Archive for 5/06/09

Labordeta’s “The old woman”

José Antonio Labordeta during the homage to Carmen Medrano ( José Antonio Labordeta is one of the most passionated Spanish songwriters. Born in Zaragoza, in 1935, his brother is the notorious poet Miguel Labordeta. Labordeta is a versatile man: he has been teacher, poet, singer, cultural TV program presenter ("Un país en la mochila" -"A country in the bag"-, a program in which Labordeta was running several Spanish village as a backpacker), politician… In Zaragoza, he met the Georges’s Brassens genial music, and decide to record his poetic songs. He mixed Brassens’s style with traditional music from Aragón. His words are powerful, faithful and compromised with his time and with the Humanity; sometimes he had sung his brothers’ poems. His discography is very large: his 1st EP comes in 1969, under the name of Cantar y callar ("Singing and shutting"), but due the student and workers riots of this years, government get off the record. In 1973 he recorded in Barcelona his 1st LP, Cantar i callar (the same title, but in Catalan, although the album is in Spanish). To this shall follow others as Tiempo de espera -"Time for waiting"- (1975), or Cantata para un país (Ballad for a country).

This beautiful song, of his 1st LP, talks about the problem of migration, very usual in Aragón’s rural world, during the 50, 60 and 70s. This old woman still is the typicall ancient lady in the Spanish rural lands.

La vieja

Siempre te recuerdo vieja
sentada junto al hogar,
acariciando la lumbre,
la cadiera y el pozal.

La tristeza de tus ojos
de tanto mirar,
hijos que van hacia Francia
otros hacia la ciudad.
Miguel dice que va bueno
y parió la del Julián.
Tú te quedas con tus muertos
rezándoles sin parar,
pensando que en esta vida
sólo se puede llorar.

Siempre te recuerdo vieja
sentada frente al portal,
repasando antiguas mudas
que ya nadie se pondrá.

Al cierzo de los otoños
vas a buscar
palabras desde la Francia
o desde la ciudad.
Miguel cayó del andamio
y parió la del Julián.
Tú, tus mitos y tus penas
cubren barbecho y erial,
cubren los viejos olivos
con tu densa soledad.

Siempre te recuerdo vieja
zurciendo la eternidad
con tus palabras menudas
ocultando la verdad.

Miguel murió del andamio
y los chicos del Julián
al final de aquel verano
volvieron a la ciudad.
A ti te enterramos pobre,
como debía pasar,
al lado de tu marido,
tus padres y el sacristán,
que loco por las campanas
se desguazó ante el altar.

Siempre te recuerdo vieja
nunca te podré olvidar,
eternamente paciente,
sufriendo sin más ni más.

The old woman

I always remember you old,/ sat by the fireside,/ caressing the fire,/ the bank and the buckets.// Sadness in your eyes/ of so looking/ your children going to France,/ others to town./ Miguel says it’s ok/ and Julián’s wife gave birth./ You stay with your deaths/ nonstop praying for them,/ thinking that in this life/ only it can crying.// I always remember you old,/ sat by the doorway,/ reviewing old moults/ nobody shall wear again.// At the autumns’ Cierzo (1)/ you go looking/ words from France/ or from town./ Miguel fell from the scaffold/ and Julián’s wife gave birth./ You, your myths and your sorrows/ cover fallow and wasteland,/ cover the old olive-trees/ with your dense lonelyness.// I always remember you old/ mending the eternity/ with your doited words/ hidding the truth.// Miguel died by the scaffold/ and Julián’s kids/ at that summer’s ending/ get bak to town./ We buried you poor,/ as it should be,/ beside your husband,/ your parents and the sacristan,/ who crazy about the bells,/ scraped in front of the altar.// I always remeber you old,/ I’ll never can forget you,/ eternally patient,/ suffering without more ado.

José Antonio Labordeta

(1) A kind of wind that blows in Aragón and Navarra which is originated in the valley of the Ebro.

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