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Origins: Ecuador: Vasija de Barro

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keberoxu 24 Nov 15 - 01:36 PM
keberoxu 24 Nov 15 - 04:39 PM
keberoxu 08 Dec 15 - 04:04 PM
keberoxu 08 Dec 15 - 04:25 PM
keberoxu 08 Dec 15 - 04:40 PM
keberoxu 08 Dec 15 - 04:57 PM
Monique 08 Dec 15 - 05:42 PM
keberoxu 08 Dec 15 - 08:35 PM
keberoxu 26 Dec 16 - 08:03 PM
keberoxu 26 Dec 16 - 08:54 PM
keberoxu 27 Dec 16 - 11:37 AM
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Subject: Origins: Ecuador: Vasija de Barro
From: keberoxu
Date: 24 Nov 15 - 01:36 PM

Inti-Illimani include this song in their repertoire, that is how it was introduced to me. Max Berru, a co-founder of the group, is an Ecuador native (settled in Chile, though, to be with his descendants there). Berru usually sang the lead vocal when Inti-Illimani performed this song. For one thing, it was included in their soundtrack for BBC's Flight of the Condor I believe -- either that, or Return of the Condor.

Vasija de Barro has a very solemn lyric about returning to the earth, to Mother Earth, when it is time to be buried. I have seen statements that in Ecuador this song has the status of a national hymn (usually states that there is more than one such?). I would not know, but there are opinions that this song goes back to pre-Columbian languages although as far as I can make out, it is sung in Spanish.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ecuador: Vasija de Barro
From: keberoxu
Date: 24 Nov 15 - 04:39 PM

Horacio Salinas of Inti-Illimani, in his book of memoirs "La cancion en el sombrero," reminisces about the band's first extended visit to the country of Ecuador, where they made music at the Capilla del Hombre (Quito). The story was related to Inti-Illimani, and Salinas summarizes it in his book:

"In the 1950's.... some illustrious performing artists came together....in order to create one of the loveliest, most sacred Ecuadoran songs. The well-known Ecuadoran musical duo, Benitez and Valencia, had arrived with Guayasamin [whose property it was], Ecuador's principal poet Jorge Enrique Adoum, and other intellectuals. One of them, on the spot, composed a strophe concerning of the ritual of burying the dead with some of their vital organs enclosed in an earthen jar. Later the poet came and added another "copla," after that Valencia wrote one, and so this admirable song was completed with its dance rhythm, called "Earthen Vase."   p. 75. Second edition, 2014.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ecuador: Vasija de Barro
From: keberoxu
Date: 08 Dec 15 - 04:04 PM

The Spanish website, www.cancioneros.com, prints an excerpt from a book of memoirs: "Gonzalo Benitez: tras una cortina de anos." Written in the first person, this book has at least one chapter about how "Vasija de Barro" came to be written. Sr. Benitez, as you will see, claims to have composed the music for the song. Here is my attempt to present some quotes in English; the original is in Spanish. The setting is Ecuador's capitol, Quito.

"In Guayaquil street, I met with the painter Oswaldo Guayasamin. He invited us, then, to a party at his home on Friday, the 7th of November, 1950, to begin at 7 in the evening. But we were not free before half-past nine that evening. He says: "Come whatever hour you want to, and please invite your singing partner (Luis Alberto Valencia, whose nickname is El Potolo).

"It was half-past ten by the time the two of us got there, and the party was well and truly underway....some 80 people had been invited, amongst them poets, painters, students and graduates of the School of Bellas Artes de La Alameda. We sang at their request, and after we were done singing, we broke up into groups. Valencia went with the hard-drinking bunch, and I went where people were drinking less rather than more.

"Jorge Carrera Andrade was looking over a canvas painted by Oswaldo, so recently that the paint was barely dry, enough to stain the fingers. In this painting, there was a great vessel of clay, and inside of this, were depicted the little bones, the skeletons, of children. Oswaldo explained his depiction of a burial tradition of the Incas. When a member of an Incan family died, his surviving relatives would bury his remains inside of a clay jar, together with something to eat. At this, Jorge Carrera was much impressed. Our group watched as he headed for the bookshelves in the house's private study. There he took up one book, and on the blank flyleaves, he wrote down one single stanza:

"Yo quiero que a mi me entierren
como as mis antepasados
en el vientre oscuro y fresco
de una vasija de barro. "

Translation:
I want them to bury my body
the way my ancestors were buried,
in the dark, cool womb
of an earthen vessel.

More to come in future posts.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ecuador: Vasija de Barro
From: keberoxu
Date: 08 Dec 15 - 04:25 PM

Continued:

"We, too, were much impressed....then Hugo Aleman, the poet, took up the same book, and on the same flyleaf, he wrote under Carrera's writing, another stanza:

"When life is lost to view
Behind a curtain of years,
there will live, to flower over time,
love and disenchantment.

Sorry!! I gave the translation first. Call me space cadet. Here's the original:

"Cuando la vida se pierda
tras una cortina de anos
viviran a flor de tiempo
amores y desenganos. "

"And all of us were startled when Jaime Valencia, the painter, grabbed the book, and proceeded to write four very attractive lines of verse:

"Arcilla cocida y dura
alma de verdes collados
barro y sangre de mis hombres
Sol de mis antepasados."

Clay, hardened and fired in the kiln;
Soul of harvested green;
earth, and blood of men,
The sun of my ancestors.

to be continued


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ecuador: Vasija de Barro
From: keberoxu
Date: 08 Dec 15 - 04:40 PM

Translator's note: in my haste I omitted more info about the painting by Oswaldo Guayasamin, described by Gonzalo Benitez in an excerpt before this post.

