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A Voice in the Wilderness

As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there's a twilight where everything remains seemingly unchanged, and it is in such twilight that we must be aware of change in the air, however slight, lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness. -- William O. Douglas

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Ibrahim Ferrer - Amor Verdadero



Cuban musician, Ibrahim Ferrer passed away yesterday. He became famous in the United States after Ry Cooder's Buena Vista Social Club documentary re-introduced America and the world to 40's & 50's Afro-Cuban genre of music.

The Buena Vista Social Club won a 1997 Grammy for the Album.


Amor Verdadero - guajira-son - lyrics
True Love - Peasant Girl Tune
Afro Cuban Allstars

Guajira! El son te llama, a bailar, a gozar!
Peasant girl! The tune calls you, to dance, to enjoy!
Guajira! El son te llama, a bailar, a gozar!
Peasant girl! The tune calls you, to dance, to enjoy!

Amigo pide otra copa, caramba,
Friend, ask for another cup, Good heavens!
Qué este cantor le convida.
Which this singer offers you to partake of.
Que aunque a ustedes no le importa
That although it is of no importance to you,
Voy a hacerles la historia de mi vida.
I am going to tell you all the story of my life.


Amé mucho a una mujer
I once loved a woman very much.
De mi alma la más querida
Of everything in my soul, she was the most beloved.
Me traicionó la perdida, Caramba
That lost woman betrayed me, Good heavens!
Que ingrato y mal proceder
What an ungreatful and bad way to behave.


Ella me hizo beber
She drove me to drinking.
Ella me hizo un perdido
She made me a lost one.
A la droga me tiré, amigo mío,
I threw myself to drugs, my friend,
y a la cárcel fui llevado
and to the jail I was taken.


Los amigos me olvidaron
The friends forgot me
Sólo mi madre lloraba
Only my mother cried
A Dios pedía y rogaba
She begged and prayed to God
Que salvara su hijo.
That he would save her son.


Recuerden lo que les digo
Remember what I tell you all,
que en la prisión y en la cama
that when we are in prison and bedridden,
Sólo nuestra madre nos ama, Caramba!
Only our mother loves us, Good heavens!
No hay dinero, no hay amigos
[Where] there is no money, there are no friends.
Linda guajira, mi son te llama!
Beautiful peasant girl, my tune calls you!
Guajira! El son te llama, a bailar, a gozar!
Peasant girl! The tune calls you, to dance, to enjoy!
[Instrumental]
Guajira! El son te llama, a bailar, a gozar!
Peasant girl! The tune calls you, to dance, to enjoy!

Y al piano Don Rubén González.
And at the piano, Don Rubén González.

[piano solo]

Oiga compay! Mire quien viene por allí?
Hey friend! Look who is coming over there?

Compay Barbarito Torres.
[guitar solo]
Guajira! El son te llama, a bailar, a gozar!
Peasant girl! The tune calls you, to dance, to enjoy!
Las dos palabras que más
The two words that most
me llenan de regocijo
fill me with joy
es cuando me dicen hijo, es cuando digo...
is when I’m called, ‘son,’ it’s when I say...

Mamá.

Guajira! El son te llama, a bailar, a gozar!
Peasant girl! The tune calls you, to dance, to enjoy!

La madre es un surtidor
The mother is a fountain
de miel que nunca cierra.
of honey that is without end.
Es un astro de la tierra.
She is a star of the Earth.
Brilla mucho más que el sol.
She shines even more than the sun.


Guajira! El son te llama, a bailar, a gozar!
Peasant girl! The tune calls you, to dance, to enjoy!

No le teme a la negrura
I am not fearful of the darkness,
del vicio y todo su espanto.
of the vice and the fear it brings.
Pienso en mi madre
I think of my mother
y su encanto me cubre con su ternura
and her enchantment covers me with her tenderness.


9 Comments:

At Mon Aug 08, 12:05:00 PM MDT, Blogger Beaver said...

I never heard of him before, though I do enjoy cuban music... Will check him out.

He has a wonderful face, with sparling eyes full of gentleness and kindess. Looks like a person who had a rich and fulfilling life. I hope my eyes carry the same light when I get to that age.

 
At Mon Aug 08, 02:30:00 PM MDT, Blogger Legend In My Own Mind said...

J-

I have the "Buena Vista Social Club" disk. It's a wonderful piece of "son" music. Lots of people think that "Buena Vista Social Club" is the name of a band but it was, as you said, the name of the documentary by Ry Cooder and Juan de Marcos Gonzales. After winning a grammy and becoming so popular, Ibrahim Ferrer, Ruben Gonzalez and most of the others, went on to play as the "Buena Vista Social Club" at different venues. I wish I could have seen these old-timers live (I think all, except for one, were in their 70's).

 
At Mon Aug 08, 08:25:00 PM MDT, Blogger Liquidplastic said...

J,
Is there anything you don't know? I am really getting educated here, not only by your post, but the comments too ... and I appreicate it. When I visit your blog I have to do research so I can keep up with you. Thanks for sharing this.

 
At Tue Aug 09, 07:53:00 AM MDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello,

I have absolutely loved my "Buena Vista Social Club" CD for many years...I never get tired of listening to this music..

Glad you're back after a few days off.

Eugenia

 
At Tue Aug 09, 08:23:00 AM MDT, Blogger The Voice said...

Beaver,

Try the Afro Cuban Allstars -they are nothing short of awesome.

