Osvaldo Golijov
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Ayre (2004): Texts
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Translations of texts:


1. Mañanita de San Juan (Morning of St. John's Day)
Text: Traditional Sephardic Romance
Translation: Hamete Benengeli
Music based on Sephardic street calls.

In the morning of St John's Day
Moors and Christians went out to war
They were warring, they were dying
Five hundred on each side.

Rondale, admiral of the seas,
Was taken captive.
His sword broke and in the middle of the battle
He found himself in prison and started to cry.

The princess heard him from the heights of her castle:
"Don't cry, Rondale, don't harm yourself
I'll give you 100 gold marks and
Whatever else you want
You'll marry me, my vineyards and brooks."

"May bad fire burn your vineyards
Your brooks and your homes
I have a wife in Paris: that's the one I marry"

When the princess heard this
She had him killed.


2. Una Madre Comió Asado (A Mother Roasted her Child)
Lyrics and Music: Trad. Sephardic song after Jeremiah's Lamentations
Translation: Hamete Benengeli

And a mother roasted
and ate her cherished son:

"Look at my eyes, mother.
I learned the law with them

Look at my forehead, mother,
I wore the philacteries there

Look at my mouth, mother:
I learned the law with it."


3. Tancas Serradas a Muru (Walls are Encircling the Land)
Lyrics and Music by Francesco Ignazio Mannu (Sardinia, ca. 1795)
Translation: Remo Bodei

Walls are encircling the land
Seized with greed and in haste,
If Heaven was on Earth
They would grab it too!


4. Luna (Moon)
Music by Gustavo Santaolalla (Instrumental)


5. Nanni
Traditional Sephardic Lullaby
Translation: Hamete Benengeli

Sleep my sweetheart, sleep...
Sleep, apple of my eye.
Your father is coming,
And his spirits are high.

Open the door, wife.
Open the door
Because I'm coming
Tired from ploughing the fields.

I will not open to you.
You are not tired.
I know you are coming
From the house of your new love.


6. Wa Habibi (My Love)
Lyrics: Traditional Christian Arab Easter Song
Translation: Hamete Benengeli
Music based on traditional Christian Arab and Muslim Arab melodies.

My Love, My Love
What has befallen you?
Who saw you and grieved for you,
You who are righteous?
My Love, what is the sin of our times and our children?
These wounds have no cure.


7. Aiini Taqttiru (My Eyes Weep)
Music and Lyrics: Traditional Christian Arab Easter Song
Translation: Hamete Benengeli

My eyes weep without pause
For there is no rest
Until God reveals Himself and gazes from the sky
I raised my prayers in Your name,
O God
Do not withhold your ear
Listen to my voice and come today.


8. Kun Li-Guitari Wataran Ayyuha Al-Maa' (Be a String, Water, to my Guitar)
Poem by Mahmoud Darwish
Translation: Clarissa Burt
From "Eleven Planets in the Last Andalusian Sky"

Be a string, water, to my guitar,
Conquerors come, conquerors go...

It's getting hard to remember my face in the mirrors.
Be memory for me
So I can see what I've lost.

Who am I after these paths of exodus?
I own a boulder that bears my name
On a tall bluff overlooking what has come to an end.
Seven hundred years escort me beyond the city walls.
Time turns around in vain to save
my past from a moment that gives birth
to the history of my exile
in others and in myself.

Be a string, water, to my guitar.
Conquerors come, conquerors go...
Heading south as nations decompose
on the compost of change.

I know who I was yesterday,
But who will I be tomorrow
Under the Atlantic flags of Columbus?

Be a string to my guitar, water, be a string.
There is no Egypt in Egypt, no
Fez in Fez, and Syria is too far away.
No hawk on the flag of my people,
No river running east of a palm tree besieged
By the Mongols' swift horses.

In which Andalusia did I meet my end?
Here, in this place?
Or there?

I know I've died, leaving behind what is
Best of what is mine in this place: my past.

I've got nothing left but my guitar.
Be a string, water, to my guitar.

Conquerors come, conquerors go.


9. Sueltate las Cintas (Untie your Ribbons)
Lyrics and Music: Gustavo Santaolalla
Translation: Hamete Benengeli

Untie the ribbons of your hair and your skirt:
let's devour the night until dawn comes, just like this,

Barefoot girl.

We don't need the sky when you have my back
and I embrace your waistline, just like this.

Your silvery waistline.

If tomorrow, in the village, you laugh by yourself, wait,
keep the secret in which you carry me, just like this.

Weed, flower, honey and sand.


10. Yah, Anna Emtzacha (Oh, Where Shall I find You?)
Poem by Yehudah Halevy (ca. 1112)
Translation: Hamete Benengeli
Music based on Sephardic calls to prayer

Oh, where shall I find You?
Your place is high and hidden.
And where shall I not find You?
Your glory fills the World.

I have sought Your nearness.
I called upon You with all my heart.
And in going out to meet You
I found You coming toward me.


11. Ariadna en su Laberinto (Ariadne in Her Labyrinth)
Lyrics: Traditional Sephardic Romance
Translation: Hamete Benengeli
Music: Quodlibet of traditional and original Sephardic Melodies.

"Why do you cry fair child?
Why do you cry, white flower?"

"I cry because you leave me"