Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Fajardo Heritage.... Musical and Cultural

Last week on February 26, while drinking my morning coffee, I felt compelled to do some research on my Fajardo ancestry. The week before I had written about Anthony Bourdain's trip to Spain and his interview with the flamencos. I was still pondering their definition of "Duende." I was listening to "El Duende Flamenco de Paco de Lucia" to see if I could gain insight into what the word "Duende" meant to Paco, the most famous of Flamenco guitarists.

In my research I found that Paco was from Algeciras, Andalucia, Spain. Andalucia being the most populous and the second largest of the 17 autonomous communities in Spain. Then I found a castle in Andalucia called "Castillo de los Fajardo." I will tell you more about the Castle later.

Much of the information was in Spanish but I felt like I was being guided by spirit to dig deeper. I took a break to get more coffee and rest my brain. I opened the CNN website to read a little morning news and discovered that Paco de Lucia had died of a heart attack that morning. What are the chances that I would be listening to his music and researching the region of Spain where he was born on the morning of his death? I was really blown away by the synchronicity. As I read on, I realized Flamenco originated in Andalucia, as was bull fighting.
This photo of Paco de Lucia is haunting
to me because he looks so much like my father. 
Click here to see music by ----> Paco de Lucia

My father, Felipe Montoya Fajardo, at the age of 80.

The Meaning of "Duende"

The original meaning of duende is a fairy or goblin-like creature in Spanish mythology. The artistic term was derived, in the spirit of the fairy, as a mysterious power that everyone senses, not everyone has and no one can explain.

Duende is equal parts irrationality, earthiness, heightened awareness of death and a dash of the diabolical. It's an innate power... not requiring work or thought. It lives within, only requiring spontaneity that allows one to feel connected through one's DNA to become aware of their bitter root existence. The place where pain is felt, has no explanation yet allows us to create music, art, poetry, and drama. It is the craving to live the life of a genuine artist, no matter the cost.

Duende is an introspective emotion that materializes only when one can let go of frustrations and the need for perfection, allowing raw art to infuse the soul. Duende-fueled artists and performers capture worlds of passion, energy and artistic excellence in climatic shows of spirit while living on the edge.

For a musician, duende means playing your guitar until your fingers bleed, taking yourself as far as you can go and then going one step further. As an artist, it means dipping your paintbrush into your soul and painting your truth on a canvas, baring your soul to the world. It is a heightened state of authentic emotion, expression and authenticity that creates the mysterious power to move others to tears. A woman with duende can dance and she is magical. Yet a performer with technical skills with a lack of the invisible presence of this unexplainable force will leave his audience unmoved.

To say a person has duende is the highest compliment.

So the story goes....

The Fajardo family originally came from Ortigueira, a seaport in the province of Coruna, Galicia in the northwest of Spain. The Fajardos arrived in the Kingdom of Murcia during the invasion by Ferdinand II de Aragón between 1296 and 1304. During this era, Spain had not yet become one country, it was comprised of a number of kingdoms. While the Fajardo dynasty began to rise in power during the 13th century, the height of power and influence for the Fajardo Dynasty was from the 15th to 16th century at which time they were not only in power of Andalucia, they had also taken over Murcia as well.

In 1469 Spain was united by the marriage of Isabella de Castile and Ferdinand II de Aragón. The Catholic Monarchs conquered Granada, expelling the gypsies who had arrived in Andalucia around the year 1425. Along with the Jews and the Moors, they were persecuted in the Spanish Inquisition. At that time the Catholic Monarchs established the basis of the modern state:
  • One True Faith of Catholicism 
  • One Army 
  • One Territory 
Upon the Catholic Monarchs ascent and successful defeat they consolidated their power by rewarding their supporters, among them was the Fajardo Dynasty. The Fajardos played an important roll as late as the 19th century.

On October 15, 1507 "Marquis de los Vélez" was the title was given to the Spanish Military Fajardo family by Queen Joanna I de Castile. Pedro Fajardo, the oldest son of Luisa Fajardo y Manrique was the first to hold the title.

The Fajardo Crest Earned October 15, 1507 

The name Fajardo is frequently seen throughout the regions of Andalucia and Murcia, linked with castles, cathedrals and various municipalities all showing the importance of the Fajardo Dynasty and the role played in shaping the region's history. I mentioned earlier that my search began by finding a photo of the "Castillo de los Fajardo." It took me days to discover that it was built for Pedro Fajardo when he was appointed the first "Marqués de los Vélez" and Governor of the kingdom of Murcia by the Catholic Monarchs, Isabella and Ferdinand. (Yeah, Isabella and Ferdinand and I are now on a first name basis)
Castillo de los Fajardo 

This is a fortress in Murcia that is still owned by the Fajardo
Fortuezela Fajardo

