Archive for 7 de noviembre de 2008

Joaquín Sabina’s «Guess who»

There is no doubt that Joaquín Sabina is the most succesfull Spanish songwriter, at least in Spain. Born Andalucian, Joaquín came to Madrid in the 60s. Acussed of vandal act when he belonged to a extreme-left association, he migrated to London, when he started to play: he played even on beatle George Harrison’s birthday party. At the fall of the 70s he returned to Madrid and began to recorded his songs. His first LP, Inventario -inventory-, 1978, was very on the songwriting line of those days: many protest songs. Later, in the 80s decade, Sabina became in an urban songwriter, similar to Springsteen or Eliot Murphy, with more rock’n’roll than folk, although Sabina is a lover of every kind of music that could be in the world. He plays rock, folk, Mexican "corridos", Spanish copla, blues… Sabina’s words are genials and imaginatives, although sometimes -under my point of view- he gets a little commercial.

"Adivina adivinanza" (Guess who) is one of Sabina’s best. Was recorded live in a LP named La Mandrágora (1981), with other two songwriters: Alberto Pérez and the genial satyrical Javier Krahe, during a concert the three gave in the local "La Mandrágora" (the mandrake). The song, in a satyrical way, relates a symbolical  burial of general Franco (November 20th, 1975), in which a lot of characters, regime’s symbols or suporters, asisted.


Adivina adivinanza

Mil años tardó en morirse,
pero por fin la palmó.
Los muertos del cementerio
están de Fiesta Mayor.
Seguro que está en el Cielo
a la derecha de Dios.
Adivina, adivinanza,
escuchen con atención.
A su entierro de paisano
asistió Napoleón, Torquemada,
y el caballo del Cid Campeador;
el coño de la Bernarda,
y un dentista de León;
y Celia Gámez, Manolete,
San Isidro Labrador,
y el soldado desconocido
a quien nadie conoció;
Santa Teresa iba dando
su brazo incorrupto a Don
Pelayo que no podía
resistir el mal olor.
El Marqués que ustedes saben

iba muy elegantón,
con uniforme de gala
de la Santa Inquisición.
Bernabeu enciende puros
con billetes de millón,
y el niño Jesús de Praga
de primera comunión.
Mil quinientas doce monjas
pidiendo con devoción
al Papa Santo de Roma
pronta canonización.
Y un pantano inaugurado
de los del plan Badajoz.
Y el Ku-Klux-Klan que no vino
pero mandó una adhesión.
Y Rita la cantaora,
y don Cristóbal Colón,
y una teta disecada
de Agustina de Aragón.
La tuna compostelana
cerraba la procesión
cantando a diez voces clavelitos
de mi corazón.
San José María Pemán
unos versos recitó,
servía Perico Chicote
copas de vino español.

Nunca enterrador alguno
conoció tan alto honor:
Dar sepultura a quien era
sepulturero mayor.

Ese día en el infierno
hubo gran agitación,
muertos de asco y fusilados
bailaban de sol a sol.
Siete días con siete noches
duró la celebración,
en leguas a la redonda
el champán se terminó.
Combatientes de Brunete,
braceros de Castellón,
los del exilio de fuera
y los del exilio interior
celebraban la victoria
que la historia les robó.
Más que alegría, la suya
era desesperación.
Como ya habrá adivinado,
la señora y el señor,
los apellidos del muerto
a quien me refiero yo,
pues colorín colorado,
igualito que empezó,
adivina, adivinanza,
se termina mi canción.


