"Always enjoy the beauty of chess, no matter your level"

by ChessBase
1/18/2020 – Chilean singer Juga die Prima has enriched the music world with chess motifs and the chess world with her music. On the occasion of their visit to the Munich Chess Foundation, there was an opportunity for an interview. Franziska Kurz spoke to the musician. | Photos: Munich Chess Academy

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Press release

A brilliant sample of her skills and incredibly wide repertoire was given at the annual event of the Munich Chess Foundation for Friends and Sponsors on October 18, 2019, by the artist Juga di Prima, already famous in South America.

This versatile songwriter from Chile is rocking the Chess World with her James Bond style Chess songs & music videos, and is crazy about German culture: She has been inspired by Marlene Dietrich, and studied at the Music Academy romantic German composers.

Following, she gave more insights of her wide repertoire, from Polynesian Haka and songs inspired on her experiences living at Easter Island to Edith Piaf’s La vie en rose.

At the moment over 750,000 views on YouTube for the song "Tactical" 

The highlight for Munich‘s gathered chess community were of course her chess songs, starting with her celebrated Oh Capablanca, which she is going to perform at the first edition of European Golden Pawn Chess Awards, in November at Hotel Paris, Monte Carlo (Monaco).

Her Chess music videos are so unique they have been praised by the Chess Elite and fans alike, and received the Goodwill Ambassador for artistic values of Chess Award.

Juga has recently developed a Lecture called Chess & Music: Emotions and Symbols explore through songs, which has been presented already at Hungarian National Gallery, Global Chess Festival and the Rotary Club International München. She also released a big Chess & Music contest, in partnership with Chess.com. 

With each song, Juga told a story about the historical positions she showed at the chessboard, and answered questions from the audience about the chess references in the lyrics or videos shown on the canvas.

Juga


Interview with Juga di Prima

Talking to her after the event, we found out some more about her: 

You grew up in Chile and started to study popular singing in your early teenage days — where did that passion come from? Does your family have a tradition in singing or making music?

Ever since I was 4 years old, I knew I would be a composer and singer! I started taking singing lessons when I was 13, and my natural style was Blues — Classical Rock.

Then my style grew wider while I studied music composing at the Academy (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile), where I was the first woman to ever graduate from that career.

I am the only artist in my family, though my grandfather was a French-Italian baritone. Unfortunately, I met him only at his funeral, but that's another story...

When hearing your songs of your last album Maururu (2016), the influence of the traditional Polynesian music is not to be overheard. You lived at Easter Island for two years, and were obviously deeply touched by spirit and music of the place. 

How was your first contact with the Polynesian culture and music?

I visited when I was a teenager, on the way back from Tahiti, with my family. I felt such a strong, unexplainable connection with that land, the volcanoes, the ocean, and the symbols that I felt that someday I had to live there and get to know the rapa nui Polynesian culture from inside. So I did. In 2009, after finishing my composing studies. I got a one way ticket and went to record my first album on a studio of the Island. I fell in love with the culture and stayed there, composing and collaborating with local musicians. After I left, I returned several times to develop more musical and cultural projects. 

You are a well known artist in the chess world for mixing music and chess.
In an interview with SKY News in 2018 you said that chess is a universal language for you with its own poetry. How do you come to this conclusion? 

Chess is a universal language. There are about 500,000,000 chess players in the world! Since Chess is still infinite to the human mind, it hasn't changed its rules since more than 500 years. That means you can sit on any corner of the world with a chess board and without words play and share deep thoughts with anyone, no matter the gender, age, origin. Our history as humankind can be told through chess...

In your song OH CAPABLANCA you give an insight of the emotions and thoughts during a chess game — especially in a game, where the opponent has a higher rank and is more experienced. Can you tell me more about the story behind the song?

"Oh Capablanca" describes my emotional voyage through a twisted chess game, in which I suffered from over-optimism.

Right after the game, I wrote this song to relieve my grief for losing a "winning" position, which later I analysed only to find out that it was not winning at all!

"Oh Capablanca" was born in the middle of a classical tournament I played in Rome in December last year. It was the fifth round and I really liked my position.

My pieces were strong and I believed I had an irresistible attack. Suddenly, I realized I allowed counter play. I got into time trouble, it all happened very fast...I was alone and finished the game feeling I didn't understand Chess at all. 

Writing this song really helped me to express my frustration. It made me feel much better. 

What advice would you give to women who want to join the world of chess?

Chess has no gender. So play as much as possible, with men and women, with anyone who plays better than you, even if you lose a lot, you will learn much faster.

There is still a big gap in the level, but that is because of the cultural context of women in science and sports throughout history.

We must always enjoy the beauty of chess, no matter your level. As Judit Polgar, the best woman chess player in history, says: Chess Connects Us!

Thank you, Juga, for your time and your answers!


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