Música en mi primer idioma: Silvio Rodríguez

We visit one of Latin America´s most recognized and controversial singer – song witters. A symbol of the Left. Sometimes called “the Cuban John Lennon”.

In the break of the renewed relationships between the United States and Cuba, I thought I would do a post of a man who has come to represent the left in Latin America. He has established himself as the voice of an era and some ideals that are outdated and like all communist governments the world has had, clearly does not work as it is contemplated.  The man is one of those singers people love or love to hate. He has been linked so tightly to Cuba´s revolution that it is impossible not to politicize his music, though recently he released a documentary where he expresses he is disappointment by communism.

“Imaginate” Silvio Rodríguez

Silvio was born on November 29th, 1946 in San Antonio de los Baños, Cuba. His father was a farmer and an amateur poet who supported socialist causes. You can notice his father´s influences in his highly eloquent lyrics. His mother loved music and passed that on to him. When the revolution won, Silvio was engrossed in that revolutionary enthusiasm, he started working as a comic designer in a magazine, and a friend there taught him how to play the guitar. He started to get noticed by the Culture Ministry (who wanted to eradicate American influences). He then went on to Casa de Las Américas, a home for trovadores and other artists on the left. There Silvio met Noel  Nicola and Pablo Milanés and the three of them became the most famous representatives of Nueva Trova (defined by its connection with Fidel Castro´s revolution and it concentrates on socialism, injustice, sexism, colonialism, racism and social subjects). Silvio and Pablo have toured together, played together, sang together and wrote songs together and are a “duo” in Latin American music on their own.

Quien Fuera -Silvio Rodríguez

Silvio´s lyrics and introspective, eloquent, and reflect a lot of his life, love and personal experiences.

“Lo más terrible se aprende enseguida y lo hermoso nos cuesta la vida”.

it translates: the most terrible things we learn right away but the beautiful things we take a life time to learn”.

“La cobardía es asunto de los hombres, no de los amantes”.

Translation: Cowardness is a thing of men, not of lovers.

“Mi amor no precisa fronteras; como la primavera, no prefiere jardín”.

Translation: My love does not need frontiers, like spring, it doesn´t have a favorite garden.

Oh, Melancolía – Silvio Rodríguez

There is something very intimate and melancholic about Silvio´s lyrics, his singing but most of all, his guitar. Whether he is singing about property, the church, a dog, or a beach you feel like you are having a conversation with him, there is nothing grandiose about his presence or any sort of pose.

Silvio Rodriguez

The video coming up is for a song which at first listen would sound like a love song (the title translates something like “To Whom Deserves Love”. But the song is actually a response to the United States after threatening Cuba for having aided El Salvador in 1981. Now that is a poet and a folk singer. <3

lyrics translated by me bellow

Does my love bother you?
My young love
when my love is a virtue of art.
Does my love bother you?
My love without a mask
when my love is peaceful art.
My love is my humanity
and my love is art in its time

Does my love bother you?
my suppliers love
and my love is a major art.
My love, is my enchanted garment,
it is my extensive dwelling

Is my endless space.
My love does not need frontiers, like spring,

it doesn’t have a favorite garden.
My love isn’t a market’s love
Because a bleeding love
Is not a lucrative love.
My love is all I have,
If I deny it or sell it
Why to keep breathing?
Does my love bother you?
My humanity love,

And my love is an art in its age.
Does my love bother you?
My suppliers love
My love isn’t love of only one
But it’s the soul of everything
That needs to be healed.
My love is a love from below
That destiny brought me
To make it rise.
My love, the most in love one,
Is also forgotten in its old pain.
My love opens its chest to death
Precipitates its luck
With a better time.
My love, my courageous love
Its a bright sun
To whomever deserves love.

Por Quien Merece Amor – Silvio Rodríguez 

Yesterday, Silvio was one of the people celebrating the opening of the Cuban embassy in Washington yesterday. Yes, July 24th, 2015. He was denied a visa to the US many times, a controversial time was on 2009 for Pete Seeger´s 90th birthday. Finally he was granted one in 2010, and he performed in Puerto Rico, Oakland, Los Angeles, Washington, D.c., Orlando and in New York. Those were his first performances in the US in over 30 years. I am closing this article with one of Silvio´s most famous songs, along with La Maza and Unicornio Azul. This song is called “I wish”. Although it has been speculated that it was written for Fidel and/or Chile´s Pinochet Silvio has confirmed it is a love song. In any case, it is beautiful.

Ojalá – Silvio Rodríguez

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