Wedding of Rosalía de Castro and Manuel Murguía

On October 10, 1858, Rosalía de Castro married Manuel Martínez Murguía in the parish church of San Ildefonso, located at the confluence of the Corredera Baja and the Alta, a narrow street parallel to the busiest in Fuencarral. The latter was, in Rosalía’s time, the main exit from Madrid to France. Rosalía lived until her marriage at Calle de la Ballesta, number 13, ground floor.

Since Rosalía de Castro was 21 years old when she got married, she needed the authorization of her mother, Teresa de Castro, because at that time women only reached the age of majority when they turned 25, except in Aragón, which reached the age of majority at 20.

On the AlfayOmega page we can find the marriage file of Rosalía de Castro and Manuel Murguía, which the Archdiocese of Madrid brought to light, thanks to the work of the documentary and philologist Sagrario Abelleira, and the archivist Irene Galindo.

“In the M. H. town of Madrid, on October tenth, one thousand eight hundred and fifty-eight. I, Doctor Lozano Prieto, Lieutenant Priest of this Parish of San Ildefonso, after dispatch of Mr. Doctor Manuel de Obeso, Vicar Eco, countersigned first of all by the Notary Don Pedro Vicente Obejero: I married and watched in facie Ecclesiae Don Juan Manuel Martínez Murguía, single, twenty-five years old, native of Frogel, Diocese of Santiago, son of Don Juan and Doña Concepción Murguía; with María Rosalía Rita de Castro, single, twenty-one years old, native of the city of Santiago, parishioner of this Parish for living at Ballesta Street, number 13, ground floor, natural daughter of Doña Teresa de Castro; having preceded all the necessary requirements for the validity and legitimacy of this sacramental contract. Godfather witnesses were Don Cándido Luanco and Don Manuel Menéndez. And I sign it, L. Prieto.”

Rosalía married two months pregnant with Alejandra, who was born on May 12, 1859. But the marriage was not rushed or forced by that circumstance, since the decision was made between March and April 1858, because on those dates they requested Teresa de Castro, Rosalía’s mother, a certificate of residence in Padrón, certainly necessary to file the marriage in the Madrid courts.

It is possible that Rosalía and Murguía had previously met in Santiago de Compostela, because they both frequented literary circles, and that they met again in Madrid at the time when Rosalía went to live with María Josefa García-Lugín y Castro, a relative of Rosalía’s mother and mother of Alejandro Pérez Lugín, the author of the novel “La casa de la Troya”, who would not be born until 1870.

Fran Amil poses in front of the sculpture made of granite, in 1917, by the architect Isidro de Benito and the sculptor Francisco Clivilles

We don’t know for sure why Rosalía went to live in Madrid. There are many speculations: according to some sources, to escape the reprisals of the “Conxo Banquet”, she is very debatable because her presence at the event is not confirmed. According to Murguía himself, “taking a power of attorney from his mother, he undertook a trip to Madrid. He was going to manage the return, by the State, of the assets that the State had unjustly dispossessed.” Xosé Ramón Barreiro Fernández contrasts this version of Murguía’s husband Rosalía, in her monumental biography “Murguía”, published by Galaxia in 2012: “We are facing a version clearly manipulated by Murguía and without any foundation, which in this way intended to make us believe that the poor economic situation of the Castro family and of the family itself Rosalía was due to the embezzlement of funds by Don Tomás García Lugín,” it says on page 196 of the aforementioned biography. Other versions suggest that Rosalía traveled to Madrid in search of work, to collaborate in a magazine, and even to gauge the possibility of becoming an actress, or, as Barreiro himself points out on page 199 of Murguía’s biography: “…travel in Murguía’s wake. This is also what García Martí recognizes: “It follows from everything we have said that the main objective was to get closer to Murguía”.

Rosalía’s bedroom in A Matanza, Padrón

One of Barreiro’s notes is that Manuel Murguía, who gave a very positive review of Rosalía’s first book of poems, titled “La flor”, a review published in the newspaper “La Iberia” in 1957, already had prior knowledge of Rosalía, even though the writer and journalist mentioned on a couple of occasions in the laudatory review that he did not know the author of the verses. A strategy designed to make the young writer known in the intellectual circles of Madrid and Galicia, since a favorable note would also appear in the newspaper El Iris de Galicia da Coruña, on May 13, 1957, note that we have borrowed a once again to Barreiro.

Before getting married, Rosalía and Murguía actively participated in Madrid intellectual life, and once married they also participated in Galician intellectual life. The couple were pioneers in the Spanish cultural world by trying to make a living with literature and writing, publishing books and, above all, articles in magazines and newspapers, even living for a while in a printing press in Vigo while they worked as journalists ( They had a teletype installed next to the bed that worked twenty-four hours a day, receiving information about the skirmishes in Africa). An absolutely dazzling and unique couple at that time, breaking all the schemes and preconceived ideas, with an unprecedented projection and an unparalleled intellectual height.

