Archive for the ‘For foreigners’ Category

Miguel Hernández & Lan Adomian’s “Las puertas de Madrid”

A lady of Madrid in a manifestation at Génova street, in November 37; photo by Julio Granell (Archives of the Spanish Comunist Party)Maybe it was circa 1937, when the fascist rebel army, commanded from north by general Emilio Mola, threatened Madrid, Spanish Republic’s capital; and perhaps it was a little before November of that year, when the nazi air force bombed over the town, its population and its monuments, when poet and soldier Miguel Hernández and the International Brigadist of the Lincol Batallion Lan Adomian, made a couple of songs to be sung by the people: they were “La guerra, madre” (The war, mother) and “Las Puertas de Madrid”, that is our song of today. These songs were compiled in some publications of war and, eventually, in Carlos Palacio’s compilation Colección de Canciones de Lucha (Struggle Songs collection), in february 1939. This was Palacio’s note about “Newyorker composser Lan Adomian”:

“… maker of many people songs, in which he had put his art at the service of the most noble and progresist causes. Fighter of the International Brigades, he had fought at the fronts of Madrid, leting us, as he get back to his land, some such beutiful songs, writen in September 1938. (Carlos Palacio, "Colección de Canciones de Lucha", Febrero 1939)” (translation is mine)

So this was a very beautiful song, make for the People, to give them the breath necessary for resist:

Las Puertas de Madrid

Las puertas son del cielo,
las puertas de Madrid.
Cerradas por el pueblo
nadie las puede abrir.
Cerradas por el pueblo
nadie las puede abrir.

El pueblo está en las puertas
[Alt. El pueblo está en la calle]
como una hiriente llave,
la tierra a la cintura
y a un lado el Manzanares;
la tierra a la cintura
y a un lado el Manzanares.

¡Ay río Manzanares,
sin otro manzanar
que un pueblo que te hace
tan grande como el mar!
Que un pueblo que te hace
tan grande como el mar.

The Gates of Madrid

The gates are of Heaven (1) [Alt. The gates are of sky],/ the gates of Madrid./ Closed by the people/ nobody cant’t open them./ Closed by the people/ nobody cant’t open them.// People is at the gates [Alt. People is at the street]/ as a wounding key,/ soil in their waist/ and aside the Manzanares (2);/ soil in their waist/ and aside the Manzanares.// Oh Manzanares river,/ without any other apple orchard (3)/ that a people that makes you/ as big as the sea!// That a people that makes you/ as big as the sea!

Text by Miguel Hernández

Music by Lan Adomian

(1) It seems to mean “heaven”; but by the use in small letter might be interpreted as “sky”.

(2) The Manzanares river was a important line of defense: in some moments of the war, was the watershed among the loyalist army and the fascist.

(3) Untranslatable game of words: Manzanares means “Apple orchards”. 

A more contemporary version, by punk band Delincuencia Sonora:

Biographic Note of Lan Adomian from “¡ALBA!”:

lanadomianLan Adomian, the son of a Jewish cantor, studied classical music before volunteering to serve in the Spanish war. While recuperating from injuries, he composed a cycle of songs to accompany the words of the Spanish poet Miguel Hernandez. After returning from Spain, he wrote several symphonic works that dealt with Spanish themes. During the anti-communist crusade of the 1950s, Adomian chose self-exile in Mexico, where he continued his musical composition. Many of his works addressed Jewish themes, including The Ballad of Terezin, a cantata that was inspired by the poem "The Butterfly" written by a child victim of the Nazis. He also wrote The Forest of Martyrs, dedicated to the Jewish people killed in the holocaust; Israel, an orchestral piece first performed by the St. Louis Symphony; and Kodesh-Kodoshim, a cantata with a Hebrew text.

Another Spanish war and revolution songs of Adomian are, with Miguel Hernández, “La guerra, madre”, and with Pascual Pla y Beltrán “Todos camaradas” (All we are comrades) and “Madrid y su heroico defensor” (Madrid and his heroic defensor), dedicated to general José Miaja.

Triana’s “Del crepúsculo lento nacerá el rocío”

hijos del agobioHijos del agobio (Children of the burden) was Triana’s second album, released in 1977. Perhaps is the most committed band’s LP: lucid lyrics of those years of changing in Spain, covered with stunning Andalusian progressive and psychedelic rock. Within it, in the inlay, we can read these words by Máximo Moreno, painter and designer of the amazing album cover:

… It’s at this right moment when it’s necessary to do the great effort, and if that effort can be captured in any way, You! will be stronger for keep on striving throughout your life. (…)

The album closes with a great song, compossed by guitarrist of the band Eduardo Rodríguez “Roadway”: the only song in the album whose words are not made by Jesús de la Rosa (singer and keyboards), but by their friend, Andalusian songwriter Antonio Mata*, one of the best Andalusian songwriters, ex-member of the collective Manifiesto Canción del Sur (South Song Manifesto). It’s a song of struggle for a better tomorrow:

Del crepúsculo lento nacerá el rocío

¿Qué importa si es largo el camino?
Del crepúsculo lento, nacerá el rocío.
Segando el abrojo y el cardo,
mañana compañero, florecerá el trigo.

