Hello again! For our 14th episode of Nueva Cancion of the Day (episode archive in the link) we’re going to switch gears and move our focus north of Nicaragua to El Salvador, whose revolutionary music tradition is also rich, if very distinct from what we’ve heard so far. Hope you enjoy the change up!
Today’s song is a self-titled song off a self-titled album by Los Torogoces de Morazán (toh-roh-GOH-sez de mo-rah-SAN), obviously demonstrating no lack of confidence! The torogoz is the national bird of El Salvador, known in Nicaragua as the guardabarranco and in the United States as the turquoise-browed Motmot. The symbolism of this bird is also common in Nicaraguan folk music, whose line-up actually includes a group named Guardabarranco! Morazán is a region of El Salvador known to have been largely controlled by the Frente Farabundo Marti de Liberacion Nacional (FMLN), with whom Los Torogoces were closely associated, during the Salvadoran civil war of the 80s.
This song is basically a boast of how awesome Los Torogoces and the FMLN are. Musically, you’ll notice a sound that more closely resembles Mexican norteña than the nueva cancion we’ve been studying. Notice a few things: 1) the duple meter (the beat sounds more back-and-forth than circular), 2) the use of the accordion, 3) the call and response, and 4) the extremely low production value. A lot of this type of music was recorded from inside FMLN camps in the jungle, using the same portable equipment used to transmit Radio Venceremos during the war.
Anyway, here’s the song, I hope you enjoy it! As always, the lyrics are translated for your convenience.
Vengan compañeros, todos a gozar,
con este conjunto que es muy popular
Vengan a gozar, vengan a bailar
con los Torogoces de Morazán
Allá por los montes se escucha una voz
que es el canto alegre del torogoz
Somos muy expertos de las construcciones
construimos defensas de los paredones
Muchas mañanitas comienzo a cantar….
Levántate hermano, vamos a trabajar!
Es Barranquillero y trabajador!
Como el guerrillero de El Salvador!
Come on comrades, let’s have fun
with this very popular music group
Come have fun, come to dance
with the Torogoces de Morazan
Up there in the mountains a voice is heard
that is the joyful song of the torogoz
We are experts in construction
we construct walls as defenses
Many mornings I begin to sing….
Get up, brother, let’s get to work!
He’s a Barranquillero* and a worker!
Like the guerrilla from El Salvador!
*I have no idea what this is supposed to mean in the context of the song. “Barranquillero” refers to somebody from Barranquilla, Colombia, so it doesn’t seem to have much relevance.