LUIS ENRIQUE MEJÍA GODOY - YO SOY DE UN PUEBLO SENCILLO [NICARAGUA, 1983]
“I come from a people who are as simple as the name John,
simple like the love I offer, simple like the love they give me.”
It turns out I did have time to write and post something tonight!
I’ve posted a decent number of songs over the past few months, all of which I think have all been well worth listening to. If there’s going to be any one song lately that I think you absolutely shouldn’t miss, however, it’s this one. It may not be all that impressive musically, but the phenomenal lyrics and hopeful tone will make up for any other shortcomings you may notice.
Translated into English as I Come From a Simple People, this is a song and album from 1983 by Luis Enrique Mejia Godoy. Along with his older brother Carlos, Mejia Godoy was at the forefront of the new cultural movement developed in Nicaragua during the 1980s, taking place under the revolutionary government of the Frente Sandinista de Liberacion Nacional (FSLN). The music of the Mejia Godoy brothers and their respective bands, Mancotal with Luis Enrique and Los de Palacagüina with Carlos, was instrumental in popularizing the revolutionary struggle of the FSLN in the years preceding the 1979 insurrection that forced out Anastasio Somoza Debayle from power. As early as 1972, Luis Enrique was singing songs glorifying Augusto Sandino (see Alla Va el General), the Nicaraguan rogue general whose Ejercito Defensor de la Soberania Nacional (EDSN) led a 6 year resistance to U.S. occupation between 1927-1933 and whose legacy was, at that time, unequivocally associated with the FSLN.
In 1979, in conjunction with the nationwide insurrection, he released Guitarra Armada with his brother Carlos, featuring 11 songs of propaganda, homage, and weapons training for the Frente. The next year they released Canto Epico al FSLN in collaboration with other artists in celebration of the victorious revolution the previous July.
Throughout the 1980s the Mejia Godoy brothers worked in the new Ministry of Culture under the leadership of liberation theologian and renowned poet Fr. Ernesto Cardenal, regularly contributing their talents and fame selflessly to the liberation struggle. Luis Enrique was instrumental in the government’s creation of ENIGRAC, the Nicaraguan Company of Cultural Recordings, which was responsible for releasing over 100 albums of popular (as in people’s, not pop) folk music between 1981 and 1988. Luis Enrique Mejia Godoy himself has composed upward of 300 songs and released 18 albums, many of which are available at PERRERAC for free download.
This particular song speaks of the Nicaraguan people as small and simple, but loving, honorable and rebellious. I think you will really enjoy the poetry in his words, and I provided an English translation at the bottom. Enjoy!
Y soy de un pueblo pequeño, pequeño como un gorrión
con medio siglo de sueños, de vergüenza y de valor
Yo soy de un pueblo sencillo como la palabra Juan
como el amor que yo entrego, como el amor que me dan
Yo soy de un pueblo nacido entre fusil y cantar
Que de tanto haber sufrido tiene mucho que enseñar
Hermano de tantos pueblos que han querido separar
Porque saben que aun pequeños, juntos somos un volcán!
Yo soy de un pueblo que es poeta y sus versos escribió
En los muros y en las puertas con sangre, rabia y amor
Yo soy de un pueblo orgulloso con mil batallas perdidas
Soy de un pueblo victorioso que aun le duelen las heridas.
Yo soy de un pueblo reciente pero antiguo su dolor
Analfabeta vigente, medio siglo en rebelión
Yo soy el pueblo que un niño en Niquinohomo soñó
Soy del pueblo de Sandino y Benjamín Zeledón
Yo soy de un pueblo sencillo, fraterno y amigo
que siembra y defiende su revolución!
I come from a small people, small like a sparrow
with a half century of dreams, of shame and courage
I come from a people who are as simple as the name John,
simple like the love I offer, simple like the love they give me.
I am of a people born of rifles and songs
that, having suffered so much, has much to teach
It is a brother of many peoples, which the enemy tries to separate
Because they know that though we are small, together we are a volcano!
I come from a poetic people which writes its own verses
on walls and doors with blood, rage and love
I come from a proud people with a thousand lost battles
I come from a victorious people that still feels its old wounds.
I am of a new people who suffer old pains,
Currently illiterate, in rebellion for a half century
I am the people dreamed up by a child in Niquinohomo
I come from the people of Sandino and Benjamin Zeledon
I come from a simple people, a brother and friend
that sows and defends its revolution!