In a way completely befitting the world’s most enduring game of heroes and villains, Chilean singer Juga has combined the worlds of chess, cinema and music by releasing two music videos to accompany her tracks ‘Oh Capablanca‘ and ‘Isolated Pawn‘. As the World Chess Championships took place in the heart of London towards the end of last year, Juga made her name as an artist who has been actively pioneering links between the world of art and chess – combining her life as a recording artist with her role as a celebrated ambassador of the game, utilising themes of intrigue, drama and psychology all at the fore.
Juga’s first release could well be considered to be the greatest Bond theme to never feature in a film, as it combines lush orchestration and Spaghetti Western guitar with her spine-chillingly yearning vocals. ‘Oh Capablanca‘ refers to the Cuban chess champion from the 1920’s Jose Raul Capablanca, who is often referred to as the greatest player of all-time.
“The real inspiration was the irony of living a fantasy completely different from what was really happening on the board before my eyes”
The lyrics were inspired by a real-life experience of her participation in a tournament in Rome – describing an emotional voyage through a twisted chess game with her opponent, in which she suffered from over optimism. The track in essence reflects the psychology of what goes on inside a chess players mind after losing a game from a winning position.
‘Isolated Pawn‘ offers a different tale in which Juga recounts, in first person, the human emotions of the humble piece as it’s caught alone and undefended in the middle of the chessboard. The track opens with the lowest self-perception possible – of how the labels put on you by the other pieces (representing society) determine that you are weak, that you can be blocked, attacked, and then captured. However, it then demonstrates that if your hopes are high enough, you can empower yourself to break through and become the most powerful piece – the Queen, as the pawn reaches the enemy’s side of the board.
“The golden scar across the isolated pawn’s head represents how special and strong your wounds can make you. In Japan, there is a traditional art of repairing broken pottery called ‘Kintsugi’, where the piece’s ‘scars’ are filled with gold – honouring the story of the object instead of throwing it away”
These stories depict the triumph of spirit over matter, which is something that often happens in chess. For Juga, this is what makes chess poetic and beautiful, in continuous contrast with it’s scientific and logical side.