List of "Marquises of los Vélez"
1st Marqués de los Vélez - Pedro Fajardo y Chacón
2nd Marqués de los Vélez - Luis Fajardo y de la Cueva
3rd Marqués de los Vélez - Pedro Fajardo y Fernández de Córdoba
4th Marqués de los Vélez - Luis Fajardo y Requeséns
5th Marqués de los Vélez - Pedro Fajardo y Pimentel
6th Marqués de los Vélez - Fernando Fajardo y Álvarez de Toledo
7th Marqués de los Vélez - María Teresa Fajardo y Álvarez de Toledo
8th Marqués de los Vélez and 9th Duchess of Montalto - Catalina Moncada de Aragón y Fajardo

So... with that being said... let me back up a bit. A couple of years ago my brother, Phillip and I did a little genealogy research.... and I do mean a little. We discovered that both our mother's name (Padilla) and our father's name (Fajardo) are Sephardic Jewish surnames. The word Sephardic comes from Sefarad, Hebrew for Spain. We even did DNA testing. I personally spent a couple of years feeling like I had to do something to undo the wrong, appalled by the infamous Spanish Inquisition of the 15th Century, when the "Reyes Catolicos" (Catholic Royalty) conquered Spain and ordered Spanish Jews to convert to Catholicism or leave the country or face execution without trial. I was taking it very personal. I had personally lost ownership of my home more than once in circumstances beyond my control and then just in the last couple of years, I have been experiencing the gentrification of my city, Austin, Texas. I didn't even own a home by this time. I sold my last house 7 years ago and a month later I was laid off from my job of 15 yrs. There is no financing available for fifty-something year old, self-employed artists. I rented a run down house, personally spent thousands of dollars remodeling. I spent months creating customized mosaics in the bathroom and kitchen with Italian and Spanish tile and wood floors throughout. I thought I would be there for a while. I was expelled after 2 yrs., when my lease was up. The landlord was able to doubled the rent with my artistic renovations.This issue was at the core of my being! I had to leave my beloved Austin for 6 months to regroup. I was feeling the pain of the Spanish Jews that had 3 months to leave Spain and were ordered to take no gold, never to return!

Then on February 11 (last month) I was ecstatic that the Spanish government announced it would grant citizenship to the descendants of Sephardic Jews... okay .... it has been 500 years .... but I suppose better late than never. Right? But wait, now I have discovered that the Fajardo Dynasty was in cahoots with Isabella and Ferdinand... That is just too weird! Hummmm..... what is the bible quote about the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children's children, to the third and the fourth generation.

...and on that note...Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. It is a reminder of human mortality, and as a sign of mourning and repentance to God. The ashes used are typically gathered from the burning of the palms from the previous year's Palm Sunday.

I am guessing yesterday many of you celebrated Fat Tuesday. One of the most notable celebrations being in New Orleans. Well guess what, Lgio Fajardo was the first Fajardo to arrive in the US and he landed in New Orleans in 1825.

I am taking a break.... these darn Fajardos are wearing me out!


  1. I'm looking forward to the day when I can go to Spain on behalf of my ancestors and accept that apology from the Spanish Government for the Inquisition, and hopefully the timing will be right that I can make the trip to Jerusalem to fulfill the prophecy written by the Prophet Obadiah in 840 BC (Obadiah verses 20-21) says that "People from Israel who once were forced to leave their homes, will take the land of the Canaanites, all the way to Zerephath. People from Judah who once were forced to leave Jerusalem and live in Sepharad (Spain) will take back the cities of southern Judah. Powerful warriors will go up to Mount Zion, where they will rule the people living on Edom's mountains. And the Kingdom will belong to the Lord Jesus Christ." Sounds like some Fajardos to me...!!! Phillip Fajardo

  2. I have heard that we have Jewish blood; so this is very interesting.
    Thank you for sharing.

  3. My Great Grandfather's Name is Patricinio Fajardo and he married my Great Grandmother Abelina Duran. I may have his name spelled incorrectly; but it was spelled differently in the census records. They are both buried in the Santa Rosa, NM Cemetery. I would like to know if we are Related. My Father is Rolando Sena, his mother is Flora Fajardo Sena.

  4. Oh yes, we are related Lynda! As a matter of fact just yesterday I found Abelina in my mother's family tree! I will get back with you on this when I figure it all out.

  5. Lynda your great-grandfather and my grandfather were brothers! My grandfather was Doroteo Fajardo.

    1. My brother Daniel Fajardo just found out that the fajardo's were rabbis of the sinagogue in Guadalajara. My grandpa's place

    2. My email is I'm a fajardo from my mothers side from Jalisco Mexico

    3. Please feel free to contact me. Shalom.
      Abimael Fajardo

  6. My great great grandfather was cirilo fajardo not born in Mexico but lived in Mexico

  7. Sorry I just read this 2 years later! This is very interesting.I wonder if we are related!

  8. do you happen to know where and or how Fajardo became Guajardo?

  9. in case you dont find this till a year or more later, please contact us at of find us on facebook at Guajardo Project and Guajardo Family...both pages are amazing