Cuando el trueno es amor
y el relámpago es vida
y la lluvia es la luz.

¿Qué importa si pierdo mañana
si gané libertad, para mis hijos?
El ayer no es el hoy ni el mañana
que es tiempo pasado.

Cuando el trueno es amor
y el relámpago es vida
y la lluvia es la luz.

Out of the slow twilight dew shall born

What does matter if the road is long/ Out of the slow twilight dew shall born./ Mowing crowfoot and thistle,/ tomorrow partner, wheat shall bloom.// When thunder is love/ and lightning is life/ and rain is the light.// What does matter if tomorrow I lose/ if I won the freedom for my children?/ Yesterday is not today nor tomorrow,/ cause it’s a past time.// When thunder is love/ and lightning is life/ and rain is the light.

Lyric: Antonio Mata

Music: Eduardo Rodríguez “Roadway”

* I really don’t know if Antonio Mata sung the song any time.

Anthem of Andalusia

Blas_InfanteThe Spanish Republic Constitution (1931) let some regions to be constituted in autonomies: the only regions that could make it, was Catalonia (1932) and Basque Country (1936, beginnings of Civil War), because of the Spanish Civil War. It was Blas Infante, a multifaceted political man, named Father of Andalusian Homeland, who wrote the anthem of Andalusia, with music of José del Castillo Díaz, who got inspiration from an Andalusian folk-song: “Santo Dios” (Holly God), a peasant chant. Infante also elaborated the actual flag and shield of the Autonomy of Andalusia. Blas Infante, a liberal bourgeois, republican and federalist, was executed by members of fascist party Falange Española y de las JONS (Spanish Phalanx of the Assemblies of the National Syndicalist Offensive), in August 1936.

garcía caparrósDuring Franco’s dictatorship and Democratic transition, the Andalusian flag and anthem were symbols of the resistance too. Examples like Manuel José García Caparrós, who was shot to dead by the police for raising the flag of his land in 1977, although it was declarated legal. The anthem was released in July 10, 1936, by the Music Municipal Band of Seville, conducted by José del Castillo. In 1979, the same band played it again at the Lope de Vega Theatre, but two years before it was sung by Coral Heliópolis of Seville, arranged by Andalusian songwriter Carlos Cano:

The Blas Infante’s anthem, flag and shield were adopted as official in the Andalusian Statute of Autonomy (1981). A year before, the folk group Jarcha made a pasionated version in their album Andalucía en pie:

Himno de Andalucía

La bandera blanca y verde
vuelve, tras siglos de guerra,
a decir paz y esperanza,
bajo el sol de nuestra tierra.

¡Andaluces, levantaos!
¡Pedid tierra y libertad!
¡Sea por Andalucía libre,
España y la Humanidad!

Los andaluces queremos
volver a ser lo que fuimos
hombres de luz, que a los hombres,
alma de hombres les dimos.

¡Andaluces, levantaos!
¡Pedid tierra y libertad!
¡Sea por Andalucía libre,
España y la Humanidad!

Anthem of Andalusia

bandera-andalucia-1The white and green flag/ returns, after centuries of war,/ to say peace and hope,/ under the sun of our land.// Andalusians, stand up!/ Ask for land and freedom!/ Be for a free Andalusia,/ Spain* and Humankind!// We the andalusians want/ to be again what we were/ men of light that to tmen,/ men soul we gave them.// Andalusians, stand up!/ Ask for land and freedom!/ Be for a free Andalusia,/ Spain and Humankind!

Blas Infante – José del Castillo

(In the wikipedia link, ther is another translation into English)

* Some versions replace the word “Spain” for “the Nations” or “The Peoples”.

