Friday, May 29, 2015

Latin America, The Other Spain

Latin America, "La Otra España," as the Spanish band Mocedades called it, is a vast and varied place.  The Southern Cone enjoys German and Italian influence, Incas still live in the Andes and speak Quechua, Suriname speaks Dutch, it's French in Guiana, English in Guyana and Belize, and Portuguese is the language of Brazil.

I spent many years in different parts of Central and South America, and I look back fondly on those times.  Regardless of Ducky's suspicions, I didn't do anything bad there...  Well, not like, CIA bad...

There's a lot more to Latin America than Mexico and mariachis.  Central America and the Caribbean move to the rhythms of merengue and salsa.  Cross down into Colombia and the Salsa and Merengue are still there, but now you're in Vallenato and Cumbia territory, and you'll also hear acoustic guitar and charango-driven folk music like Protesta, Trova and Andina.  Latin America is a beautiful patchwork of tastes, aromas, sights, and sounds. 

Mocedades - La Otra España
People all over Latin America also listen to Spanish Language Top 40, produced by artists from all over the Spanish Speaking world. 

Mocedades, a band from Spain, wrote and performed a beautiful song back in the 70's that cleverly describes Spaniards leaving Spain, arriving in the Americas, and adapting their dress, music and traditions to the new world, which became "The Other Spain," or "Another Spain," but with different aromas and rhythms.

Here's the song.  I put this montage together because I didn't like any of the ones on YouTube.  I took some of the pictures myself, but they all remind me of the places I've been.

Here are the lyrics, they don't sound very poetic in English.

The Other Spain

With a wide-brimmed hat
and a carnation in his lapel,
a Mr. Juan went off to sea.
With land behind him
adventure in his eyes
his guitar and song
oh sailor, oh sailor.

From his cape, he made a poncho
of his guitar, a charango, [ a type of guitar]
from his land, another sea.

You're the other 'Spain'
which smells like sugarcane, tobacco, and pitch [tar]
You are the lazy one
with golden skin, the seafarer [a synonym for boat here]
oh oh oh seafarer, oh oh oh seafarer.

Between the guitar notes
he spoke to them of his land
of a carnation and a balcony
where a child still weeps
waiting for the one, that on one day
[he] forgot to say goodbye.
oh sailor, oh sailor.

Source: La Otra España - Translated

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