1. People’s Army, music and lyrics by Aníbal Sampayo, sung by Susi Misa. From Uruguay, 1983.



    "Pablo is a man that knows that life is changing,
    the comrades are with him marching toward the dawn.
    And if they put him in chains, others will stand up demanding liberty.”

    One of my favorite songs lately, Daniel Viglietti’s folk ballad Pablo’s Song is a story of the emotional departure of a man from his home and family to join the guerrilla struggle. Viglietti, being from Uruguay, is likely referencing the experience of many of his comrades that left their homes to join the Tupamaros, a former

    urban guerrilla movement that is now a member of the ruling Frente Amplio coalition, though the lyrics remain generalized enough to refer to any number of armed struggles across the continent which, in the tumultuous era when he wrote this song, were ubiquitous across Latin America.

    In each verse, Viglietti points out that the repressive state forces will come looking and asking for him in his house, trying to find information on his whereabouts to track down the notorious guerrillero. He instructs his wife to resist their interrogation, and to remember that he is off fighting in the name of freedom.

    I’ve posted a couple of songs by Daniel Viglietti before, and I’m always surprised how many people don’t know about him. He rivals Victor Jara for his poetic finesse and composition, and his influence in the development in nueva canción is only slightly less than the Chilean legend. Anyway, below are the lyrics in Spanish and with an English translation, give it a listen! If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me, and definitely check out past episodes of this series here.


    Compañera, vendrán a preguntar por mí;
    Si yo he sido, dónde estoy, si usted sabe adónde fue su marido.
    Usted levanta la vista, mira y calla, está pensando:
    Pablo andará por la tierra, su bandera enarbolando,
    Una bandera de trigo, de pan y de vino, levantando.
    Por el camino, a los hombres irá enseñando la libertad.

    Compañera, buscándome vendrán aquí,
    Mi retrato, una carta, algún signo para dar con mi rastro.
    Usted recuerda mis manos, ya no piensa, está soñando:
    Pablo se fue navegante por un mar de sangre joven
    Con su rebelde destino, sin pan y sin vino andar luchando.
    Su corazón guerrillero olvida en las calles la soledad.

    Compañera, vendrán a preguntar otra vez,
    Si me ha visto, si le escribo, si usted sabe adónde fue su marido.
    Usted los mira a los ojos, con ternura va pensando:
    Pablo es un hombre que sabe que la vida está cambiando,
    Los compañeros lo llevan hacia el alba caminando.
    Y si le ponen cadenas irán otros brazos por libertad.

    Pablos hay muchos y andando por la tierra van cantando
    Con sus banderas de trigo, de pan y de vino, van luchando.
    Pablos hay muchos y andando por la tierra van cantando.


    Comrade, they will come asking about me
    if I’ve been here, where I am, if you know where your husband went.
    And you lift your gaze, look, are silent, and think:
    Pablo will walk the earth, hoisting his flag;
    a flag of wheat, bread and wine will be raised.
    Along the road, he will be teaching men about freedom!

    Comrade, they will come looking for me,
    my portrait, a letter, any sign to give away my trail.
    And you will remember my hands, no longer thinking, only dreaming:
    Pablo left to navigate in the sea of young blood
    with his rebellious destiny, without bread or wine, continuing to fight.
    His guerrilla heart forgets loneliness in the streets.

    Comrade, they will come asking again
    if you have seen me, if I write you, if you know where your husband went.
    You will look into their eyes, with tenderness and think:
    Pablo is a man that knows that life is changing,
    the comrades are with him marching toward the dawn.
    And if they put him in chains, others will stand up demanding liberty.

    There are many Pablos and they sing while marching the land,
    with their flags of wheat, bread and wine they go forth fighting.
    There are many Pablos and they sing while marching the land.



    "Hay un general que es del pueblo
    y en sus manos tiene la verdad.”

    NOTE: Music doesn’t start until 1/4 of the way through, the first 55 seconds is an interlude.

    This is a cool track from an album by Uruguay’s Frente Amplio political coalition, formed by members of the Tupamaro National Liberation Movement and other left-wing parties. The Tupamaros were well known for their urban guerrilla insurgency of the 60s and 70s that fought against Uruguay’s military dictatorships, and their organization (MLN) now comprises the plurality of votes in the FA. The Frente is currently the ruling political coalition in Uruguay with a majority in both houses of congress and the presidency under former guerrilla José Mujica.

    The singer here appears to be largely unknown and it doesn’t appear that any other songs were released under his name. Tuala both sings and plays the guitar in Quiero un Canto… General, while the recording also features the bongó, bajo, and tumbas instruments. It was co-written by Walter Tuala, who I presume to be Miguel’s sibling.

    The lyrics here are pretty basic, intended largely to promote the Frente Amplio for the 1984 election, in which they won 22% of the vote. The title, translated as I Want a Song… General, I believe refers to FA founder Líber Seregni, a former general in the Uruguayan military who retired in 1968 to found the Frente in 1971. You can notice the reference at the end of the song where Tuala plays on the word libertad (freedom) and the name Líber. Clever!

    Anyway I leave you with the lyrics, though I don’t feel like translating them. I didn’t include the transcription of the interlude either, sorry. ENJOY!


    Vengo a que cante mi pueblo, quiero un canto general
    semillas vueltas palomas, un canto que ha de volar
    de la noche viene el día empujando la verdad
    iluminando el camino de mi pueblo seguirá

    La verdad está en el Frente y en la marcha encontrarás
    unas manos que devuelven luz, certeza y claridad porque
    hay un general que es del pueblo y en sus manos tiene la verdad
    suma tu voz a la mia vamos juntos a cantar con Liber….

    liber-liber-libertad, general!
    liber-liber-libertad, general!

  4. De Frente y Canto, 1984.

    This is a cassette put out by the Uruguayan Frente Amplio (Broad Front), the current ruling party under the leadership of President Jose Mujica which brought together social movements and former Tupamaro guerrillas into an electoral party. Download the album here.