Another great artist who made a version of this beatufil and Humanist anthem, was the popular Andalusian singer Rocío Jurado:

Antonio Machado’s “Retrato”

machadobaston“Retrato” is one of the first and more significative poems by Antonio Machado. More than a autobiographical poem, it’s a statement of aesthetics and philosophical principles. Oftentimes, many people have wanted to see a certain prophetical sense in his last strophe, because, at the defeating of the Spanish Republic in the Spanish Civil War, he crossed the border with France «lightweight luggage (…),/ almost naked, like the children of the sea.» Machado’s thoughts might change a little as time goes by, but he was loyal to the most of these lines. It was published in 1906 in the newspaper El Liberal, and later compiled in his book Campos de Castilla (Fields of Castile, 1912). The poem was musicalized and sung by Argentinean songwriter (who was living in Spain) Alberto Cortez, in his 1968 album Poemas y canciones. Volumen II

Again, a cover of this song was performed by Joan Manuel Serrat in his 1969 album Dedicado a Antonio Machado, poeta:


Mi infancia son recuerdos de un patio de Sevilla,
y un huerto claro donde madura el limonero;
mi juventud, veinte años en tierras de Castilla;
mi historia, algunos casos que recordar no quiero.

Ni un seductor Mañara, ni un Bradomín he sido
—ya conocéis mi torpe aliño indumentario—,
más recibí la flecha que me asignó Cupido,
y amé cuanto ellas puedan tener de hospitalario.

Hay en mis venas gotas de sangre jacobina,
pero mi verso brota de manantial sereno;
y, más que un hombre al uso que sabe su doctrina,
soy, en el buen sentido de la palabra, bueno.

Adoro la hermosura, y en la moderna estética
corté las viejas rosas del huerto de Ronsard;
mas no amo los afeites de la actual cosmética,
ni soy un ave de esas del nuevo gay-trinar.

Desdeño las romanzas de los tenores huecos
y el coro de los grillos que cantan a la luna.
A distinguir me paro las voces de los ecos,
y escucho solamente, entre las voces, una.

¿Soy clásico o romántico? No sé. Dejar quisiera
mi verso, como deja el capitán su espada:
famosa por la mano viril que la blandiera,
no por el docto oficio del forjador preciada.

Converso con el hombre que siempre va conmigo
—quien habla solo espera hablar a Dios un día—;
mi soliloquio es plática con ese buen amigo
que me enseñó el secreto de la filantropía.

Y al cabo, nada os debo; debéisme* cuanto he escrito.
A mi trabajo acudo, con mi dinero pago
el traje que me cubre y la mansión que habito,
el pan que me alimenta y el lecho en donde yago.

Y cuando llegue el día del último vïaje**,
y esté al partir la nave que nunca ha de tornar,
me encontraréis a bordo ligero de equipaje,
casi desnudo, como los hijos de la mar.


My childhood are memories of a patio in Seville,/ and a clear orchard where the lemon tree matures;/ my youth, twenty years in lands of Castile;/ my story, some cases that I don’t want to remember.// Neither a seductive Mañara (1), nor a Brandomín (2) I was/ –you already know my clumsy dressing attire-,/ but I received the arrow that Cupid assigned to me,/ and I loved as much as they might have of hospitable.// There are in my veins Jacobean (3) blood drops,/ but my verse sprouts from a serene wellspring; and, instead of an usual man who knows his doctrine,/ I am, in the best sense of the word, good.// I worship loveliness, and in the modern aesthetics/ I cut the old roses of Ronsard’s orchard,/ but I don’t love the makeups of the present cosmetics,/ neither I am a bird of those of the new gay-chirping (4).// I disdain the romanzas of the hollow tenors/ and the choir of crickets tthat sing to the moon./ I take a halt to distinguish voices from echoes,/ and I’m only listening, among the voices, one.// Am I classic or romantic? Don’t know. I wish to leave/ my verse, as the captain leaves his sword:/ famous by the manly hand that brandished,/ not valued by the learned office of its balcksmith.// I converse with the man who always comes along with me/ –who talks alone hopes to talk with God any day-;/ my soliloquy is chating with this good friend/ that taught me the secret of philantropy.// And after all, I owe you nothing; you owe me all that I wrote./ I come up to my work, with my money I pay/ the suit that coats me and the mansion I dwell,/ the bread that feeds me and the bed where I lie.// And when might come the last trip day,/ and the ship that never shall return were ready to depart,/ aboard lightweight luggage you will find me,/ almost naked, like the children of the sea. 

Antonio Machado, 1906


This translation musts to be taken as an aproximation. Although its simple appearance, Machado’s poems (as any other one) are hard to translate: for that reason, I have choose a simple way instead of a literary one.

* Archaism.

** This is not an ortographical sign, but literary. This diaresis is used in classical Spanish poetry to keep the rythm of the verses, so the hiatus becomes in two syllables.