Guess who

A thousand of years took for his death,/ but at the end it’s curtained for him./ The deads of the graveyard/ are in a local festival./ For sure he is on Heaven/ at God’s right side./ Guess who,/ listen with atention./ To his burial, in plain-clothes,/ Napoleon came, Torquemada (1),/ and the Cid Campeador’s horse (2);/ Bernarda’s cunt (3),/ and a dentist from Leon;/ and Celia Gámez (4), Manolete,/ Saint Isidor the Farmworkwer (5);/ and the unknown soldier/ to who no one known;/ Saint Teresa (6) was giving/ her incorrupt arm (6bis) to/ Don Pelayo (7), who couldn’t/ resist the rankness./ The Marquis that you know (8)/ was very swanky,/ in his Saint Inquisition uniform of gala./ Bernabeu (9) lights cigar/ with one-million notes,/ and Praga’s Baby Jesus (10)/ in First Holy Communion wears./ Five hundred and twelve thousand nuns/ devotionaly supplicating/ to Holy Pope of Rome/ next canonization./ And an inaugurated swamp/ of the Badajoz Plan (11)./ And the Ku Klux Klan, that didn’t come,/ but sent an adhesion./ And Rita the Cantaora,/ and don Cristobal Colombus,/ and a dissected teat/ of Agustina of Aragon (12)./ The Compostelan Tuna (13)/ was clossing the procession/ singing voices to ten "Clavelitos de mi corazón"./ Saint José María Pemán (14)/ recited a verses,/ Perico Chicote (15) was serving/ cups of Spanish wine./ Never any undertaker/ had such a high honour:/ to dig a grave/ for the highest gravedigger./ That day, in hell,/ was a great agitation,/ deads of disgust and executeds/ were dancing from dawn to dusk./ The celebration lasted/ seven days with its seven nights,/ the champagne ends/ within various leagues./ Brunete’s fighters,/ labourers from Castellon,/ those of the outside exile/ and those of the inside exile/ were celebrating a victory/ that history stole them./ Them’s, more than joy/ it was desesperation./ As lady and gentleman/ already should have guessed/ the surnames of the dead/ to who I am referring,/ so painted red,/ just like it began,/ guess what,/ so ends my song.

Joaquín Sabina

(1) Tomás de Torquemada (1420-1498): First General Inquisitor in the kingdom of Castille and Leon.

(2) Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar: a Midle-Age Spanish Visigoth hero, nicknamed "el Cid Campeador" ("cid": from dialectal Arabian sīdi, "lord"; "campeador": from Latin Campae Docto, "wise in battlefield"). His story is related on El Cantar del Mío Cid (The song of Cid of mine): Rodrigo fought against north-africans and Arabians for Sancho, king of Castille. Francoism adapted his character as a symbol and as an example. His horse’s name was "Babieca".

(3) Nobody seems to know who was Bernarda, but "ser el coño de la Bernarda" -to be Bernarda’s cunt- left on our colloquial language. It means something in which many people take part with abuse and without any consideration; also means a situation of disorganization.

(4) A 30s decade’s famous coupletist , who was openly francoist. During Franco’s victory, she sang: "They shall not pass, cryed the Marxists… We have already passed!".

(5) The Patron Saint of Madrid. Francoist regime’s propagandist cinema was full of films about saints. This of Saint Isidor was very known.

(6) Saint Teresa of Jesus, or Saint Teresa of Avila (1515-1582): great nun mystic poet. Although she was acussed by the Spanish Inquisition, regime took her as a example of christian moral.

(6bis) This is a funny story: Saint Teresa’s heirloom was her incorrupted arm. The arm was kept by a nuns in their convent, but Franco wanted to have it, so he carry off the arm and put it on on his bedside table.

(7) Don Pelayo (699-737): a Visigoth noble from Asturias, who began with the Spanish reconquest. His descendent founded the kingdom Astur-Leones kingdom. Once again, he was taken as an example and a symbol by the regime.

(8) The Marquis of Villaverd, who was Franco’s son-in-law.

(9) Santiago Bernabeu was the Chariman of Real Madrid CF. They say that many bussiness take place at his stadium box.

(10) A statue of Baby Jesus very venerated in some places of Spain.

(11) For the industrial development, Franco inaugurated swamps all along Spain.

(12) A heroine of the Spanish War of Independence: it’s believed that she alone defended Zaragoza with a canyon of Napoleon’s troops.

(13) The tuna is a traditional music formation. Traditionally, the tuna is formed by students that with songs get some money. Is typical from Spain and Portugal, and has a kind of reactionary character. The tuna of Santiago of Compostela is the most famous, and the most popular tuna’s song is "Clavelitos de mi corazón" (Little carnation of my heart) -a curiosity: the great Irish folk group, the Dubliners, made a version!-.

(14) José María Pemán (1897-1981): a Spanish poet. During the Civil War he wrote poetry for the fascist side. After war, although, under my point of view, he was a very poor and mediocre poet, was designed as the Regime’s official poet.

(15) A famous business man of wine.


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