Manolo Villalba is one of the recent Lanza Artesanos in the Canary Islands
"The Shepherd's leap is our
probably in the genes"
"The Canarians are clever, they jump with the ease of a goat in inaccessible, rocky areas and dangerous ravines around - it's hard to believe". Wrote this anno 1455 Alvise because cada Mosto in the "Libro da primera navigatione per l ´ Oceano" on the Salto del Pastor. To this day, residents of the Canary Islands as once the goat herders with the Lance through the often impassable terrain - Manolo Villalba on La Palma is one of them jumping. Also, he is one of the very few craftsmen of the archipelago, Yet the art of making of Lance for the shepherds leap master. A visit to his workshop in El Paso Manolo gave us some stories about the Lanzas and the Salto del Pastor told ...
Manolo Villalba is ´ n ´ roll band on La Palma as a frontman of the rock Tihuya Cats known. That of Ibrahim builds rods for the shepherds leap, only a few know. The 47 manufactures the Lanza on traditional art with the same materials and tools such as the ancients. Manolo reported, He is one of the last Lance in the Canary Islands today:
I've just this arts and crafts 25 Years by the ancients learned, But today, many are of them no longer with us, and the others are now so old, that they no longer work. Through my training, I understood as a Carpenter quickly, What is at stake in making Lance, because I knew, How to work with wood and with the hands. Because I'm also blacksmith, can I produce even the tip of the Lance.
Lanza, Cooking Red, Astia, Lata, Verdon or ASTA are called the rods for the shepherds crack depending on the Canary Islands. But the basic structure is always the same, and according to Manolo depends above all on the right ingredients:
Usually I use the Canary pine wood, but also pine from Honduras, America and some of the European Pine work. It is very important, that the grain runs as closely as possible and uniformly. Because the wood must be stable and at the same time slightly elastic - after you play del Pastor with his life .. in Salto.
However, there are at the Salto del Pastor very few accidents. In the history of the sport, the natives of the Canary Islands in hats and save by goats in the rugged terrain "invented", crashed only a few jumper, tells Manolo:
I'm going to guess, that in all the time one is killed in an accident by a hundred Saltadores, nothing more. And the number of deaths is very low. There used to be logically proportionally more accidents, because once more people working every day in the mountains - because the risk was much greater. That not much happened, is because, that the Canarian shepherd jump from small on learn - I also. On the Canary Islands and on La Palma, the inhabitants have always a short or long Lance, When they go on land, For example, hiking or almond Search ... The specialists are, of course, the goat herders in the mountains. It belongs to our culture, and it is us for many centuries in the genes, because many of us are descended from the native (laughs). Because you can determine, that inhabitants of the Canary Islands more quickly learn the Salto del Pastorn as tom example people from the Spanish mainland or the rest of Europe.
You can learn the shepherds leap today for example in courses, that discourages the Canarian Association of the Salto del Pastor. It takes approximately a week according to Manolo for the basic knowledge, but until we really dominated not harmless sports, years in the country:
You have to practice and get the feeling, how it is during the take-off, and what to do with your hands. Then the Salto doesn't hurt also. A Lanza must be about one metre higher usually than the person - usually an adult with a three-metre jump Lance begins, that is true for all sorts of things. Of course one can overcome greater heights, If the rod is longer. That's why I make the Lanza always depending on the purpose and the weight of the respective jumpers. I've seen already jumps, where a Saltador seven meters with a 3,60 Meters long Lanza has managed!
Despite such enormous Hopper's not lusted the Shepherd Knight after fame and glory. There are though Federación del Salto del Pastor Canaria, but she want to maintain merely the tradition of quick transportation on the steep slope. According to Manolo the goal is not the official competition:
The people in the scene of the Salto del Pastor don't want, that the Shepherd jumping is a sport such as football or athletics. It's about, to obtain an essential piece of our history. It is to be a traditional sport, which makes us just fun, and where it's not about competition.
And so there are meeting on the various islands of the Canary Islands time and again, which then arrive the Saltadores of all islets. It is always exciting for the Springer. Reason: There used to be little communication, and so has become too Brinco Canaria called sports on the Canary archipelago developed differently, explains Manolo:
Each island has its specificity in looking at the shapes of the Lance tip, the diameter of the rod or the nature of the jump. At our meetings, we go into the mountains. From there is bound down in the respective venue of the event, then there's a nice meal and then is gefachsimpelt under Saltadores of all ages.
This of course also the prices for the lances are the language. Manolo knows there:
A small, between 1,80 and 2 Meters long Lance is there with me depending on the material starting from the 60 Euro, the 3 M long cost between 110 and 170 Euro. The Lanza to be longer, It is more expensive, particularly, because it is then more difficult, finding the right wood. Lances from the Canarian pine are of course particularly expensive. But sometimes I find that, If grubbing on La Palma, and I get the permission from the environmental protection agency, to find me a suitable tree. But basically I'm trying, my prices as low as possible to keep, because the majority of my clients are goat herders and people, the lances for their work need - and you can spend not much. On the other islands of the Canary Islands has to be paid, however, for a stick up to 350 Euro...
Because Manolo of one last lances craftsmen on the Canary Islands, of course he is showered with orders. But he can not take all, because he reserved a good part of his time to music and restored also old furniture and doors, where he the Canary Islands pine heartwood referred to specialize in working with the tea. Who the Carpenter, Cutler, Restaurateur and musician wants to meet me, best goes on a Concert of the Tihuya Cats, This year celebrate their 10th anniversary. The editorial staff of La Palma 24 journals thank the busy man from El Paso, that he took the time for an interview!
More information about the Salto del Pastor: