Biniali: Streets and Villas Composed of Words

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Biniali: Streets and Villas Composed of Words

Literature and Biniali go hand in hand. Few villages in Mallorca can boast of having such an extraordinary setting as in the art of the “word”. The town is not only a literary inspiration in itself, but also because of the many authors who lived in this location, giving the town, houses and streets full of tradition, a new reading, a new dimension that goes beyond the material. Here we have a journey through the voices that elevated Biniali to the universal space of literature.

1

So n’Arrom

The novelist Maria Antònia Oliver (Manacor 1946 – Biniali 2022), although living in Barcelona since 1969, bought with her husband Jaume Fuster the house called So n’Arrom. They acquired it during the seventies, located at Carrer des Pou, number 1. Maria Antònia Oliver was a leader of the literary generation from the 70s, and stood out for her dedication to genre literature, specifically detective fiction. Her writing, which includes fifteen titles, gives special prominence to women. Here are some of the titles mentioned among many others, the novels; Crónicas d’un Mitj Estiu (1970), El Vaixell d’Iràs i no Tornaràs (1976), Joana E. (1992), etc. In 2016, she received the Catalan Letters Honorary Award. On the occasion of her death, on February 10, 2022, the town, friends and colleagues paid her a heartfelt tribute in front of her home. Many of her books were written entirely or partially in Biniali, and she also dedicated many of them to thanking the people of Biniali. So n’Arrom is one of the settings where some of the stories in “Colors of the Sea” (2007) take place, such as when she gives voice to one of her dogs, na Mel, saying – with an “approximate transcription” -: “My name is Mel and I’m very beautiful, I was already when I was born, I didn’t have as much hair as I do now and I was a bit magistroia, but when my Mistress saw me she fell in love with me and bought me even though she said, and she still says, that there are so many dogs abandoned around the world that dogs should not be bought, they should be adopted […]”

2

The Bell tower of the Parish Church of Sant Cristòfol The Bell tower of the Parish Church of Sant Cristòfol

The origin of the church of Biniali goes back to the 17th century. In the 19th century work was done to enlarge it, and the bell tower was completed in 1888. Two years later, the image of the appointed Saint was placed on top of the tower and, for this reason, rejoicings were held to commemorate this deed. The last two stanzas end by saying:

History tells us

Through custom your figure

Standing in the heights,

From where you protect us.

Guard us from all evil

From above the Bell Tower

With paternal affection

Saint Christopher our Guide.

Your power is grandeur

More than your stature

And even more now your figure

Near the clouds you are.

Biniali is such a town

Where you have shown

Your paternal affection

Saint Chritopher our Guide.

3

Plaça de la Immaculada Concepció

The journalist and writer Joan Ramis d’Ayreflor i Saura (Ciutadella, 1881-Palma, 1956) was part of the family that owned Aireflor and being so, he was very much attached to Sencelles. He initiated his collaboration at La Roqueta with “custom pictures” (a literary genre) and was director of La Gaceta de Mallorca. Poet in the line of the so-called Majorcan School, published Clarianes (1917) and a collection of poems in Lectura Popular. In his Clarianes volume we find the beautiful poem entitled “Biniali”.

Half town, half hamlet,

Biania is an ancient place.

Near a straight road

You’ll find this little town

If ever you are to go.

From the humble rooftops

The town next to the road,

Uplifted and twinned,

Their daring spires

A church and a windmill.

Beneath the road,

Sweeping closely the town,

A torrent bed sinks deeply,

Where rain yearly,

Comes humming.

Above the torrent bed

Joined by a slender arch

The bridge’s arcade

Seems a major portal

Of an enclosed parish.

4

Ca sa Mestra

Part of the poet and writer’ s childhood, Jaume Pomar Llambias (1943-2013) was spent in the town of Biniali, specifically in a house on Carrer de l’Estrella number 6. Since he was closely related to the village through his work he changed his name to a literary one, Mosafat. Pomar as a journalist wrote in several newspapers and magazines, and was a collaborator of Televisión Española. In recent years, before retiring, he was also the archivist-librarian at the Casa Museu Llorenç Villalonga in Binissalem. He was a member of the Catalan Writers’ Association and the Catalan PEN and collaborated in the magazines such as Randa, Revista de Catalunya and Lluc. He translated into Spanish works by Llorenç Villalonga, Bartomeu Roselló-Pòrcel and Josep Maria Llompart. His poetic work is extensive (more than fifteen titles), but he also wrote narrative, biographies and literary studies. In 2012 he published Cants a Montalt, where he collects in the form of poetic prose the memories of his childhood as Mosafat (Biniali): “The men did not return from their threshing or the vineyards. I did not see any carts loaded with fodder. The monotonous singing of the embroiderers was not heard in the street portal, nor the lullabies sung by the mothers coming from the coolness of the rooms. The ferns shadow did not cut the air or cast its shadows on the shining cobblestones. The heart, however, beat again before life and the distant shriek of a nightingale. All the wear and tear of time echoed, as feet pressing grapes, the old pain of living. It was a pity all over again, Mosafat. Maybe I was dying? I had to survive? I and only I could understand the silence of the empty street and the blue of the mountains. Where the Raiguer had already had its say.”