Archive for 8/10/08

Pablo Guerrero’s “Come here, Alberti”


Pablo Guerrero is one of the most tender and sweeter. Born in Esparragosa de Lares, a village of Badajoz, Extremadura, in 1946. In 1969 comes to Madrid for singing; his first songs are influenced by Extremadura’s traditional songs, but soon he’ll sing also songs with Dylan, Paco Ibáñez, Georges Brassens, Moustaki and Jose Afonso influences. His great song is "A cántaros" ("It’s pouring"), that became in a song of solidarity. Pablo’s poetry is one of the most beautiful: talking about friendship, solidarity, humanity, brotherhood, his land and, of course, love. He also recorded songs with Africans influence, and today, without the previous power of voice, his songs are more literary than musicals. Some of his best LPs are A cántaros (Pours) and Porque amamos el fuego (Because we love fire).

Story and meaning of the song. Since 1939, Franco’s victory year, poet Rafael Alberti was living in exile, living in Rome, but also travelling to different countries (Rusia, China, Chile, Argentina…) During his exile, Alberti wrote his wonderful social, protest and humanist poetry against Franco’s regime. His position and attitud made of him a symbol of resitance between Spanish inconformist youth, who insatiablely read his poems and, some of them, as group Aguaviva, Paco Ibáñez or Víctor Manuel, among others, made songs with his poems, or dedicated him a song or a poem. After Franco’s death in 1975, with the beginning of the democratic transition, some exiled people could back to Spain, but those, as Alberti, who belonged to Comunist Party: they could get back just in 1977, right before 1st democratic elections. Guerrero’s song is protesting against that situation. Pablo takes some Alberti’s symbol: the bull, who is the people in his poem "El toro del Pueblo" ("People’s bull") -Alberti was a bull-fighting lover-, the white-paws horse, that also symbolizes the People in the poem "Galope" ("Ride"), and many others.

 

Ven Alberti

 

Ven Alberti, que han vestido

al toro bata de cola,

y anda malvendido, y anda

sangrando arenas sin olas.

Él, que quería ser barco

sin anclas ni marinero,

capaz de llenar sus manos

sólo de mares pequeños,

alacranes le han clavado

su estoque negro.

 

Ven Alberti, que han vestido

al toro bata de cola

y anda malvendido, y anda

sangrando arenas sin olas.

Llena el caballo cuatralbo

de algodones y semillas,

que están sembrando a tu toro,

Alberti, mil banderillas.

Tú puedes traer el agua

que necesita.

 

Come here, Alberti

Come here, Alberti,/ for they have dressed/ the bull in "tail coat" (1),/ and he’s going bad sold,/ and he’s going/ bleeding waveless sands./ He, who wanted to be boat/ without anchor nor sailor,/ able to fill his hands/ just with little seas,/ scorpions have nailed him/ their black "estoque" (2).// Come here, Alberti,…//  Fill the white-paws horse (3)/ with cottons and seeds,/ for they are sowing your bull,/ Alberti, with thousands "banderillas"./ You can bring him the water/ he needs.

Pablo Guerrero

(1) A "tail-coat" means "bata de cola": the "bata de cola" was the folkloric female singer’s garment. This concept is dificult to understand: Francoist regime’s tourism exploded Spanish "copla" and false Andalucian folklore as turistic lure: for that reason, many foreigners think Spanish culture is only flamenco, bull-fighting, wine, paella and siesta.

(2) "Estoque": the torero’s sword for killing bull.

(3) The word is "cuatralbo" (cuatro: four; albo: white), which is a tecnicism for naming a horse whose all its paws are white. I don’t know the English equivalent.

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