Canto de Meditación (Misa Campesina)

Today’s song is the Canto de Meditación from Carlos Mejía Godoy’s Misa Campesina Nicaragüense. Perhaps not the most well known tune I’ve played, but this song and in fact the whole of the Misa Campesina is a personal favourite.  I was introduced to the Misa Campesina while studying Latin American music with Mike González at Glasgow University and ended up doing a special study on it as part of my degree.

The Misa Campesina combined Nicaraguan folk music with liberation theology and was composed in the artistic community of Solentiname in the southern end of Lake Nicaragua. Given the non-conformist lyrics the mass was quickly banned by the church in Nicaragua. However it grew in popularity as it was used at clandestine celebrations which spread through the country.

This particular song’s lyrics include the following lines:

Before the day breaks
the birds of the mountains
give us their melodies,
their guises and zenzontes.
The sonorous pecking
of a carpenter is heard
who is constructing his house
in the top of a tree,
and a sparrow jumps
from one branch to another, nearby.

Just like these little birds,
today I sing to you, Lord,
and ask you to unite us
in strength and in love.
I praise you a thousand times
because you were also a rebel,
fighting night and day
against the injustice of humanity.

If you’re interested, here’s a video of the original complete with Spanish lyrics to sing along.