1. Que me cuentan, seguidores? Today we’re back for song of the day with a great track by Nicaraguan musical legend Carlos Mejia Godoy, called “La Tumba del Guerrillero” [The Guerrilla’s Grave]. Somehow, I’ve had this on my computer for months and just heard it for the first time today. Anyway, it’s an awesome song and I hope you enjoy it. If you want to check out past episodes of this segment, click here.

    At this point, you may be asking yourself who this Carlos Mejia Godoy character is. Well, perhaps I should tell you. He is probably the most well-known figure in Nicaraguan folk music, and his songs were very strongly associated with the Frente Sandinista de Liberacion Nacional political movement. Many of his albums from the 1970s celebrated the Sandinista Army’s exploits against the national army of dictator Anastasio Somoza Debayle, as well as the campesino way of life common to areas under Sandinista control.

    It is difficult to tell how much the Revolution owes to the songs of Carlos Mejia Godoy, which were able to organize a collective sentiment among the people, extracting the themes and chords from our deepest roots and preparing this sentiment for the struggle. -Sergio Ramirez Mercado

    Mejia Godoy continued to be instrumental to the Revolution even after its victory in 1979, by helping to build enthusiasm for mass campaigns, such as the National Literacy Crusade. While he later distanced himself from the degeneration of the FSLN, he has continued to uphold the intent and goals of the ‘79 Revolution, singing his songs of the era to this day. In 2006 he ran for Vice President with Edmundo Jarquin on the MRS (Sandinista Renovation Movement) ticket, though they didn’t fare too well, gaining only 6.29%. Daniel Ortega's FSLN, which won 37.99%, emerged victorious and occupied the presidency for the first time since 1990.

    Fun fact: Carlos Mejia Godoy’s son, Camilo Mejia, is a well known former US soldier and conscientious objector to the Iraq War.

    This particular song isn’t incredibly characteristic of most Nicaraguan nueva cancion, which often features more accordion and marimba (the latter highlighting the African influence on Nicaraguan sound), so it’s difficult to point out any particular national features. If you’d like a better idea of the instrumentation used for this song, here is a video of the live version from a concert at Casa de los Mejia Godoy where you can see what is in use.

    "La Tumba del Guerrillero" is a hymn dedicated to martyrs of the Sandinista revolution, who had died in battle and had their graves hidden from their families and friends by the government. As always, the lyrics are provided in English and Spanish for your convenience. Enjoy!

    SPANISH:

    La tumba del guerrillero
    dónde, dónde, dónde está
    su madre está preguntando
    nadie le responderá
    la tumba del guerrillero
    dónde, dónde, dónde está
    el pueblo está preguntando
    algún día lo sabrá.

    Guerrillero, vos surgis en ríos
    montes y praderas
    en el viento que mece el chinchorro
    del hijo del Juan
    en las manos humildes y toscas
    de la vivandera
    en la Milpa donde el campesino
    busca y busca el pan.
    Como dijo el poeta trapense
    de Solentiname
    no quisieron decirnos el sitio
    donde te encontrás
    y por eso tu tumba es todito
    nuestro territorio
    en cada palmo de mi Nicaragua
    ahí vos estás.

    CORO

    Guerrillero, vos nacés de nuevo
    en la carabina
    en los bronquios de Pedro el minero
    que en Siuna murió
    en los ojos de los miserables que en Acahualinca
    aún espera sedientos
    la aurora de la rendición.
    Como dijo el poeta trapense
    de Solentiname
    no quisieron decirnos el sitio
    donde te encontrás
    y por eso tu tumba es todito
    nuestro territorio
    en cada palmo de mi Nicaragua
    ahí vos estás.

    CORO

    ENGLISH:

    The grave of the guerrilla,
    where, where, where is it?
    His mother is asking,
    nobody responds to her
    The grave of the guerrilla,
    where, where where is it?
    The people are asking,
    One day they will know.

    Guerrilla, you arise in rivers,
    mountains and prairies
    In the wind that rocks the hammock
    of Juan’s son
    In the humble and rough hands
    of the sutler*
    In the cornfield where the peasant
    is looking for food
    As was said by the Trappist poet
    of Solentiname,
    they did not want to tell us the place
    where you are to be found
    Which is why your grave
    is our entire country,
    in every inch of my Nicaragua,
    there you are

    CHORUS

    Guerrilla, you are reborn
    in our rifles,
    in the lungs of Pedro the miner
    who died in Siuna
    In the eyes of the miserable ones,
    that in Acahualinca remain thirsty,
    waiting for the dawn of surrender
    As was said by the Trappist poet
    of Solentiname,
    they did not want to tell us the place
    where you are to be found
    Which is why the grave
    is our entire country;
    in every inch of my Nicaragua,
    there you are

    CHORUS

    *A sutler (in Spanish, vivandera) is, apparently, somebody who provides provisions to soldiers in battle.

     
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