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María Elena Walsh (1 February 1930 – 10 January 2011)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

El 45

Te acordás hermana qué tiempos aquellos,
la vida nos daba la misma lección.
En la primavera del 45
tenias quince años lo mismo que yo.

Te acordás hermana de aquellos cadetes,
del primer bolero y el té en El Galeon
cuando los domingos la lluvia traía
la voz de Bing Crosby y un verso de amor.

Te acordás de la Plaza de Mayo
cuando «el que te dije» salía al balcón.
Tanto cambió todo que el sol de la infancia
de golpe y porrazo se nos alunó.

 

 

Te acordás hermana qué tiempos de seca
cuando un pobre peso daba un estirón
y al pagarnos toda una edad de rabonas  
valia más vida que un millón de hoy.

Te acordás hermana que desde muy lejos
un olor a espanto nos enloqueció:
era de Hiroshima donde tantas chicas
tenían quince años como vos y yo.

Te acordás que más tarde la vida
vino en tacos altos y nos separó.
Ya no compartimos el mismo tranvía,
sólo nos reúne la buena de Dios.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Nineteen Forty-five

Do you remember, Dear, those far-off days,      
When we learned life’s lessons the same way ?
It was during the spring of nineteen forty-five
When you were just fifteen, and so was I.

Do you remember, Dear, the cadets?
The first bolero? And our tea at ‘El Galeon’?
Sunday when the rain contrived to bring us
The voice of Bing Crosby and a verse of love.

Do you remember the day at Plaza de Mayo
When “The one I told you of” came to the balcony?
So much was changed of our sunny childhood,
And suddenly it was graduation day.

Do you remember those hard-up times,                 
When one little peso could be stretched,
And pay us for an age of playing hooky?
Life then was worth more than a million todays.

Do you remember, Dear, from far away,
That distant scent that made us mad with fear?
Hiroshima was a place where many girls
Were fifteen years-old like you and me.

Do you remember how later on in life,
High heels came along to separate you and me?
Now we no longer take the same tram together –
Now life brings us both together only haphazardly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Barco quieto

No te vayas, te lo pido,                                     
de esta casa nuestra donde hemos vivido.
Qué nostalgia te puedes llevar
si de la ventana no vemos el mar.
Y afuera llora la ciudad
tanta soledad.

Todo cansa, todo pasa,
y uno se arrepiente de estar en su casa,
y de pronto se asoma a un rincón
a mirar con lástima su corazón.
Y afuera llora la ciudad
tanta soledad.

No te vayas,
quédate.
que ya estamos de vuelta de todo
y esta casa es nuestro modo
de ser.

Tantas charlas, tanta vida,                      
tanto anochecer con olor a comida
son una eternidad familiar
que en un solo día no puede cambiar.
Y afuera llora la ciudad
tanta soledad.

Estos muros, estas puertas,
no son de mentiras, son el alma nuestra,
barco quieto, morada interior
que viviendo hicimos, igual que el amor.
Y afuera llora la ciudad
tanta soledad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quiet Boat

Don’t go away, don’t leave, I beg of you,                           
from this our home, where we have lived.
What nostalgia you can bring about,
If from the window
We don’t look out at the sea –
And outside the city cries
So desolately.

Everything tires, everything passes,
So that one feels a pang to be at home,
And suddenly turns away to face a corner,
To gaze with pity at one’s heart,
And outside the city cries
So desolately.

 

 
So many talks, so much of life…                                       
There were so many evenings, with the scent of food,
For a familiar eternity…
That can’t be changed in a single day –
And outside the city cries
So desolately.

These very walls, these very doors,
They do not lie, they are our souls,
A silent boat, an inner abode,
Where we have lived, as love has lived –
And outside the city cries
So desolately.

Translation Dia Tsung.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

María Elena Walsh was a Argentinian writer, who was known and loved for her books, poetry, drama and music.

These songs reveal her singing at its best, her  warm, mellow, expressive voice, revealing the depth of intensity and emotion of her lyrics. She was one of those rarities, someone who writes her own lyrics, composes her own music, and performs it as it was intended.

She was a very popular writer of children’s literature, but under the playful lyrics of her songs, ran a subversive message discernible to adults, which was critical and disparaging of the military dictatorship and excess of the government of Juan Perón.

Walsh was of mixed British, Irish and Spanish descent, and spent part of her life in  Paris, Spain, England and the U.S.
During her self-imposed exile in the ’50s, she and her girlfriend  at the time Leda Valladares made their living singing in clubs in Paris.

She returned to Argentina after the revolution which ousted Perón, and continued singing, composing, writing and performing. She  also made a film called “Let’s Play in the World” in partnership with Maria Herminia Avellaneda.

María Elena Walsh won many honors from her country for her art, and was loved and appreciated for being a voice that never fell silent as long as one was needed to speak out on behalf of her fellow-citizens. Argentinians  recognised and understood her message, even when it came to them under cover of ‘nonsense’ rhymes and children’s songs.

The last 31 years of her life were spent with her partner, photographer Sara Facio.  Walsh died of bone-cancer in January of 2011.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mar%C3%ADa_Elena_Walsh

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