The Color of Hope

This has been a family favorite for some time.  The song took the Spanish-speaking world by storm a few years ago.  Here’s the MTV Unplugged version from 2004, performed in Buenos Aires.

The Cowboy gave a lecture last week on geographic variations in the Spanish language and the influences of immigration and indigenous peoples on the development thereof. He played this music at the end of the lecture to highlight the societal and historical differences, various influences, and distinct forms of cultural miscegenation that are present in the Spanish-speaking world. It may not be the best of examples, but it’s not a bad one either.

In a musical style that many would define simply as “Latin”, we have an Argentine artist singing a song popular throughout the Spanish-speaking world, using Spanish and Portuguese, a samba rhythm, and a self-described afro-reggae drumming ensemble . “Latin Culture” as a generalization is certainly useful, but only if it is applied with a full understanding of the underlying complexities. In the lecture, the Cowboy promised an explanation and lyrics, so here we go.

The song was released in the height of the economic crisis that struck Argentina in the early part of the decade. The Cowboy was active in Argentina before, during and after the crisis. Things were grim. And remember, at the beginning of the twentieth century Argentina was one of the wealthiest countries in the world. Talk about regrets, cynicism and despair…

Riots at banks were commonplace, and foreign financial institutions and the IMF were popularly blamed for the crisis.  Economists still debate the true causes – rough waters that the Cowboy won’t try to ford today.  But here’s an interesting aside.  Note that the bank in the picture is an office of Banco Francés, or “French Bank”.  The bank was founded in 1886 and formerly owned by Credit Lyonnais of France, hence the name.  Banco Francés was sold to the Spanish bank BBVA in 1999.  So here you have Argentines protesting at one of the oldest banks in the country, named after French owners, currently owned by a Spanish institution, whose doors have been closed by the Argentine government.  A financial crisis coupled with popular fears of globalization.  Sound familiar?

In the video, Diego is joined by a group of young drummers from a drumming school called La Chilinga.  The school was inspired by the Brazilian organization AfroReggae and the work of its founder, Anderson Sá, a former drug trafficker.  Sá was profiled in the documentary Favela Rising, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2005.  In the style of AfroReggae, La Chilinga has a significant social program, offering scholarships to underprivileged children.

Which brings us back to despair.  Amidst troubled times, whether personal, national or global, it is good to be reminded that you have to keep trying.  And once you start singing, your soul really will fly.

Sé que hay en tus ojos con solo mirar,
que estas cansado de andar y de andar
y caminar, girando siempre en un lugar

 

Sé que las ventanas se pueden abrir,
cambiar el aire depende de ti,
te ayudará
vale la pena una vez más.

Saber que se puede,
querer que se pueda.
Quitarse los miedos,
sacarlos afuera.
Pintarse la cara color esperanza,
tentar al futuro con el corazón.

Es mejor perderse que nunca embarcar,
mejor tentarse a dejar de intentar,
aunque ya ves que no es tan fácil empezar.

Sé que lo imposible se puede lograr,
que la tristeza algún día se irá,
y así sera,
la vida cambia y cambiará.

Sentirás que el alma vuela
por cantar una vez más

Saber que se puede,
querer que se pueda.
Quitarse los miedos,
sacarlos afuera.
Pintarse la cara color esperanza,
tentar al futuro con el corazón.

Saber que se puede,
querer que se pueda.
Quitarse los miedos,
sacarlos afuera.
Pintarse la cara color esperanza,
tentar al futuro con el corazón.

Vale más poder brillar
que solo buscar ver el sol.

Pintarse la cara color esperanza,
tentar al futuro con el corazón

Saber que se puede…
Querer que se pueda…
Pintarse la cara color esperanza,
tentar al futuro con el corazón.

Vale más poder brillar
Que solo buscar ver el sol.

I know what’s in your eyes just by looking,
that you are tired of going and going
and walking, always circling in one place.

 

I know that windows can be opened,
changing the air depends on you,
it will help you,
it’s worth one more time.

To know you can do it,
to want to be able to do it.
To get rid of your fears,
to put them outside.
To paint one’s face with the color of hope,
to tempt the future with one’s heart.

It’s better to get lost than to never embark,
better to tempt oneself than to stop trying,
even though you see it’s not so easy to begin.

I know that the impossible can be achieved,
that sadness some day will go away,
and that’s how it will be,
life changes and it will change.

You will feel that the soul flies,
for singing one more time.

To know you can do it,
to want to be able to do it.
To get rid of your fears,
to put them outside.
To paint one’s face with the color of hope,
to tempt the future with one’s heart.

To know you can do it,
to want to be able to do it.
To get rid of your fears,
to put them outside.
To paint one’s face with the color of hope,
to tempt the future with one’s heart.

It’s better to be able to shine
Than to just try to see the sun

To paint one’s face with the color of hope,
to tempt the future with one’s heart.

To know you can do it,
to want to be able to do it.
To paint one’s face with the color of hope,
to tempt the future with one’s heart.

It’s better to be able to shine
Than to just try to see the sun.

Translation by the Cowboy.

However unlikely, one person can make a difference, change does occur, and things can improve. La vida cambia y cambiará.

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Published in: on July 10, 2009 at 16:00  Comments Off on The Color of Hope  
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