(1) Miguel Mañara Vicentelo de Leca (Seville, 1627-1679) was a charitable Spanish aristocrat. Due to a kind of testimony by his own with a smear campaign, he got fame o seductive, almost like Don Juan. Antonio and his brother Manuel shall write a play named Miguel Maraña, released in 1927, inspired in the fame of this real character.

(2) Marquis of Bradomín is the main character of Ramóm María del Valle-Inclán tetralogy Sonatas (1902, 1903, 1904 and 1905), that tales the story of this aristocrat who is described as “ugly, catholic and sentimental”. The Marquis of Bradomín, beside incarnate the reactionarism (he is a Carlist), is also a conqueror.

(3) Machado believed he had French ascendancy; beside this, he always was a convinced republican.

(4) Don Antonio never was too friendly to new literary vanguards, neither with a hollow and vain classical poetry. He always thought poetry should be as people as possible.

“Cantares”, poems by Antonio Machado, arranged by J. M. Serrat

I’m with the Spain of poets and workers.

Joan Manuel Serrat, Live in Los Angeles (USA), 1976

antonio machado discOne of the most famous songs of the great songwriter Joan Manuel Serrat, made upon a selection of poems of Antonio Machado. Serrat begun singing his own songs in Catalan, within the songwriters collective Setze Jutges (Sixteen Judges), but, circa 1968 he decided to sing in Spanish too, something that was interpreted by many as a treason and an attempt to earn more money (however, his mother was Aragonese). In the year of 1968, he recorded some EPs in Spanish that were compiled in the 69 Lp, La paloma (“The dove”, being the title of the song writen by Rafael Alberti, with music of Carlos Guastavino, that opened his album); at the same time, upon him was a veto due to the Eurovision affair. But, in spite of this, his monographic LP of that year, was a real succes. Dedicado a Antonio Machado, poeta (Dedicated to Antonio Machado, poet) was an album made of musicalizations of Antonio Machado’s poem, some by him, and other by the Argentinean songwriter, Alberto Cortez (the first in singing Machado’s poem), except the ending song, “En Colliure”, by Serrat, and the opening song, “Cantares”, in which Serrat mixes some of the poems named “Proverbios y cantares” (Proverbs and songs) with lyrics by his own. The song, besides being a homage, try to perform the feeling of Antonio Machado when, in 1939, with the defeating of the Spanish Republic, he went exiled to France (with his mother Ana Ruiz, his brother José, and writer Corpus Barga), when he died some days later.

Note: As usual, I must to advice that the translation of Antonio Machado’s verse musn’t be taken very seriously, but as an aproximation. We write in italic the original Machado’s verses, and, in normal, Serrat’s phrases; the values are subverted in the translation.


Todo pasa y todo queda,
pero lo nuestro es pasar,
pasar haciendo caminos,
caminos sobre el mar.

Nunca perseguí la gloria,
ni dejar en la memoria
de los hombres mi canción;
yo amo los mundos sutiles,
ingrávidos y gentiles,
como pompas de jabón.

Me gusta verlos pintarse
de sol y grana, volar
bajo el cielo azul, temblar
súbitamente y quebrarse…
Nunca perseguí la gloria.

Caminante, son tus huellas
el camino y nada más;
caminante, no hay camino,
se hace camino al andar.

Al andar se hace camino
y al volver la vista atrás
se ve la senda que nunca
se ha de volver a pisar.

Caminante no hay camino
sino estelas en la mar…

Hace algún tiempo en ese lugar
donde hoy los bosques se visten de espinos
se oyó la voz de un poeta gritar:
"Caminante no hay camino,
se hace camino al andar…"

Golpe a golpe, verso a verso…

Murió el poeta lejos del hogar.
Le cubre el polvo de un país vecino.
Al alejarse, le vieron llorar.
"Caminante no hay camino,
se hace camino al andar…"

Golpe a golpe, verso a verso…

Cuando el jilguero no puede cantar.
Cuando el poeta es un peregrino,
cuando de nada nos sirve rezar.
"Caminante no hay camino,
se hace camino al andar…"

Golpe a golpe, verso a verso.


