Mike wins a contest

theodosiahorus.jpgAs I mentioned a few days ago, Mika and Mike are big fans of the Theodosia Throckmorton mysteries. Mike has been following the author’s blog, eagerly awaiting the third installment of the series: Theodosia and the Eyes of Horus. The author, R. L. LaFevers had a contest promising a pre-release Theodosia and the Eyes of Horus to the person who came up with a song that deserved a place in the Theodosia playlist (songs R. L. listens before she writs to get in the mood).
Mike suggested Strange Magic by the Electric Light Orchestra AND HE WON. R. L. thought the song was PERFECT.
Anyway, way to go Mike!

El Abuelo (Grandfather) by Alberto Cortez

I was just cleaning (really, I promise) when El Abuelo, a beautiful song by Argentine singer/songwriter Alberto Cortez came on my playlist. My mind was fully somewhere else, but it’s impossible to listen to that song and not shed at least a tear. At least for those of us who were born in countries made out of immigrants – or who are immigrants ourselves.
In the song, Cortez sings about his grandfather who left Spain for Argentina to look for a better life – he never was able to return. Cortez, meanwhile, would go on to reside in Spain himself.
My story is a little bit similar. My grandmother (Granny) was born in Albany, NY and grew up in Schenectady. At 21 she married my grandfather, who was in the Argentine Navy, and moved to Argentina. Despite time and space, she never thought of herself as anything but an American, and loved America until she died. She would also tell me about America all the time, to the point that I grew up to love it as she did, the two were so associated together in my mind. She did get to go and visit her family several times in her life – for which I’m very glad.
And so are the turns of life that, after she died, my family (parents and siblings) moved to the US. Not to NY state, but California – to an America that was probably quite different from the one she knew, but America nonetheless. And who knows? Perhaps one day, my own grandchildren will move back to Argentina and repeat the cycle.
Here is my free translation of the song “El Abuelo”.
Grandfather one day
when he was very young
over there in his Galicia,
looked at the horizon
and thought that another road
perhaps existed.
And to the Northern wind,
who was an old friend,
he spoke of his hurry,
he showed him his hands,
that tame and strong,
were empty.
And the wind said:
“Build your life,
behind the seas,
beyond Galicia.”
And grandfather one day
in an old ship
left Spain.
Grandfather one day,
as so many others,
with so much hope.
The loved image
of his old village
and of his mountains
he took with him, engraved
very deep in his soul,
when the old ship,
took him away from Spain.
Grandfather one day
got on the wagon
of raising life.
He pushed the plough
fertilized the dirt
and time ran by.
And he quietly struggled
to plant the tree
that he loved so much.
And grandfather one day
cried under the tree
which was finally flowering,
he cried of happiness
when he saw that his hands,
a little bit older,
were no longer empty.
And grandfather then,
when I was a child,
talked to me of Spain,
of the Northern wind,
of the old village
and of his mountains.
He liked it so much
to remember the things
that he carried engraved
very deep in his soul,
that sometimes silent,
without saying a word,
he talked to me of Spain.
Grandfather one day,
when he was very old,
beyond Galicia.
He took my hand
and I realized
that he was dying.
And he told me then,
with very little strength
and with even less hurry,
“promise me, son,
that to the old village
you will go one day,
and to the Northern wind,
you will tell that his friend
to a new land
gave his life.
And grandfather one day
fell asleep
without having returned to Spain.
Grandfather one day,
as so many others,
with so much hope.
And later grandfather,
I saw him in the villages
I saw him in the mountains
and in each morning
and in each legend,
through all the roads
that I took in Spain.

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Why do we sing? Mario Benedetti

Mario Benedetti, the literary voice of the progressive left in Latin America, died yesterday in Montevideo, Uruguay – his home country. I think it’s impossible to overestimate the importance of Benedetti and his work to the social justice movements in our continent – his words have inspired and comforted multiple generations. Here is one of his most performed poems/ songs, Por qué cantamos? – Why do we sing?
benedetti.jpg
If each hour comes with its own death
if time is a cave of thieves
and the airs are no longer such good airs,
life is nothing but a mobile target
and you will ask why do we sing…
If those who are ours are left without an embrace
our motherland is almost dead of sadness
and the heart of man is blown to pieces
before shame exploded.
You will ask why do we sing…
We sing because the river sounds
and when the river sounds, sounds the river.
We sing because the cruel has no name
but his name has one.
We sing because of the child and because of everything
and because of some future and because of the people.
We sing because the survivors
and our dead want us to sing.
If we were far as a horizon,
if trees and sky were left here,
if every night was an absence
and every waking up a missed encounter
You will ask why do we sing…
We sing because it rains on the furrow
and we are militants of Life
and because we cannot and do not want to
let songs become ashes.
We sing because a cry is not enough
and neither are tears or anger.
We sing because we believe in people
and because we will overcome defeat.
We sing because the Sun recognizes us
and because the fields smell like spring
and because in this stem, in that fruit
every question has its answer…

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Niño Silvestre – Wild Child

I was just listening to this song from Joan Manuel Serrat. My translation.
Wild Child
Niños de la calle

Child of the mountain
omen of bad death
wild child
comes and goes on the side walk.
Child of no-one
that trying to find a living
uglies the avenue
and gives the city a bad name
Newborn
with an amputated innocence
that in the pack
redeems his sin of existing.
Child without a child
defenseless and scared
who learns under the force of blows
to survive like the beasts
Wild child
shoe shiner and thief
sells himself in parts or whole
as an ounce of chocolate.
Roams the street
during the daytime
and at night he hides
so they don’t kill him.
And if luck,
to give it a name,
scares the wolf away,
and lengthens his life a little more.
If glue
doesn’t rotten his lungs
if he escapes the killing thugs
if he survives the whip, perhaps
He’ll become old
between jails and iron bars
seeding the ground
of more wild children, randomly.
And any night
in a cleaning job
they’ll blow the head
of one of them, without batting an eye.


You can help, visit Casa Alianza

Continue reading Niño Silvestre – Wild Child