NAVIDAD NUESTRA 2015

navidad_poster_2015
Last Christmas I translated the six songs of the brilliant ‘Navidad Nuestra’ suite by Ariel Ramírez.
To see all the translations just click here. Navidad Nuestra
This month the Fantasy Orchestra will perform the suite again in Bristol, and I will be involved.

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THE SHEPHERDS (LOS PASTORES Sung In English)

Here is my singable English version of Los Pastores by Ariel Ramírez and Félix Luna. Look back a few posts for my literal translation. I’ve tried to be faithful to the spirit of the original but obviously I’ve had to take a few liberties to make it work. Since it’s a choir piece this solo version is a bit strange, but I think it’s enough to give you an idea of how it would work.

THE SHEPHERDS

Come all ye shepherds, come quickly come
See that the king of the kings has been born
Come from the fields and come swiftly and
Try if you can to get here before dawn

CHORUS:
Rosemary and thyme
And parsley and sage
The baby is sleeping
At the break of day

To La Rioja in north Argentina
Come from every field, every town
You could be first to bring flowers and pudding
Come from every field, every town

CHORUS

Ask on the way for Ramírez
He’ll lend you some horses that come from Peru
Playing guitars we’ll be singing
Some riding, some walking as we travel through

CHORUS

It’s Christmas in Argentina, a party with
Plenty of pudding and wine
The moon looks down and she’s dying
To join in as we’re having such a good time

CHORUS

Translation copyright 2014, Marcos Sullivan

LA HUÍDA by ARIEL RAMÍREZ

Navidad Nuestra: Part 6

The final song of the suite is also the darkest. It is about trying to escape the massacre of the innocents. The lyrics mention bombos legüeros, the traditional bass drums typically used in Argentinian folk music. Presumably these are the drums used on the recording.

NB This song is subtitled vidala tucumana. The vidala is a poetic song form. Tucumán is a province in NW Argentina.

The complete Navidad Nuestra was performed by The Fantasy Orchestra at the Trinity Centre in Bristol on December 21st, 2014. There is a clip below.

LA HUÍDA

¡Vamos! ¡Vamos! ¡Burrito apura!

Si no te apuras los van a pillar
Largo el camino, largo el salitral

Ya tocan a degollar
Ya esta sangrando el puñal

Si no te apuras los van a pillar

¡Vamos! ¡Vamos! ¡Burrito apura!

Niño bonito, no llorís mi amor
Ya llegaremos a tierra mejor

Duérmete ya, no llorís,
Cuna en mis brazos te haré.
Bombos legüeros en mi corazón.

¡Vamos! ¡Vamos! ¡Burrito apura!
THE FLIGHT

Come on! Come on! Hurry up little donkey!

If you don't hurry up they will catch them
Along the path, along the Salitral (salt flats)

They are already slitting throats
The dagger is already wet with blood

If you don't hurry up they will catch them

Come on! Come on! Hurry up little donkey!

Beautiful child, don't cry my darling
Soon we will arrive at a better land

Go to sleep now, don't cry
I will cradle you in my arms
Bass drums beating in my heart

Come on! Come on! Hurry up little donkey!

LOS REYES MAGOS by ARIEL RAMÍREZ

Navidad Nuestra: Part 5

Los Reyes Magos literally translates as ‘The Magic Kings’ but in England we usually call them ‘The Three Wise Men’. In the Spanish tradition it’s them (rather than Santa) who bring kids presents, and they deliver them on the 6th of January, almost two weeks after Christmas day.
NB This song is subtitled takirari. The takirari (or taquirari) is a dance form from Bolivia.

LOS REYES MAGOS

Llegaron ya, los reyes y eran tres
Melchor, Gaspar y el negro Baltasar  
Arrope y miel le llevarán  
Y un poncho blanco de alpaca real.

Changos y chinitas duérmanse 
Que ya Melchor, Gaspar y Baltasar
Todos los regalos dejarán
Para jugar mañana al despertar.  

El Niño Dios muy bien lo agradeció
Comió la miel y el poncho lo abrigó  
Y fue después que los miró
Y a medianoche el sol relumbró. 
THE THREE WISE MEN

They had arrived, the kings, and there were three:
Melchior, Caspar and the black Balthasar.
Syrup and honey they will bring him
And a white poncho of royal alpaca.

Fall asleep little boys and girls
So that Melchior, Caspar and Balthasar
Can leave out all the gifts
For you to play with when you wake up

The God Child was really pleased.
He ate the honey and wrapped himself in the poncho.
And afterwards he saw them
And the sun shone at midnight.
*

LOS PASTORES by ARIEL RAMÍREZ

Navidad Nuestra: Part 4

Lots of places are mentioned in the fourth song, but most of them are in La Rioja in northwestern Argentina, where this version of the Nativity seems to be set. The piece is subtitled ‘Chaya Riojana’ which refers to a festival that takes place in this region. I guess the English equivalent of the refrain is ‘Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme’.
The complete Navidad Nuestra was performed by The Fantasy Orchestra at the Trinity Centre in Bristol on December 21st.
.

