October 8, 2019

Music to Nurture Nature

Listening Post 222. Colombia ranks second in the Americas for forest cover and second worldwide in overall biodiversity, but the country is paying an unexpected environmental price for peace: The 2016 accord between government and guerrillas made more land accessible to exploitation, and as a result deforestation has increased dramatically. Government, community organizations and NGOs are battling to protect the trees; meanwhile, every popular movement needs an artistic dimension and one generous contribution to the green campaign is Malo Viento (Ill Wind), the signature song of Yapunto’s eponymous debut album (video 1). The group began when a collection of French musicians with classical, jazz and reggae backgrounds bonded over a passion for Colombian traditional music. They found their warm, alluring voice in Cali-born Alexandra Charry, who moved to France at 18 to study cello. Charry’s Colombian partners on Malo Viento—which counters the environmental storm with vivacious rhythms, bountiful brass and a driving guitar refrain—are lyricist Nancy Murillo and guest vocalist Nidia Góngora. Yapunto (the band) is itself bio-diverse, not only with talent from opposite sides of the ocean but also in their music’s Afro-Colombian, Indigenous and Spanish roots. While their green anthem offers an aerial view, the rest of Yapunto! (the album) focuses on people below with earthly dreams, faults, fears, indulgences and struggles against forces often beyond their control. Despedida (Farewell) is a painful, pulsating love story (video 2), while the salsa-infused Promesa (Promise) describes a hidden but hopeful interracial romance (video 3). Ultima Moda (Latest Fashion) is a frenzied hymn to hedonistic ambition (video 4). Another notable track, Tarantula, evokes the reign of Medellín’s notorious “Black Widow” drug queen, assassinated in 2012. Yapunto! radiates ideas new and old: That the upbeat serves the downtrodden, that Latin brio and Gallic joie de vivre make a potent combination and that great music can nurture nature. (Yapunto/In Ouïe Distribution)

Yapunto! (That’s It!) by Yapunto
Alexandra Charry: Vocals
Marie Bedat: Trumpet, backing vocals
Stéphane Montigny: Trombone, backing vocals
Boris Pokora: Alto sax, clarinet, bagpipes, backing vocals
Sébastien Rideau: Electric guitar
Gabriel Bouillon: Acoustic Guitar
Jakub Trzepizur: Bass
Adrien Garrido: Congas, percussion
David Delhomme: Tambora, timbales, bombo, maracas, guiro
Mogan Cornebert: Drums

Nidia Góngora: Guest vocals on Malo Viento


Malo Viento/Ill Wind
Lyrics: Nancy Murillo/Music: Stéphane Montigny

(from the Spanish lyrics)
My beautiful Dagua/Pacific, my shoreline
Fishermen of hope, cruising in heliconias, trills and vegetables
Nets that foretell the favor of our ancestors in channels of gold/And gratitude

Ill Wind, running after time/Ill wind, in the concrete jungle

In my childhood you were a healing breeze/You were a bountiful river
You blessed me in Buenaventura, in San Cipriano and Escarabete
Pride of my ancestors
My land is now being torn apart/Cutting flora, frightening fauna

Ill Wind, running after time/Ill wind, in the concrete jungle

Run, They are cutting down the jungle
Run, They are drying out the rivers
Run, The guama bean no longer grows
Run, The canoes no longer launch
Run, The field is bare
Run, they’re digging up the vegetation
Run, Ay I can’t take any more

Ill Wind, running after time/Ill wind, in the concrete jungle

I no longer feel the air that freshened my face/Or hear the birds singing on high
Only the noise of machines, machines, machines/Sinking their claws into my shoreline without compassion

Run/The beach no longer embraces me
Run/The creek has dried up
Run/My canal, what a shame
Run/From Naya to Yurumangui, the hills are silent
Run/With the withered trill
Run/Witnesses are saying farewell 

Run/They’re cutting down the jungle
Run/The rivers are drying up
Run/Pepepan fruit grows no more
The peach palm is dying/The corn no longer sprouts
Borojó doesn’t sweeten life/More than one hundred lifespans lost

San Juan Calima El Dagua/La Naja Rapozo Anchicaya
Agua Clara San Cipriano/Zabaletas Queremal Yurumanqui


Lyrics: Nancy Murillo/Music: Jakub Trzepizur

I won’t forget you/What I’m left with is the painful memory of your goodbye
Sorrow and grief, but never resentment/The sadness of not telling you how I suffered
All this lives permanently in my heart

It is my great sorrow/I have only the sensation of your departure
Words that pride has silenced/Memories of laughter and joy

Padre mio!/How intensely it all beats in my heart

There remains only my love for you/I’ll be with you all my life
And from heaven God will protect me and can guide you/For life


Lyrics: Nancy Murillo/Music: Jakub Trzepizur & Adrien Garrido

Braving the road/I will find you, my truth
Our secret love will be uncovered/You and I, my love, our story that will not die
We are the promise, we will be united

You’ve given me the news of our child/Growing in your belly
Singing promises of this love/In loneliness
The most beautiful thing I could wish for/Is to hold you in my arms
Cover you with dreams of tomorrow/With freedom

The town is stirring/What will they say of my truth?
A house of white and black/How terrible
Braving the way/I will find you, my truth
We are the promise/We will be united

The dew and the dawn will give/And from heaven they will come down
With incense and myrrh fire of gold/They will cover it
The conscience of the people will open/And through a window they will fly
The ashes of sorrows and injustices/Will be shaken off

Batallions of laughter, flowers of war, arms full of mercy/Hearts awaken in our children
It will bring us light of hope in tomorrow/Full of prosperity
Where white, Indian, Moor and black/Join together


Ultima Moda/Latest Fashion
Lyrics: Nancy Murillo/Music: Boris Pokora

Life is passing, my love, I don’t have time to cry/Life is passing, my love, what I want is to enjoy
To live with passion and see the butterflies parade through the flowers/A happy sunset and forget all sorrow

Buy me a car, the latest model/Buy me a villa already
I’ll color my hair the most beautiful shade of brown/Dress me in designer clothing

Pay to have my boobs enlarged/And my lips pinched in the most vulgar shape
I’ll fill in my face with Botox now!/If they screw up, I won’t go there anymore

Owe, pay, go back and start life again so I can enjoy it
Leave, enter, buy, judge, no time to scrounge for crumbs
Live, run, sleep, wake, without a chance to enjoy
Go out, sing, drink toasts and dance, and make the most of time



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