Everything passes and everything remains,/ but ours is to pass,/ to pass making roads,/ roads over the sea. (1)// I never chased glory,/ nor to left on the memory/ of men my song;/ I love the subtle worlds,/ weightless and genteel,/ just like bubble blowers.// I like to see them painting themselves/ in sun and deep red, to fly/ under the blue sky, to tremble/ suddenly and break… (2)/ I never chased glory.// Walker, your footsteps are/ the road and nothing more;/ walker, there’s no road,/ it’s making road as it’s walked.// Walking the road it’s making/ and as it looked back/ it’s seeing the track that never/ shall be stepped again.// Walker there’s no road,/ but trails on the sea… (3)// Some time ago in that place/ where the woods are dressed with hawthorns today,/ was heard a poet’s voice to cry:/ “Walker there’s no road,/ it’s making road as it’s walked…”// Coup by coup, verse by verse…// The poet died far away from his home./ It’s covered with the dust of a negihbor country./ As he was moving away, they see him weeping./ “Walker there’s no road,/ it’s making road as it’s walked…”// Coup by coup, verse by verse…// When the goldfinch cannot sing./ When the poet is a pilgrim,/ when praying has not use at all./ “Walker there’s no road,/ it’s making road as it’s walked…”// Coup by coup, verse by verse.

Antonio Machado/ J. M. Serrat

Music: J. M. Serrat

List of the verses of Antonio Machado (supplied by Wikipedia:

(1) “Proverbios y cantares XLIV”

(2) “Proverbios y cantares I”

(3) “Proverbios y cantares XXIX”

Louis Aragon’s “Les poètes”, sung by Jean Ferrat and Joan Isaac


In 1971, the great French songwriter Jean Ferrat, made a song with this homage to different poets (Antonio Machado, Hölderlin, Paul Verlaine and Marlowe) that wrote the poet Louis Aragon:

Les poètes

Je ne sais ce qui me possède
Et me pousse à dire à voix haute
Ni pour la pitié ni pour l’aide
Ni comme on avouerait ses fautes
Ce qui m’habite et qui m’obsède

Celui qui chante se torture
Quels cris en moi quel animal
Je tue ou quelle créature
Au nom du bien au nom du mal
Seuls le savent ceux qui se turent

Machado dort à Collioure
Trois pas suffirent hors d’Espagne
Que le ciel pour lui se fît lourd
Il s’assit dans cette campagne
Et ferma les yeux pour toujours

Au-dessus des eaux et des plaines
Au-dessus des toits des collines
Un plain-chant monte à gorge pleine
Est-ce vers l’étoile Hölderlin
Est-ce vers l’étoile Verlaine

Marlowe il te faut la taverne
Non pour Faust mais pour y mourir
Entre les tueurs qui te cernent
De leurs poignards et de leurs rires
A la lueur d’une lanterne

Étoiles poussières de flammes
En août qui tombez sur le sol
Tout le ciel cette nuit proclame
L’hécatombe des rossignols
Mais que sait l’univers du drame

La souffrance enfante les songes
Comme une ruche ses abeilles
L’homme crie où son fer le ronge
Et sa plaie engendre un soleil
Plus beau que les anciens mensonges

Je ne sais ce qui me possède
Et me pousse à dire à voix haute
Ni pour la pitié ni pour l’aide
Ni comme on avouerait ses fautes
Ce qui m’habite et qui m’obsède

The poets

I don’t know what’s possessing me/ and move me to call out/ either by mercy nor help/ nor as confessing the faults/ That what is dwelling in me and obsessing me.// Who sings is torturing himself,/what cries are in me, what animal/ I kill, or what creature,/ in the name of good, in the name of evil/ only those wo kept quiet know it.// Machado is sleeping at Collioure/ Three steps were enough to be out of Spain/ sky got heavy for him/ He sat in this field/ and closed his eyes forever.// Over the waters and the plains/ over the roofs and the hills/ a simple singing arise at the top of his voice/ up to the star Hölderlin/ up to the star Verlaine.// Marlowe, you need the tabern/ not for Fausto, but to die within it/ among the killers that sorround you/ with their poniards and their laughings/ at the light of a lantern.// Stars, dust of flames/ that in August you fall to the Earth,/ the entire sky proclaims tonight/ the nightingale hecatomb/ but, what does the Universe know about the drama.// Suffering gives birth to the dreams/ like a hive to the bees/ Man shouts where the iron gawns him/ and his wound engenders a sun/ more beautiful than the ancient lyings.// I don’t know what’s possessing me/ and move me to call out/ either by mercy nor help/ nor as confessing the faults/ That what is dwelling in me and obsessing me.

Louis Aragon

Music by Jean Ferrat

Words and Spanish translation:

(English translation made upon the Spanish translation by me)

In 1977, the Catalan songwriter Joan Isaac made his version, upon the translation and adaptation of Josep Maria Espinàs (ex-songwriter and founder of Setze Jutges). In this version, there are too little changes, being the most significant the change of the poets Hölderlin and Verlain for the Catalan poets Josep Carner and Joan Salvat-Papasseit:

Els poetes

Jo no sé pas què em posseeix
i ara m’impulsa a dir en veu alta
no per pregar pietat ni ajut,
ni per a confessar cap falta
allò que m’omple i m’obsedeix.

