventure / friend, put guard over your entire house / I am not the one who loses hope.” Be careful with her.

love triangles

Among other hits, such as the famous a star in my gardenhighlights help herwhich was censored in Argentina for dealing with a love triangle, in an exercise of fraternity -or what today we would call sorority-:

help her

don’t contradict her

put your feet on the ground

without hardly realizing it

but don’t break his wings

today tinged with hope

help her

that I exist, don’t tell him

she is your lover, she is your friend

you chose it freely


I beg you to love her

and accept it as it is.

Safer still, and more revealing, Mari Trini is shown in diary of a woman:

With a woman’s diary I found

I picked it up, read it and cried.

his life was impossible

his disappointment lasted until the end

I read that and much more.

For a love of equality

bet and lost

and yet he left it.

He pretended to be happy in his family environment

and in an internal duel he wrote:

“Oh, god… oh, no… I can do more.”

I’m going to get out of this prison, from the world I joined

I am not happy, I am going to achieve my freedom, which is waiting for me

without fear.

Here the singer-songwriter refers to the complexity of the life of any woman, which, in reality, was the crudeness of everyone’s life. Efforts, disappointments, fight for an equal and dignified love, family hypocrisy, civil wars within herself. And always, always, the search for freedom.

Lesbian icon (secretly)

Regarding one of its great versions, Ne quitte pasMari Trini said that it was an “immense” issue because of the “humility of men before women”: “It is not normal for a man to say things like that, things like ‘let me be the shadow of your shadow, the shadow of your hand or the shadow of your dog’, is not normal. It is the height of weakness“, he alleged, in reference to sexist supremacy. She knew a lot about love. She thought that “love is a matter of intelligence,” of the ability to “dominate character”: “To fall in love you have to be intelligent, the other thing is like being in heat. And I say that to fall in love you need to be intelligent, not cultured, which is different.”

His love, his great love, was Claudette Loetitia Lanza, a French woman who had left her husband for the singer and who spent her entire life with her – she was his personal secretary for 40 years -, although They always carried it discreetly because Mari Trini’s family was very conservative and Catholic..

It is also known that the same Gloria Fuertes He fell in love with her and tried to court her, without success, but they became great friends. She even dedicated an unpublished poem to him. Although she never made her sexual status public, Mari Trini was a lesbian icon in her time. That’s how she told it Mili HernandezLGTB activist and bookseller from Berkana: in the first lesbian meetings in the death throes of Francoism, this artist’s songs were widely listened to because for them “Everything was very clear.”

On March 8, 2008, she received the “Fight for Equality” award granted by the Autonomous Community of Murcia, where she was born, “for portraying through her melodies the shortcomings, problems and inequalities of women.” She was one of the last events he attended. He died a year later, victim of lung cancer.

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