We continue quoting Barreiro and his monumental biography of Murguía, and on page 205 we can read the following joke: “On previous pages we made reference to the reaction of Aurelio Aguirre, upset because his friend Murguía had not informed him that he was going to marry Rosalía, even though he ended the letter by asking that the first child they had bear his name. Aurelio did not know that he had already made that promise to Chao, and that is why the first daughter was called Alejandra.”

Fran Amil poses in Bertamiráns, in front of a fragment of the mural titled “As Rosalías”, made by the artist Yoseba Muruzábal in the Casa da Cultura do Milladoiro

An interesting article in which Marina Mayoral takes a suggestive tour of Rosalía’s life is this one that we can find on the page of the Miguel de Cervantes Virtual Library.

The poem “Negra sombra (Black Shadow)” has a strong link with the Lugo musician Juan Montes (Lugo, April 13, 1840 – June 24, 1899), who premiered in 1892 at the Gran Teatro in the city of Havana, in Cuba, its musical version, which quickly became the Galician song par excellence, with hundreds of recordings, some of immense impact among the public, even outside of Galicia, such as the version by Luz Casal and Carlos Núñez that is part of the original soundtrack from the film “The Sea Inside”, directed by Alejandro Amenábar. Today, “Black Shadow” is also a funeral song, performed at wakes and funerals. A few days ago, at the Riazor football field, in a Deportivo-Celta Fortuna match, in tribute to the number 5 member of the A Coruña team, who recently died, a musical version of the poem was played in his honor.

When Carlos and I decided to include Rosalía de Castro’s poem in our album “Popsía Vol. I”, we were clear that we wanted to open a new path based on our own composition, and we quickly agreed on a touch of blackness in the rhythm, appropriate to a metaphysical letter. In the style of disco we look for a way to fuse a funky rhythm with the tradition of Galician music. We hope you enjoy listening to the song. We also have extraordinary musicians: Paco Cerdeira on electric guitar, Ruchi de Baio on electric bass, Gueorgui Oganesian on tenor sax, María Quiroga on trumpet, Mandela on trombone, Marta Oro Amón on violin, Miguel Vázquez on bagpipe, and a unbeatable trio of female voices: Ángeles Dorrio, Carmen Rey and Sara Vázquez. I’m in charge of the lead vocals and drums.

  1. NEGRA SOMBRA Fran Amil 3:26


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Cando penso que te fuches,When I think you’re gone
negra sombra que me asombras;black shadow that amazes me;
(negra, negra, negra sombra;(black, black, shadow black;
negra, negra, negra sombra)black, black, black shadow)
aos pés dos meus cabezalesat the foot of my heads
tornas facéndome turn making fun of me
(negra, negra, negra sombra;(black, black, shadow black;
negra sombra que me asombras)black shadow that amazes me)
Cando maxino que es ida,When I imagine you’re gone
no mesmo sol te me amosas:in the same sun you show me.
i es a estrela que brilaAnd you are the star that shines
i eres o vento que zoa.and you are the wind that resounds.
(negra, negra, negra sombra;(black, black, shadow black;
negra, negra, negra sombra)black, black, shadow black)
(negra, negra, negra sombra;(black, black, shadow black;
negra sombra que me asombras)black shadow that amazes me)
Negra, negra, negra sombra;Black, black, shadow black;
Negra, negra, negra sombra;Black, black, shadow black;
Se cantan es ti que cantas,If they sing, it’s you who sings,
se choran es ti que choras,if they cry, it’s you who cries,
i es o marmurio do río,and you are the murmur of the river,
i es a noite i es aurora.and you are the night and you are dawn.
En todo estás i ti es todo,You are in everything and you are everything,
pra min i en mi mesma moras,for me and in myself you dwell,
nin me deixarás ti nuncayou will never leave me
sombra que sempre me asombras.shadow that always amazes me.
Negra sombra, negra sombra.Black shadow, black shadow.
Negra sombra, negra sombra.Black shadow, black shadow.
Negra sombra, negra sombra.Black shadow, black shadow.
Negra sombra que me asombra.Black shadow that amazes me.

Remember that “Black Shadow” belongs to the book “Follas Novas”, which had its first edition in 1880 in the city of Havana (Cuba), by the publishing house La Propaganda Literaria, owned by Alejandro Chao, a great friend of Manuel Murguía, and brother of Eduardo Chao, great protector of Murguía and Rosalía herself.

Don’t forget to visit the Rosalía de Castro House Museum in Padrón, but as long as you don’t do it in person, you can visit it virtually. A must visit.