Cantar és tortura i és dissort.
Quins crits en mi, quin animal
jo mato o quina criatura
en nom del bé, en nom del mal.
Només ho saben els qui han mort.

Machado a Cotlliure és
només un pas enllà de Roses.
El cel li fou feixuc i gris
però es quedà en aquest país
i, tancà els ulls per sempre més.

Damunt la plana i el serrat,
damunt les aigües i el coster
un cant s’enfila ple d’esclat,
cap a l’estel Josep Carner,
cap a l’estel Joan Salvat.

Estels, sou fets amb pols de flama
quan ve l’agost caieu, caieu
i tot el cel de nit proclama
la mortandat dels rossinyols
però l’univers què en sap del drama.

El dolor dóna als somnis vida
com ho fa el rusc amb les abelles
i l’home crida on rep ferida
i on té la nafra neix un sol
més bell que l’antiga mentida.

Jo no sé pas què em posseeix
i ara m’impulsa a dir en veu alta
no per pregar pietat ni ajut,
ni per a confessar cap falta
allò que m’omple i m’obsedeix.

The poets

I don’t know what’s possessing me/ and move me now to say aloud/ –not for supplicate mercy or help/ nor confessing any fault-/ that what’s fills and obsesses me.// To sing is torment and misery/ What cries are in me, what animal/ I kill whatever creature/ in the name of good, in the name of evil./ Only those who died know it.// Machado is at Collioure,/ just some steps beyond Rosas./ Sky was grievous and grey for him,/ but he stood in this country/ and closed his eyes forevermore.// Over the plain and the mountain range,/ over the waters and the shore/ a song arises full with light,/ up to the star Josep Carner,/ up to the star Joan Salvat.// Stars, you are made of dust of flame/ when august comes you fall, fall/ and the whole night sky proclaims/ the mortality of the nightingales/ but what does the Universe know about the drama.// Pain gives life to the dreams/ just like the hive does with the bees/ and the man shouts where he gets his wound/ and where he has the crust a sun borns/ more beautiful than the ancient lie.

Translation and adaptation by Josep Maria Espinàs

Spanish translation, made by José Manuel Caballero Bonald:

Casares’ “Poema de emerxencia para Antonio Machado”, sung by Xerardo Moscoso

1177496630173_IP_Voces_Ceibes_Página_12_Imagen_0002Xerardo Moscoso was a Mexican-Galician songwriter, member of the Galician songwriter colective Voces Ceibes. Born in Mexico as a son of Galician emigrants, he came to Lugo to study, and then, joined Voces Ceibes. In 1973 is threatened by a Falangist (Nota Bene: a Falangist -Sp. falangista- is a member of the extreme-right party Falange Española, or of the unique party of the dictatorship Falange Española Tradicionalista y de las JONS); when he went to make a denounce to police, he is intimidated by them, due to his political filiation. So he decided to go out bound to Switzerland. He went back in 1976 to Spain, but is denounced after a concert with Paco Ibáñez in Vigo, and, as he had the Mexican citizenship, and, although he tried, the Francoist authorities denied him the double citizenship, he is forced to leave Spain; so he come back to Mexico. Nowadays, he runs in Mexico –where he lives- the Theater group La Gaviota.

xerardo 2Xerardo’s musical career is not too long (due to all those things and others): just two Eps, circa 1968, and one LP, Acción Galega (Galician Action), recorded in Switzerland and published in 1977. In the second of his EPs, Xerardo sings a poem called “Poema de emerxencia para Antonio Machado”, a thrilling poem dedicated to the great Spanish poet, die in exile at the French village of Collioure, symbol of the defeated Republican democracy and culture, as well as an example for those artists that want to make of their art a cry of justice and freedom. The poem is writen by Casares: I honestly must admit that I don’t know who is this poet yet, not even if he wrote in Galician or in Spanish.

Listen the song:

Poema de emerxencia para Antonio Machado

Eiquí silencio,
ó norte Colliure
i unha morte que enxendra
corazóns prá libertade.

O milagre dun pobo
ente de amor,
o calor da tua cinza
que ente que nos ergue
contra perezosos tempos.

Na terra da charanga e dos pandeiros
Hai unha espranza que inda agarda
encher de futuro iste silencio.

Emergency poem for Antonio Machado

Here silence,/ at north Collioure/ and a dead that engenders/ hearts for the freedom.// The miracle of a people/ entity of love,/ the heat of your ash/ that is entity that raises us/ against lazy times.// In the land of charanga and of tambourines*/ there is a hope that still awaits/ fill up with future this silence.

