Monday, January 15, 2007

A Song Called "Gernika"

I want to publicly thanks Andy Roberts for sharing his song "Gernika" with all of us.

If you want to listen to it and even download it, go to his blog DARnet:

Gernika Guernica

The story of the song

Everything is true.

In April 2003 I went on a solo trip around the Basque region of Spain and France. Driving inland from east to west, I called in at the town of Guernica, and after some lunch I wandered towards the town centre and heard the sound of guitar music and singing. It looked like a street party, possibly a wedding. But every few minutes, somebody wound up an old air raid warning siren. I stood and listened to the south american folk singer for a while, and then a woman who was seated at the long table with her family beckoned me over.

“Would you like to sit down, have something to drink, some food. Do you know what this is about? Today is the anniversary of the bombing of Gernika, here” “Oh really?” We chatted some more. I had read a moving passage in my alternative guide book about the history of Gurnica but hadn’t noticed the date. When the musician stopped, people looked disappointed but he had run out of songs. After travelling alone for a week I was appreciating the company there and moved by the occasion and I felt compelled to offer my fraternal greetings in the international language of music, but what kind of song would be appropriate? “Imagine” came to mind, and seemed to go down well. Then I quietly started singing “the internationaleacapella, holding the silent guitar. An older man at the back recognised the tune and stood up, earnestly making a fist and singing with gusto, then everybody else rose from the tables and seats and joined in.

As I drove on that afternoon, I began mentally penning the first few verses of the song. In the evening, at my hotel, the TV was showing that day’s footage of the destruction of Bagdhad and I finished the lyrics within the next day, I think.

What a nice story of friendship and solidarity among human beings.

I'll leave you with this paragraph of the song:

So you say the General was a monster, and the little Austrian mad
but how to explain Sarejevo, and now, what about Bagdhad?

~ ~ ~

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