Legend,

Thanks for keeping me honest - now what about some new pics? I hope all is well with you.

Amias,

Thank you for your kind words and thank you especially for your ample heart.

Eugenia,

You do not know how exhilirating it is to see your comment. I was bginning to wonder if you had fallen off the face of the planet.

Thank you all for posting. I appreciate your kindness and thoughtfulness.

J

 
At Tue Aug 09, 05:15:00 PM MDT, Blogger Legend In My Own Mind said...

J-
There are a few new pics. Check them out on my site.

 
At Tue Aug 09, 10:01:00 PM MDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the elegant, thoughtful post on Ibrahim Ferrer, a true universal great of the Cuban music scene. I am so sad at his passing.

Your fine post is so much more edifying than that of a certain someone who claims to be half-Cuban but on this day as Ferrer is laid to rest, is more interested in blogging about botoxing her armpits.

I'm not even kidding.

 
At Wed Aug 10, 10:51:00 AM MDT, Blogger The Voice said...

Anonymous,

I will be posting this reponse but I want you to know it is you and your thoughts i am thinking about as i have posted it. Thank you.

For me Ibrahim Ferrer's life is a wonderful example of a man who lived and died being true to himself. He represented hope and all that is good.

He was born in Cuba, became a musician and lived to see two radically different forms of government. In spite of it all, he was a musician.

It is my understanding that when Ry Cooder approached him, he was not even performing anymore but he was poor. So, he decided to take up Cooder's offer and so he began to play his music again. Thank heaven he did because he re-awakened a consciousness about Cuba that had long lay dormant in America due to mistrust, hatred and misunderstanding.

The wounds with Cuba are deep for America and the expatriates who were forced to leave Cuba after Fidel came to power. I have mixed feelings about it all because while Fidel's government is something I do not completely agree with, I understand his idealistic belief in distributing the wealth. It is evident he had tremendous hatred for American business interests which he felt were literally taking advantage of Cuba's beauty and treating her like a whore – buying her, using her and ignoring her suffering.

Fidel’s reaction to America was but an omen of how other third world people would react toward to the US in time. Viet Nam, Iran, El Salvador and many other nations began to stand up against the US business interests and the results have proven to be a steady decline in world opinion. America is fast becoming the only nation that believes itself to be a defender of freedom. Pursuant to the latest international fiasco – Iraq - other nations are now openly gearing themselves up for nuclear warfare and they identify America as the foe which one day will target them for invasion. Paranoia makes no logical sense but it is the reality we are now left to deal with in the wake of America’s recent neo-conservative fervor.

That being said, Fidel's approach toward injustice led to more injustice. Many souls have suffered and perished under his social experiment. All I can say is that regardless of which government or despot, there will always be poor people. They suffer equally regardless of who is in control. Poor people starve and die every day on this planet. If we are to believe UNICEF, 30,000 children alone die every day on the planet. Because of that, I am left to wonder about the insanity that we, as a society, engage in as we pursue out own selfish interests. Such realizations are enough to make anyone go mad. Sometimes I wish I could forget it all but, I am not lucky enough to have lost my mind and so I worry. I just cannot get it out of my head.

Like words, music reaches beyond borders straight into people's souls. The power of Ferrer's music lay dormant because of circumstance not choice. Very late in his life, he was presented with an opportunity and he took it. To his credit, he played what he felt and the commercial success followed.

I am not certain whether you followed my Ziggy Marley post featuring his song, "True to Myself." I picked that song because it accurately reflects how I feel about life. While I do not consider myself an artist, I think it reflects what should be the clarion call to every gifted artist on the planet because their words and music transcend arbitrarily constructed boundaries of ideology, religion and nationalism.

Now, regarding personal success; if we are true to our calling, then we cannot help but be successful. My caution at this point is that we not consider financial success with personal success. In my lifetime, I have met people who were rich beyond measure and yet did not own anything but the clothes on their backs.

The way I see it, our lives are limited to a few hundred thousand heart beats. They tick toward a certain end regardless of what we do - or choose not to do. It makes sense to me that if we live our lives with true meaning – seeking to be of service to humanity – then our existence on this big blue ball has not been a waste. Those things that detract from our true purpose in life are nothing more than distractions which will, in the final accounting show up as completely worthless despite whatever value they carry in this Earthly life.

The people whom I most admire throughout history are those who not even the universe could put parentheses around. They include; Jesus, Mohammed, The Buddha, St. Francis of Assisi, Gandhi, Lincoln, Sojourner Truth, John Sullivan, Susan B. Anthony, FDR, Martin Luther King, John and Robert Kennedy, Lech Walesa, Nelson Mandela, Maya Angelou, Isabel Allende, my mother, my father and so many others. They most assuredly all have their flaws but they’ve remained devoted to their causes and that endures undisputedly as their sign of greatness.

Ultimately, our lives are our own and we get to live them as we choose – unless that is if we are starving to death or living in fear of death and under tyranny. I bear no ill will toward anyone and wish every being on this planet peace. I refuse to waste even one of my limited heartbeats with bitterness. I will continue to hope that everyone on this planet one day wakes up from this sleep which blinds us all to the unnecessary suffering and injustice.

May we all have the courage and strength to live as honestly and kindly as Ibrahim Ferrer and may he rest in peace.

 
At Mon Jun 26, 02:08:00 AM MDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

me parece muy bien que hayas traducido la cancion al inglés. Así todo el mundo podrá admirar las canciones divinas de buena vista social club. Vero.

 

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