Lyric: Casares

Musci: Xerardo Moscoso

* This verse is a reference to Machado’s poem “El mañana efímero” (The fleeting morning), where he begins saying: “The Spain of charanga and tambourine…” (approximate translation)

Spanish translation:

Pablo Neruda’s “Para mi corazón basta tu pecho”, sung by Paco Ibáñez

Paco canta NerudaThis is a very beautiful musicalization of Pablo Neruda’s poem number 12, of his Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair, made by the great songwriter Paco Ibáñez, acompanied by the Argentine Cuarteto Cedrón, recorded on an album of 1977 Paco Ibáñez canta a Pablo Neruda (“… sings Pablo Neruda”), a record that seems to be lost in his discography.

And now the usual note when I translate the great poets: this “translation” must be taken just like an aproximation.


(Para mi corazón basta tu pecho)

Para mi corazón basta tu pecho,
para tu libertad bastan mis alas.
Desde mi boca llegará hasta el cielo
lo que estaba dormido sobre tu alma.

Es en ti la ilusión de cada día.
Llegas como el rocío a las corolas.
Socavas el horizonte con tu ausencia.
Eternamente en fuga como la ola.

He dicho que cantabas en el viento
como los pinos y como los mástiles.
Como ellos eres alta y taciturna.
Y entristeces de pronto, como un viaje.

Acogedora como un viejo camino.
Te pueblan ecos y voces nostálgicas.
Yo desperté y a veces emigran y huyen
pájaros que dormían en tu alma.

(For my heart your breast is enough)

For my heart your breast is enough,/ for your freedom my wings are enough./ From my mouth shall reach for the sky/ that what was sleeping upon your soul.// It’s in you the hope of every day./ You come just like the dew to the corollas./ You undermine the horizon with your absence./ Eternally on the run just like the wave.// I’ve said that you were singing in the wind/ like the pine trees and like the masts./ Just like them, you are tall and taciturn./ And suddenly you grow sad, like a travel.// Homely like an old road./ Echoes and nostalgic voices prove you./ I woke up and sometimes the birds that were sleeping in your soul/ migrate and run away.

Pablo Neruda

Barcelona, March 2012

“El agua en sus cabellos”, a Antonio machado’s poem sung by Hilario Camacho

Hilario Camacho - De PasoHilario Camacho was one of the most personal and original Spanish songwriters. He begun in the collective from Madrid Canción del Pueblo (People’s Song), and his first EP, with musicalization of two poems of the Cuban poet Nicolás guillén, was in the way of the classic protest song (musical soberty, explicit –the more they might be- lyrics, etc.)… But after a travel across some countries of Europe, and after his military service, he started to do other kind of songs in 1972: more dylanesque folk-rock style and psichedely; a lyrics less “political”, but comitted, in his way, with reality (and anti-francoism). The most of Camacho’s lyrics are writen by his own hand (some of them, given to other friends singers), but he liked to musicalize some of the dearest poets by the Spanish songwriters too (he even was the one who adapated and musicalized poet Allen Ginsberg), as it was this case, of his 1975 album De paso (Passing through), where he sings this poem of Antonio Machado (from Soledades. Galerías. Otros poemas 1907), in a sweet folk-rock style:


[El agua en sus cabellos]

Desgarrada la nube; el arco iris
brillando ya en el cielo,
y en un fanal de lluvia
y sol el campo envuelto.
    Desperté. ¿Quién enturbia
los mágicos cristales de mi sueño?
Mi corazón latía
atónito y disperso.
    …¡El limonar florido,
el cipresal del huerto,
el prado verde, el sol, el agua, el iris!
¡el agua en tus cabellos!…
Y todo en la memoria se perdía
como una pompa de jabón al viento.


[Water on her hair]

Teared up the cloud; the rainbow/ shining now in the sky,/ and in a bell jar of rain/ and sun the field is covered./ I woke up. Who is disturbing/ the magic crystals of my dream?*/ My heart was beating/ amazed and dispersed./ … The flowery lemon place,/ the cypress grove in the orchard,/ the green meadow, the sun, the water, the iris!/ the water on your hair!…/ And everything in the memory was losing away/ as a bubble in the wind.

Antonio Machado

* There are too little variations between the original version and Hilario’s. This is the only that deserves to be noticed: where Hilario sings “¿Quién enturbia ya mi sueño?”, so “Who is disturbing now my dream?”.

