Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Benedetti's "Te Quiero"

One thing always leads to another with this blog. I was looking at what people were searching for on the blog and found someone searching for the late Uruguayan poet Mario Benedetti's "El Padrenuestro Latinoamericano" (see earlier post on the poet's death for the text of this poem). That led to a look at videos of people reading this poem and that led to related videos.


So I clicked on one called "Te Quiero", also based on a poem by Mario Benedetti, and what joy to find out that it was this love song that I had not heard since graduate school. It was on a cassette that Alice, a self-styled Marxist-Leninist student who was dating another revolutionary from some Third World country, gave me. I never knew that the lyrics were by a famous poet but I loved what they say about what makes a good partner. In those days, I prayed for someone who would be like the person in this song. Eventually God opened my eyes and I saw that, for me, that person is Jesus. El es "mi amor mi cómplice y todo".

With a double wedding coming up this Saturday in our charismatic prayer group, I'm in the mood to share it with the world. Here is the original version by Argentinian singer Nacha Guevara who has a gorgeous voice. For those who prefer the spoken word, you can hear the poet himself reading Te Quiero. I've also included the words in Spanish and an English translation by Nina Serrano from La Raza Chronicle. I'm not happy with "accomplice" as a translation for "cómplice". The use of the word "complicity" in romance languages for an element of intimate relationships is very difficult to render into English. "Accomplice" sounds too much like "Bonnie and Clyde"; "partner" doesn't seem to convey the same intimacy; "soul mate" is too other-worldly. It's all of those and more...

If you are looking for the partitura to this song, it can be found here, arranged for four voices. The music is by Alberto Favero.





TE QUIERO
de Mario Benedetti

Tus manos son mi caricia
mis acordes cotidianos
te quiero porque tus manos
trabajan por la justicia

si te quiero es porque sos
mi amor mi cómplice y todo
y en la calle codo a codo
somos mucho más que dos

tus ojos son mi conjuro
contra la mala jornada
te quiero por tu mirada
que mira y siembra futuro

tu boca que es tuya y mía
tu boca no se equivoca
te quiero porque tu boca
sabe gritar rebeldía

si te quiero es porque sos
mi amor mi cómplice y todo
y en la calle codo a codo
somos mucho más que dos

y por tu rostro sincero
y tu paso vagabundo
y tu llanto por el mundo
porque sos pueblo te quiero

y porque amor no es aureola
ni cándida moraleja
y porque somos pareja
que sabe que no está sola

te quiero en mi paraíso
es decir que en mi país
la gente viva feliz
aunque no tenga permiso

si te quiero es porque sos
mi amor mi cómplice y todo
y en la calle codo a codo
somos mucho más que dos



I LOVE YOU
by Mario Benedetti

(English Translation by Nina Serrano)

Your hands are my caress
my daily reminders
I love you because your hands
work for justice

if I love you it's because you are
my love my accomplice and my everything
and in the street arm in arm
we are many more than two

your eyes are my spell
against a cursed day
I love you for your gaze
that looks and plants the future

your mouth that is yours and mine
your mouth doesn’t lie
I love you because your mouth
knows how to shout rebellion

if I love you it's because you are
my love my accomplice and my everything
and in the street arm in arm
we are many more than two

and for your open face
and your wanderer’s footstep
and your weeping for the world
because you are of the people I love you.

and because love is not a halo
nor morality tale
and because we are a couple
that knows it is not alone

I love you in my paradise
which is to say that in my ideal country
people live happily
without even having permission

if I love you it's because you are
my love my accomplice and my everything
and in the street arm in arm
we are many more than two


Photo: L-r: Alberto Favero (composer), Nacha Guevara (singer), and Mario Benedetti (poet/lyricist)

2 comments:

  1. I prefer 'confidant' to accomplice or soul-mate.

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  2. Thanks, Sarah's Dad! I'm reproducing someone else's translation here so I don't feel at liberty to change it but the word comes up often enough in other translations I work on myself, so it's nice to have the alternative suggestion stored in my brain for a future application.

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