Fate brings random connections and that is what happened to María Laura Bustamante a few years ago: when she was pregnant with her first daughter, she suffered the loss of her mother. The two most important women in his life suddenly connected and separated. While one reached the world, the other left.
This experience, however, has helped the Peruvian singer and songwriter to write and publish her first children’s book, “Sopa” (editorial Mónimo, 2021). A delicate tale that narrates the bond between a little girl and the figure of her grandmother, who, although she seems absent, is actually always by her side.
“I really like to tell my daughter what her grandmother was like, keep it present at home, in photos, at games –Said the artist, a member of the duo Alejandro and María Laura–. I think that was also the way my mother related to death and to her own parents, my grandparents. She told me that when she saw little black birds, she felt that her mother was there. That is an idea that she left me and that I want to transmit to my daughter as well ”.
Bustamante also knows that death is a complicated topic to tackle with boys and girls, and is aware that each family may have a different way of doing it. But in his case, and as can also be seen in “Soup”, it is a sincere and transparent approach, more endearing than painful.
“I understand that death is an issue that people prefer not to mention. But, for me, bringing it up and talking about it is part of keeping in mind the loved one who is gone. I want to have my mother close, remember her. And so It does not mean crying or being sad, but on the contrary: that it is rather to play with it, even if it is on another plane ”, he explains.
Regarding the comparative experiences of writing a children’s book and writing a song, María Laura points out that, more than the differences in the format, what changed a lot was putting herself in the shoes of the audience she was supposed to address. “This all started as a poem, and I usually write for my adult self. But this time Julia Viñas, my editor, made me understand that now I was addressing children. And that did change it, “he says.
Could María Laura have written “Sopa” without going through the motherhood process? “I don’t know, probably not,” he confesses. It is largely inspired by that experience. But curiously, since I was 5 or 6 years old, I said that I was going to be a short story writer. It was always my dream as a child. My mother bought me notebooks and I put little letters at the bottom and pictures at the top. So I think being a mother reconnected me with that. “
In addition to the texts, “Sopa” is a book that bring the beautiful illustrations of Fatima Ordinola, whom the singer could only meet recently, after finishing the book. “I did not intervene in the drawings,” says María Laura. She came up with the ideas and I was happy. I have seen your work with total admiration. In addition, she told me that she also had a grieving process for her mother, similar to mine. And that’s nice because we were on the same page without even having met ”.
- “Sopa” by María Laura Bustamante can be purchased on the website of the publishing house Mónimo: www.monimo.co