A duende is a goblin-like mythological creature from Iberian, Latin American and Filipino folklore. An apparent origin of the word is ‘duen de casa’, which means ‘owner of the house’.
‘In Hispanic folklore of Mexico and the American Southwest, duendes are known as gnome like creatures who live inside the walls of homes, especially in the bedroom walls of young children. They attempt to clip the toenails of unkempt children, often leading to the mistaken removal of entire toes. They are also known for taking items from young children. They have also been able to barter with the mother of young children so that they can take the child and have them to eat. They appear at night when children are at play with a ball, and watch the children and later make their appearance and confront the children.
Filipinos also believe in Dwende, which frequently live in rocks and caves, old trees, unvisited and dark parts of houses or in ant hills where they are called nuno sa punso (old man of the mound). They are either categorized as good or evil depending on their colour, white or black, respectively, and often play with children.’
taken from – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duende_(mythology)
Federico García Lorca’s El duende
Federico García Lorca described El duende as the spirit of evocation. It is an internal physical/emotional response to music that gives you chills, or makes you smile or cry as a reaction to an expressive artistic performance. Lorca believed Folk music, especially flamenco, embodied an authenticity and deep richness of culture.
‘The duende is a demonic earth spirit who helps the artist see the limitations of intelligence, reminding them that “ants could eat him or that a great arsenic lobster could fall suddenly on his head”; who brings the artist face-to-face with death, and who helps them create and communicate memorable, spine-chilling art. The artist has to battle the duende skillfully, “on the rim of the well”, in “hand-to-hand combat”. The duende seizes not only the performer but also the audience, creating conditions where art can be understood spontaneously with little, if any, conscious effort. It is, in Lorca’s words, “a sort of corkscrew that can get art into the sensibility of an audience… the very dearest thing that life can offer the intellectual.” The critic Brook Zern has written, of a performance of someone with duende, “it dilates the mind’s eye, so that the intensity becomes almost unendurable… There is a quality of first-timeness, of reality so heightened and exaggerated that it becomes unreal…”
Lorca writes: “The duende, then, is a power, not a work. It is a struggle, not a thought. I have heard an old maestro of the guitar say, ‘The duende is not in the throat; the duende climbs up inside you, from the soles of the feet.’ Meaning this: it is not a question of ability, but of true, living style, of blood, of the most ancient culture, of spontaneous creation.”. He suggests, “everything that has black sounds in it, has duende. [i.e. emotional ‘darkness’]’
taken from – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duende_(art)