LOS PASTORES

Vengan pastores del campo
que el rey de los reyes ha nacido ya.
Vengan antes que amanezca
que ya apunta el día y la noche se va.

ESTRIBILLO:
Albahaca y cedrón
tomillo y laurel,
que el niño se duerme
al amanecer.

Lleguen de Pinchas y Chuquis,
de Aminga y San Pedro, de Arauco y Pomán,
antes que nadie le adore 
Quesillos y flores le vam' a llevar.

ESTRIBILLO

Pídanle a Julio Romero
caballos de paso y su mula de andar
Con cajas y con guitarras
iremos cantando por el olivar.

ESTRIBILLO

Ay navidad de Aimogasta.
Aloja y añapa no habrá de faltar
mientras la luna riojana
se muere de ganas de participar.

ESTRIBILLO
THE SHEPHERDS

Come shepherds of the fields
Because the king of kings has been born
Come before the dawn
It's already light and the night will soon be fading

CHORUS:
Basil and lemon verbena
Thyme and laurel
The child sleeps
At daybreak

Come from Pinchas and Chuquis,
From Aminga, San Pedro, Arauco and Pomán
Before anyone else they will pay tribute
Bringing quesillos (puddings) and flowers

CHORUS

Ask Julio Romero 
For Peruvian horses and pack mules
With cajas (hand drums) and guitars
We'll sing through the olive groves

CHORUS

Oh, Christmas in Aimogasta (NW Argentinia)
We have plenty of aloja (liquour) and añapa (dessert)
While the La Rioja moon
Is just dying to join in

CHORUS

EL NACIMIENTO by ARIEL RAMÍREZ

Navidad Nuestra: Part 3

The third song of the suite is the one that most sounds like a traditional Christmas carol, with a hint of ‘Silent Night’ in the melody.
Los Fronterizos are an Argentinian folk quartet, four men who all sing, usually accompanying themselves with acoustic guitars and bombo legüero (a hand held bass drum). Below is a clip of them in action in this formation.
The group formed in 1953 and broke up in 1977, though apparently they still get together sometimes for reunion concerts. Their collaborations with Ariel Ramírez on Navidad Nuestra and Misa Criolla gave them their biggest international success.
NB This song is subtitled vidala catamarqueña. The vidala is a poetic song form. Catamarca is a province in NW Argentina.

EL NACIMIENTO

Noche anunciada, noche de amor,
Dios ha nacido, pétalo y flor,
todo es silencio y serenidad,
paz a los hombres, es Navidad.

En el pesebre mi redentor
es mensajero de paz y amor,
cuando sonríe se hace la luz
y en sus bracitos crece una cruz.

Angeles cantan sobre el portal
Dios ha nacido, es navidad

Esta es la noche, que prometió
Dios a los hombres y ya llegó,
es Noche Buena, no hay que dormir
Dios ha nacido, Dios está aquí.
THE BIRTH

Night foretold, night of love
God is born, petal and flower
All is silence and serenity
Peace to all men, it's Christmas

In the manger my redeemer 
He is the messenger of peace and love 
When he smiles there is light
And his little arms form a cross

Angels sing over the entrance
God is born, it's Christmas

This is the night that was promised 
By God to mankind, and now it has arrived 
It's Christmas Eve, you don't need to sleep 
God is born, God is here.

LA PEREGRINACIÓN by ARIEL RAMÍREZ

Navidad Nuestra: Part 2

In the second song of the suite Joseph and Mary search for a place to stay.

Above is a great film made for German TV in 1967 which features Los Fronterizos performing the whole suite except the first song (so it starts with ‘La Peregrinación’).

They didn’t record ‘La Anunciación’ because César Isella, who usually sang lead on that song, had just left the group. Isella went on to co-write the song ‘Canción Con Todos’ which was recently featured on this blog.

NB This song is subtitled huella pampeana. La huella is a folk dance that was popular in Argentina in the 19th century. So the lyric ‘a la huella’ also means ‘keep dancing’. I guess the double meaning is intended, as the image of Joseph and Mary dancing their way across the plains is rather appealing.

 Related Post: Canción Con Todos

LA PEREGRINACIÓN

A la huella, a la huella
José y María
Por las pampas heladas
Cardos y ortigas.

A la huella, a la huella
Cortando campo
No hay cobijo ni fonda
Sigan andando.

