Nostra Aetate | In our Time

This year on the eve of Ramadan, I noticed Christians, Roman Catholics included, sharing this post from the Voice of the Martyrs - USA.

As Ramadan begins, will you pray for a move of the Holy Spirit across the Muslim world, and that many Muslims will come to know Jesus Christ during their month of spiritual seeking?

?


How did The Christ really keep His cool
When He encountered the self-righteous fool?
He said, "Father, please let the children come to me
And dispel this stink of Pharisee."

The thing is, Roman Catholics should know better. The fact that many of them do not is the fault of their religious teachers and their own lack of empathy and curiousity, the self-absorbed oblivion that comes from religious imperialism, the illusion of central position that is the delusion of imperialists of all stripes. Holier than the Pope, these Roman Catholics who will tell all who will listen that ours is the one, true religion, end of, are the same Roman Catholics who support either by active encouragement or silent complicity, imperialism at home and abroad, war, consumerism, environmental destruction, cruel dominion over animals and rabid capitalism.

Well, coming out of the Second Vatican Council and passed by a vote of 2,221 to 88 of the assembled bishops, Pope Paul VI promulgated on October 28, 1965, the declaration "Nostra aetate" which is the Latin for "In our Time." It stands as the Declaration on the Relation of the Church with Non-Christian Religions. 

Here is what the then Vicar of Christ and supreme apostolic authority declared to the Roman Catholic world about how we should view Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and Judaism. I am not sure if the religions addressed accept how they have been described but I am grateful for the spirit of the document.

DECLARATION ON 

THE RELATION OF THE CHURCH TO NON-CHRISTIAN RELIGIONS


PROCLAIMED BY HIS HOLINESS

POPE PAUL VI

ON OCTOBER 28, 1965

1. In our time, when day by day mankind is being drawn closer together, and the ties between different peoples are becoming stronger, the Church examines more closely her relationship to non-Christian religions. In her task of promoting unity and love among men, indeed among nations, she considers above all in this declaration what men have in common and what draws them to fellowship.

One is the community of all peoples, one their origin, for God made the whole human race to live over the face of the earth.(1) One also is their final goal, God. His providence, His manifestations of goodness, His saving design extend to all men,(2) until that time when the elect will be united in the Holy City, the city ablaze with the glory of God, where the nations will walk in His light.(3)

Men expect from the various religions answers to the unsolved riddles of the human condition, which today, even as in former times, deeply stir the hearts of men: What is man? What is the meaning, the aim of our life? What is moral good, what is sin? Whence suffering and what purpose does it serve? Which is the road to true happiness? What are death, judgment and retribution after death? What, finally, is that ultimate inexpressible mystery which encompasses our existence: whence do we come, and where are we going?

2. From ancient times down to the present, there is found among various peoples a certain perception of that hidden power which hovers over the course of things and over the events of human history; at times some indeed have come to the recognition of a Supreme Being, or even of a Father. This perception and recognition penetrates their lives with a profound religious sense.

Religions, however, that are bound up with an advanced culture have struggled to answer the same questions by means of more refined concepts and a more developed language. Thus in Hinduism, men contemplate the divine mystery and express it through an inexhaustible abundance of myths and through searching philosophical inquiry. They seek freedom from the anguish of our human condition either through ascetical practices or profound meditation or a flight to God with love and trust. Again, Buddhism, in its various forms, realizes the radical insufficiency of this changeable world; it teaches a way by which men, in a devout and confident spirit, may be able either to acquire the state of perfect liberation, or attain, by their own efforts or through higher help, supreme illumination. Likewise, other religions found everywhere try to counter the restlessness of the human heart, each in its own manner, by proposing "ways," comprising teachings, rules of life, and sacred rites. The Catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in these religions. She regards with sincere reverence those ways of conduct and of life, those precepts and teachings which, though differing in many aspects from the ones she holds and sets forth, nonetheless often reflect a ray of that Truth which enlightens all men. Indeed, she proclaims, and ever must proclaim Christ "the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6), in whom men may find the fullness of religious life, in whom God has reconciled all things to Himself.(4)

The Church, therefore, exhorts her sons, that through dialogue and collaboration with the followers of other religions, carried out with prudence and love and in witness to the Christian faith and life, they recognize, preserve and promote the good things, spiritual and moral, as well as the socio-cultural values found among these men.

