Note: The following post was inspired by a writing prompt by Scott, whose website is Mental Defecation. I don’t mean that as an insult. That’s actually the name of his blog!
This month, Scott provided 30 song-related writing prompts for November. His prompt for November 18th was to write about (a) a song you love but rarely listen to, or (b) a song from the year you were born.
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I’ve decided to write about a song I love but rarely listen to. It’s one I first heard about 12 years ago, when it was performed by Oscar Fuentes, a singer-songwriter from Guadalajara who now lives in Tucson, Arizona. The piece, written by León Chávez Teixeiro, a Mexican composer of social justice songs, has a very unusual name: 15 metros, 3 pulgadas, 8 octavos, 16.
Why I Love this Song
I love its melody, its chords, the spoken part that comes in about halfway through it, the rising intensity that really takes off in the last minute, and the way my friend Oscar sings it with so much feeling. Most of all, I love the emotions it brings out in me. The song just inexplicably touches my soul. And all of that without my knowing what the song is about.
The words are sung in Spanish, and only in Spanish. As far as I know, they’ve never been translated. And even though I have a pretty good working knowledge of Spanish, I know I’m missing a whole lot here. I think the lyrics are probably like poetry … the kind of poetry whose meaning isn’t all that obvious.
By reading a few YouTube comments (in Spanish) I’ve been able to gather that it’s a letter to someone from a worker who’s been injured on a job. But I think it’s also about love, loss, pain, and maybe even corruption. And at the end, there’s an invitation to “visit me, if you remember your friend, and I’ll give you a cup of hot coffee.” I hope I have that right. I’m guessing that, since the songwriter, Teixeiro, was known for his social activism, it’s probably a political song.
But I still don’t understand the significance of the numbers (15 meters, 3 inches, 8/8, 16) that are sung only twice during the song, and that make up the song’s title. If anyone can explain the song’s meaning to me, please leave a comment below.
Why I Rarely Listen to It
The best way to hear this song, in my opinion, is to go to one of Oscar’s gigs and hear him perform it live. But since I no longer live in Tucson, that option is out.
I do have his CD, “Esto Que Ves,” which includes this song, but I just haven’t been listening to my CDs lately. Life has gotten in the way. Isn’t that sad? I’m going to have to change my ways. I’ve been missing out on so many good musical moments.
And now that I’ve found a brand new video of Oscar performing it live in his studio (yay!) I’ll be listening to it a lot more often.
What I’m Doing Right Now
Listening to Oscar singing 15 metros, 3 pulgadas, 8 octavos, 16, of course. He’s accompanied by his music partner Mark Anthony Febbo, another talented Tucson musician.
I highly recommend that you click the link below and do the same. If you do, be sure to TURN IT UP LOUD, especially toward the end.
Yep. It still gets to me.
You can also hear a wonderful recording of the song’s composer, León Chávez Teixeiro, performing it at age 83, here (with a beautiful piano accompaniment):
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This is post #18 of the month-long challenge known as #NaBloPoMo or #NanoPoblano. To follow my blog, please click below where it says “Follow loristory.”
And, to read more of the NanoPoblano posts written by the supportive blogging group “Cheer Peppers,” click the image below.
Featured image (girl with guitar) by Saydung89 @ pixabay.com