Florecita del campo,
Clavel del aire
Si ninguno te aloja
¿A dónde naces?

¿Donde naces, florcita?
Que estas creciendo,
Palomita asustada,
Grillo sin sueño.

A la huella, a la huella
José y María
Con un dios escondido
Nadie sabía.

A la huella, a la huella
Los peregrinos
Préstenme una tapera
Para mi niño.

A la huella, a la huella
Soles y lunas
Los ojitos de almendra
Piel de aceituna.

Ay burrito del campo
Ay buey barcino
Mi niño esta viniendo
Háganle sitio.

Un ranchito de quincha
Solo me ampara
Dos alientos amigos
La luna clara

A la huella, a la huella
José y María
Con un dios escondido
Nadie sabía.
THE PILGRIMAGE

Follow the trail, follow the trail
Joseph and Mary 
Across the frozen Pampas (South American plains)
Thistles and nettles. 

Follow the trail, follow the trail
Cutting through the fields
There is no shelter, no inn 
Keep on walking. 

Little flower in the field, 
Carnation of the air 
If no one puts you up
Where will you be born?

Where will you be born, little flower?
Now that you are growing
Frightened dove
Sleepless cricket

Follow the trail, follow the trail
Joseph and Mary 
With a hidden god
Nobody knew

Follow the trail, follow the trail
The pilgrims
Lend me a ruined house
For my child

Follow the trail, follow the trail
Through suns and moons 
The little almond eyes 
Olive skin. 

Oh, little donkey in the field 
Oh, reddish-grey ox 
My child is coming 
Make some space for him

A thatched hut 
Is the only shelter I have
Two friendly breaths (the ox and the donkey)
The bright moon 

Follow the trail, follow the trail
Joseph and Mary 
With a hidden god
Nobody knew

LA ANUNCIACIÓN by ARIEL RAMÍREZ

Navidad Nuestra: Part 1

Christmas is starting early this year. I’m involved in a performance of ‘Navidad Nuestra’ so I will be looking at the lyrics of the songs over the next few weeks.

Navidad Nuestra is a suite of six Christmas songs by the Argentinian composer Ariel Ramírez with lyrics by his regular collaborator Félix Luna. Ramírez is best known for combining classical forms with Argentinian folk music. The original recording of this piece from the mid-sixties features Los Fronterizos, a male folk quartet. Apparently Navidad Nuestra was written very quickly in order to be included as side B of an album featuring Misa Criolla (Ramírez’s best known work) on side A. According to Luna the two men wrote most of it in just one night, bouncing ideas off each other.

NB The version above is a re-recording from 1977. There are versions of the piece by many other artists, including Mercedes Sosa and José Carreras.

In the first song the angel Gabriel arrives and finds that Mary is pregnant.

NB This song is subtitled chamamé. This is an Argentinian folk form typified by the combination of accordion and Spanish guitar. Below is a version by The Fantasy Orchestra.

LA ANUNCIACIÓN

Jinete de un rayo rojo
Viene volando el Ángel Gabriel
Con sable punta de estrella
Espuela 'e plata estaba caté.

Que Dios te salve María
La mas bonita cuñataí
La flor esta floreciendo
Crece en la sangre tu cunumí.

Soy la esclava del señor
Que él haga su voluntad
Capullo que se hace flor
Y se abrirá en navidad.

El Ángel Gabriel ya vuelve
Al pago donde se encuentra Dios.
¿Mamó parehó angelito
Qué tan contento te vuelves vos?

He visto a la reina 'el mundo
La mas hermosa cuñataí;
Sus ojos son dos estrellas
Su voz el canto del yerutí.

Soy la esclava del Señor,
que él haga su voluntad.
Capullo que se hace flor
y se abrirá en Navidad.
THE ANNUNCIATION

A rider on a ray of red lightning 
The angel Gabriel comes flying 
With a star tipped sabre
He was elegant in his silver spurs

God save you Mary 
The prettiest young woman
The flower is blooming 
The baby is growing in your blood 

I am the servant of the Lord 
His will will be done
The bud turns into a flower
And it will open at Christmas.

The Angel Gabriel has returned
To the place where you find God
Where have you been little angel? 
How come you have returned so happy? 

I've seen the queen of the world 
The most beautiful young woman 
Her eyes are two stars 
Her voice is the song of a turtledove

I am the servant of the Lord 
His will will be done
The bud turns into a flower
And it will open at Christmas

NB This was quite difficult to translate because some of the words in this song come from the Guraní language. The Guraní people are an indigenous people of South America. Thanks to Annella McDermott for helping me with this. It you are interested there is a glossary of the Guraní words on this page: http://www.folkloredelnorte.com.ar/cancionero/l/laanunciacion.html