The painting is called El Origen, and it is copyrighted by the Fundacion Guayasamin; the website "cancioneros" displayed a photo of the painting. It resembles Picasso's Guernica as much as anything. The little body is depicted, with the outline of the funeral urn around it, as if you could see through the urn to make out what was inside; around the vessel it is dark, as it would be under the earth. The vase itself has characteristics painted on it: a woman's face, a woman's breasts above the big open 'womb' that contains the remains of the dead child. Just underneath the urn, an arm embraces the bottom of the urn, and one great maternal hand is extended. This is a striking composition.
To continue, Gonzalo Benitez writes:

"Then I thought I would like to put a little something down myself, so I went for the book. As soon as I grasped it, Jorge Enrique Adoum grabbed it away from me! The fourth stanza came from him:

"De ti naci y a ti vuelvo
Arcilla, vaso de barro
con mi muerte yazgo en ti
de tu polvo apasionado."

From thee was I born, and to thee I will return,
Clay, earthen vessel.
With my death, here shall I lie within you
and your passionate dust.

And having finished, the question arose, what to do with the poetry, nobody knew who was going to set it to music.

To be continued


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ecuador: Vasija de Barro
From: keberoxu
Date: 08 Dec 15 - 04:57 PM

Continued:

"By this time, it was half past midnight. I see Jorge Carrera Andrade coming towards me with that book. Then he says to me: "See, Gonzalo, this would be a thing of beauty when it had music." I stopped to think, and I said: "Bueno," and at this point I picked up my guitar.

"And now what did I do? El Potolo (my musical partner) was drinking heavily, and with the noise of the crowd it was really difficult to concentrate. But I had accepted already, so I took a flight of stairs down to where I saw light, carrying the guitar and book. I was down there almost an hour, and when I had finished, I returned to the party....[some remarks about waking up Valencia from a drunken stupor, and teaching him the newly-composed song].

"So the two of us made a go of it, attempting to sing this fresh new song as a duo. And when we sang it, the people were so caught up with emotion that they passed the hours singing. I left for home at about two in the morning, myself, however they went on singing until six in the morning. Thus was born "Vasija de barro," which today is sung all over the world. I myself could not believe it. "

End of excerpt. from:
"Gonzalo Benitez: tras una cortina de anos", a book of autobiography


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ecuador: Vasija de Barro
From: Monique
Date: 08 Dec 15 - 05:42 PM

Keberoxu, would you mind typing the Spanish with the accents? Thanks!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ecuador: Vasija de Barro
From: keberoxu
Date: 08 Dec 15 - 08:35 PM

Erm, how?

I only know one way to do this, and I don't know if it will work.

Cuando la vida se pierda
tras una cortina de años,
vivirán a flor de tiempo
amores y desengaños.

4th verse:

De ti nací y a ti vuelvo
Arcilla, vaso de barro
Con mi muerte yazgo en ti
de tu polvo apasionado.

Glad you're here, Monique, because my Spanish translating is rather poor, and you can correct my mistakes! Thanks!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ecuador: Vasija de Barro
From: keberoxu
Date: 26 Dec 16 - 08:03 PM

An online reproduction of "El Origen," the oil painting by Guayasamin which inspired the composing of the song "Vasija de Barro," has not been easy to find. There must be more than one link online. The link I provide here will be a little complicated. It is a PDF file; the packet is over one hundred pages long. The whole thing is a teacher's aid to teaching a course about Guayasamin and his life and work, and about Ecuador and Latin America and their artists in all media. Anyway, "El Origen" is reproduced on one entire page, in all its solemnity -- not the most colorful or expressive of Guayasamin's images, this one, being about burial, is sober and stark. The design and the draftsmanship impress me greatly. Let's see if I can get a working link.

Guayasamin's Ecuador Unframed

I don't know if the link will work. It's PDF so you need Adobe Acrobat or something.
In an Adobe Acrobat reader, the article begins on reader-page 98, and the painting "El Origen" is on reader-page 100. This pagination is different than the actual packet. Within the packet, the numbers printed at the bottom of each of these pages are 70 and 72, respectively.

Guayasamin the painter was born in Quito; he had blue eyes along with the features -- skin color, face/skull, and so on -- of a Latin-American "mestizo." Among his many series of paintings is a series named with the Quechua word "Huacayñán," which has been translated to the Spanish "camino de llanto," which I would roughly translated "road of lamentation" or even "trail of tears." it is possible that "El Origen" is in that group of canvases.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ecuador: Vasija de Barro
From: keberoxu
Date: 26 Dec 16 - 08:54 PM

I can't get the links working, but Vasija del Barro has many YouTube video versions.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ecuador: Vasija de Barro
From: keberoxu
Date: 27 Dec 16 - 11:37 AM

the original Valencia/Benitez recording, I think

Inti-Illimani version
This is Inti-Illimani in exile in Italy, probably an RAI broadcast.
Lineup is one of Inti-Illimani's better-remembered sextet versions:
Jorge Coulon singing and playing guitar, first verse.
Max Berrú's voice takes the high-lying second verse as he plays the drum. The only member of this Inti-Illimani sextet not native to Chile -- Berrú comes from Ecuador, so "Vasija de Barro" is personal for him.
The "charango" is in the hands of Horacio Durán.
The "quena" wind instruments are played by Marcelo Coulon and José Seves.
To the rear, in the center, Horacio Salinas plays guitar and joins in with singing the choruses; he is the musical director, and the arrangement Inti-Illimani is playing is his arrangement of "Vasija de Barro." Don't know why this arrangement does not feature all of the verses -- maybe there were time constraints with the broadcast studio.


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