Miquel Porter’s “Lletania”, a lost song sung by J. M. Serrat

The Els Setze Jutges' 1st poster: Remei Marguerit, Miquel Porter, Delfí Abella, Josep Maria Espinàs & Pi de la SerraProbably it was at the beginnings of 60s when three members of the Setze Jutges (Cat. “Sixteen Judges”), Miquel Porter (singer and songwriter), Lluís Serrahima and Jaume Armengol (musician) wrote this curious and risky song: it’s a song that tells the recent Spanish history as it was a travel in train. However, the lyric was too clear, and therefore, too risky to even try record it (censorship never would allow it)… And the song stayed forgoten til 1996, when Joan Manuel Serrat recorded the soundtrack of D’un temps, d’un país (“Of a time, of a country”, title of a Raimon’s song, included on the LP): a record where the great Catalan songwriter makes covers of some of the most emblematic songs of the Nova Cançó Catalana (Cat. Catalan New Song): from the sobriety of Setze Jutges to the experiments of the movement Música Laietana, passing through the folksingers and folk groups. This is a lesson of History:


Tot canvia, res canvia,
mira el tren, mira la via.
Si t’ho penses i bé observes,
ja sabràs filosofia.

Mil discursos, pocs recursos,
és el pa de cada dia.
Sols Espanya, qui ho diria,
vol ser sola i no canvia.

Monarquia, oligarquia,
dictadura, cara dura.
Barret frigi sens prestigi
i després vingué el prodigi.

Una guerra que ho esguerra
i un cabdill que adoptà un fill:
un jove de molta empenta
a qui li faltava un grill.

Hi ha feixistes i papistes,
i un grapat de llargues llistes,
rabassaires, mercenaris
i gents que resa rosaris.

Hi ha carlistes i marxistes,
i també alguns optimistes,
policies i espies,
i gent que no té manies.

I "la no intervención"
i "los del Real Perdón".

I segueix la llarga cursa,
que s’allarga i que s’escurça,
de corsaris i falsaris,
i visites a altres barris.

Els que passen la frontera
fent el salt de la pantera,
ben folrada la cartera,
foten "tiros" pel darrera.

Les rates de sagristia,
considerada gent pia,
i, ¡ai vés qui ho diria!,
fins i tots la meva tia.

I segueix la lletania
de l’amor, la mort i els dies.


D'un tempsEverything changes, nothing changes,/ look at the train, look at the railway./ If you think about it and you watch well,/ you shall know philosophy.// A thousand of speeches, little resources,/ that’s our daily bread./ Only Spain, who would have thought,/ wants to be alone and is not changing (1).// Monarchy, oligarchy,/ dictatorship, cheeky,/ Phrygian cap (2) without prestige/ and later came the prodigy (3).// A war that spoil it,/ a chieftain (4) that adopted a child:/ a young man with a lot of spirit/ who had a crew loose.// There are Fascists and Papists,/ and a bunch of large lists,/ landlords (5), mercenaries/ and folks who say the rosary.// There are Carlists and Marxists,/ and also some optimistists,/ policemen and spies,/ and people that has no shame.// And the “Non Intervention”/ and those of the “Royal Pardon”.// And continues the large curve,/ lenghtening and shortening,/ of corsairs and forgers,/ and visits to other neighbourhoods.// Those that cross the border/ do the panther’s jump,/ the wallet well covered,/ *fuck the shooting behind*.// The sacristy rats,/ considered as pious folks,/ and, you see who would have thought!,/ even my aunt.// And continues the litany/ of the love, the death and the days.

Miquel Porter – Lluís Serrahima – Jaume Armengol

(1) After the defeated of the Axis countries in the II World War, Franco’s was the only standing “allie” of Germany (see During a time, Franco wished to be in peace with the winners, but in front of the threats of some democratic and socialist countries, and, in the other side, the demanding of a change into a more democratic regime, the dictator summoned to great shows of patriotism against foreigner intereferences, although at the same time, he made a little changes… Later, with the US president Eisenhower’s visit to Spain, the Francoist regime was, finally, recognized by the Nations Society.

(2) As in other countries, the Phrygian cap was the symbol of Republican and, also, Catalanists.

(3) These lines describes the last days of Alphons XIII’s reign, that, due to the national troubles, took place to the General Miguel Primo de Rivera’s dictatorship (1923-1930), and finally the advent of the II Spanish Republic.

(4) It’s not casual that the word used is cabdill, “caudillo” in Spanish: that was Franco’s sobriquet, equivalent to German Führer and Italian Duce.

(5) The Catalan landlords, cat. rabassaires, were opnely conservatives.

And here’s Joan Manuel, alive with buddy Francesc “Quico” Pi de la Serra, in the 2009 concert Luchando contra la desmemoria (Fighting against forgetfulness):

Translation to Spanish:

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