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Friday Night Is Music Night: Sudamericanos, by JD

Friday, February 17, 2017 10:08
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This week we have a Latin American flavour! (Programme notes at the end.)


“Girl from Ipanema” (Garota de Ipanema) was written by Antônio Carlos Jobim in 1962 with lyrics by Vinicius de Moraes. It is thought to be the second most recorded pop song in history, second only to Paul McCarthey’s “Yesterday” The English lyrics were added later. According to a recent BBC programme about the song Moraes hated the English translation as it turned the girl into an object of lust where the Portuguese lyric was all about ‘this vision of grace’ Here is a good explanation of the difference between the two-

Violetta Parra was a Chilean singer and songwriter whose most famous song was “Gracias a la Vida”

“Alfonsina y el mar” was written by Ariel Ramírez with lyrics by Félix Luna. Ramírez plays piano here for Mercedes Sosa. The song is about Argentina’s most famous poet Alfonsina Storni who committed suicide in the Mar del Plata. She had incurable breast cancer so took that option instead of living in pain for years. “Although her biographers hold that she jumped into the water from a breakwater, popular legend is that she slowly walked out to sea until she drowned.” The lyrics of the song reflect that legend.

I was intruduced to the music of Mercedes Sosa by my (ex) wife many years ago and I have loved it ever since. Sosa was a huge star in the Spanish speaking world and was admired and respected by musicians all over the world to the point where she recorded with the likes of Joan Baez, Luciano Pavarotti and even Shakira!

Mercedes Sosa’s funeral was broadcast live on Argentine TV and the song “Alfonsina y el mar” was sung and played there.


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