3. The Church regards with esteem also the Moslems. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all- powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth,(5) who has spoken to men; they take pains to submit wholeheartedly to even His inscrutable decrees, just as Abraham, with whom the faith of Islam takes pleasure in linking itself, submitted to God. Though they do not acknowledge Jesus as God, they revere Him as a prophet. They also honor Mary, His virgin Mother; at times they even call on her with devotion. In addition, they await the day of judgment when God will render their deserts to all those who have been raised up from the dead. Finally, they value the moral life and worship God especially through prayer, almsgiving and fasting.

Since in the course of centuries not a few quarrels and hostilities have arisen between Christians and Moslems, this sacred synod urges all to forget the past and to work sincerely for mutual understanding and to preserve as well as to promote together for the benefit of all mankind social justice and moral welfare, as well as peace and freedom.

4. As the sacred synod searches into the mystery of the Church, it remembers the bond that spiritually ties the people of the New Covenant to Abraham's stock.

Thus the Church of Christ acknowledges that, according to God's saving design, the beginnings of her faith and her election are found already among the Patriarchs, Moses and the prophets. She professes that all who believe in Christ-Abraham's sons according to faith (6)-are included in the same Patriarch's call, and likewise that the salvation of the Church is mysteriously foreshadowed by the chosen people's exodus from the land of bondage. The Church, therefore, cannot forget that she received the revelation of the Old Testament through the people with whom God in His inexpressible mercy concluded the Ancient Covenant. Nor can she forget that she draws sustenance from the root of that well-cultivated olive tree onto which have been grafted the wild shoots, the Gentiles.(7) Indeed, the Church believes that by His cross Christ, Our Peace, reconciled Jews and Gentiles. making both one in Himself.(8)

The Church keeps ever in mind the words of the Apostle about his kinsmen: "theirs is the sonship and the glory and the covenants and the law and the worship and the promises; theirs are the fathers and from them is the Christ according to the flesh" (Rom. 9:4-5), the Son of the Virgin Mary. She also recalls that the Apostles, the Church's main-stay and pillars, as well as most of the early disciples who proclaimed Christ's Gospel to the world, sprang from the Jewish people.

As Holy Scripture testifies, Jerusalem did not recognize the time of her visitation,(9) nor did the Jews in large number, accept the Gospel; indeed not a few opposed its spreading.(10) Nevertheless, God holds the Jews most dear for the sake of their Fathers; He does not repent of the gifts He makes or of the calls He issues-such is the witness of the Apostle.(11) In company with the Prophets and the same Apostle, the Church awaits that day, known to God alone, on which all peoples will address the Lord in a single voice and "serve him shoulder to shoulder" (Soph. 3:9).(12)

Since the spiritual patrimony common to Christians and Jews is thus so great, this sacred synod wants to foster and recommend that mutual understanding and respect which is the fruit, above all, of biblical and theological studies as well as of fraternal dialogues.

True, the Jewish authorities and those who followed their lead pressed for the death of Christ;(13) still, what happened in His passion cannot be charged against all the Jews, without distinction, then alive, nor against the Jews of today. Although the Church is the new people of God, the Jews should not be presented as rejected or accursed by God, as if this followed from the Holy Scriptures. All should see to it, then, that in catechetical work or in the preaching of the word of God they do not teach anything that does not conform to the truth of the Gospel and the spirit of Christ.

Furthermore, in her rejection of every persecution against any man, the Church, mindful of the patrimony she shares with the Jews and moved not by political reasons but by the Gospel's spiritual love, decries hatred, persecutions, displays of anti-Semitism, directed against Jews at any time and by anyone.

Besides, as the Church has always held and holds now, Christ underwent His passion and death freely, because of the sins of men and out of infinite love, in order that all may reach salvation. It is, therefore, the burden of the Church's preaching to proclaim the cross of Christ as the sign of God's all-embracing love and as the fountain from which every grace flows.

