Uruguayan Candombe

Bilingual poems about candombe, the true essence of Uruguayan music



Candombe blues (Montevideo, 24 de Agosto, 2012)

Hay una melancolía
salvaje en el candombe

un trance que deshace
lo que pasó

todo es ahora

todo es tambor


Lo sagrado (Montevideo, 24 de Agosto, 2012)

Las manos del Lobo 
en el tambor


La mort de mon silence (Montevideo, August 25th, 2012)

I hear the drum

and from the rhythm
a melodic bless

i can taste it

I unite
with the past
of the land

my open windows bring
the music waft

from the hearts
and the hands

and the flesh
of the drum

brings me back
to the thing that we are

and so many
have forgotten


the thing I am


 As I listened to the drums outside my window (Montevideo, Llamada day 1, 2015)

La llamada me habla

Me cuenta cosas
desde otro tiempo

sabe de mí
y del pasado
pero es presente

suena en las tripas
vibra en los huesos
el corazón
de aquellos negros
el fuego nuestro

la llamada me escucha
desde adentro

y no se calla
aunque tu ausencia
mi danza ciega

y no se calla
y nunca miente

el tambor sangra
el tambor sana
el tambor llama
venga quien venga

El tambor suena
entre los cuerpos

calles de manos
barrio de luna llena

Sur de mi cuerpo
Canto sin verbo

Africa Ámerica
Gondwana entera

Calles de piedra
lonja de pieles

Noche de fuego
Llamada grito sal sudor caderas
brillo de luna piel latido tiempo

Pecho partido

sangre caliente

Avanza goza mueve

Renace siempre


Soundtrack of us (Nov 9th, 2013)

The power of the drum
in Sur
right now
it is the opposite
of falling bombs
it is the pulse of life
and even if
I stay inside
and listen to a Hitchens talk
I am out there
with them
I let the Life
flow through my veins
my English language brain
my Uruguayan heart

I am outside
with them
and though I´m white
and we live in an age
of slavery disguised
I too
am crying for freedom

I am a white-haired
black woman
carrying her worn out flesh
towards the beat
in a colonial slum
in old Montevideo
by the sea

My heart jumps out
my inner chains
are split

The drum is me


Untitled (June 9th, 2013)

the barrio is drumming
the llamada is calling you

it´s drumming cats and lovers

maybe one day
it´ll be a rain of you


Candombe fade (Montevideo, July 25th, 2012)

I´m torn between myself and I
b´tween me
and the thing I am

en el candombe me pierdo
y no me encuentro más


Antes de la llamada/African queens (Montevideo, on the day before llamadas, Feb 8th, 2012)

My back hurts
my heart melts
the drums won´t wait
till I can dance

they will come droning in
like lazy bees
disturb my semblance peace

my thin glass windows
won´t protect me
from their sting

I´ll have no choice
but to join in
and still
I´ll know
it´s not my drone
it´s not my throne
I should be dancing
to your beat


Snake charmer of hips (Barrio Sur, Montevideo, Feb 10th, 2012)

the llamada 
is calling me

it knows no pain
no sleeplessness
no proper dress

it doesn´t lure
it snatches me
it pulls
it drags me by my hair

I have no stir
no will
I don´t have to want it
be ready
be prepared
to know
I will
be there

it comes in through my windows
first in a muffled
faraway drone
then it gets strong
and deafening
until I can´t
think anymore
do anything
unless I cave
unless I go
and dance with them

release the body
surrender all control
set my hips free
and let them do
what they were meant for

bajar a la llamada
meterse en el calor
hundirse en el sudor
quedarse ahí
en la llamada
perderme entre el tambor

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