5. We cannot truly call on God, the Father of all, if we refuse to treat in a brotherly way any man, created as he is in the image of God. Man's relation to God the Father and his relation to men his brothers are so linked together that Scripture says: "He who does not love does not know God" (1 John 4:8).

No foundation therefore remains for any theory or practice that leads to discrimination between man and man or people and people, so far as their human dignity and the rights flowing from it are concerned.

The Church reproves, as foreign to the mind of Christ, any discrimination against men or harassment of them because of their race, color, condition of life, or religion. On the contrary, following in the footsteps of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, this sacred synod ardently implores the Christian faithful to "maintain good fellowship among the nations" (1 Peter 2:12), and, if possible, to live for their part in peace with all men,(14) so that they may truly be sons of the Father who is in heaven.(15)

NOTES

1. Cf. Acts 17:26

2. Cf. Wis. 8:1; Acts 14:17; Rom. 2:6-7; 1 Tim. 2:4

3. Cf. Apoc. 21:23f.

4. Cf 2 Cor. 5:18-19

5. Cf St. Gregory VII, letter XXI to Anzir (Nacir), King of Mauritania (Pl. 148, col. 450f.)

6. Cf. Gal. 3:7

7. Cf. Rom. 11:17-24

8. Cf. Eph. 2:14-16

9. Cf. Lk. 19:44

10. Cf. Rom. 11:28

11. Cf. Rom. 11:28-29; cf. dogmatic Constitution, Lumen Gentium (Light of nations) AAS, 57 (1965) pag. 20

12. Cf. Is. 66:23; Ps. 65:4; Rom. 11:11-32

13. Cf. John. 19:6

14. Cf. Rom. 12:18

15. Cf. Matt. 5:45

SOURCE
To return to the Voice of the Martyrs' call to pray for a move of the Holy Spirit across the Muslim world, while no one discourages anyone from invoking the power of the Holy Spirit, what makes these people believe that the Holy Spirit is not perpetually moving over the entire world from the beginning of time, and is already in the hearts of the saints and the strugglers of all religions which have as their goal the recognition of and respect for the divinity in humanity and the natural world around us?

I was unaware of Nostra Aetate when I was growing up Roman Catholic but thankfully, I was growing up in Trinidad and Tobago with Muslim and Hindu children who were my peers. In Our Time, God was in happiness to be shared and sadness to be overcome. He was in fat, tart-sweet-peppery tamarind balls, in the crunchy yet succulent sweetness of jalebi, in aromatic sawine, in stewed plums and bara. He was in names like Feroze, Sarita, Alia and Joshua. He was in Sundar Popo and Sewalla Street and in the shiny ball that fell off a tadjah and was cherished by my tiny hand one Hosay. Churches, mosques and mandirs dotted the landscape but they were like private, bedecked boudoirs where adherents could consummate and concentrate and recalibrate. God was in those places too we were told but we children preferred to be outside in the open places. It was in the commons that our sincerity was tested and where we confirmed the eternal truths about our basic humanity, the same truths that some of us would later bury in order to better serve the perversions of tribe, discrimination, competition and greed.

"Patria est communis omnium parens" - Our native land is the common parent of us all. Keep it beautiful, make it even more so.

Blessed is all of creation
Blessed be my beautiful people
Blessed be the day of our awakening
Blessed is my country
Blessed are her patient hills.

Mweh ka allay!
Guanaguanare

Nirbhay nirgun gun re gaunga [Bhajan]


Uploaded by Uday Mohole

NIRBHAY NIRGUN GUN RE GAUNGA
Fearlessly I Will Sing the Attributes of the One without Attributes
By Kabir
Duet by Pandit Kumar Gandharva & Vidushi Vasundhara Komkali

I dedicate this bhajan to Ali Habib

Ahhh..
Nirbhay Nirgun Gun Re Gaunga Gaunga
Nirbhay Nirgun Gun Re Gaunga Gaunga.

Fearlessly I will sing the attributes of the One without attributes

Mool Kamal Dradh Aasan Bandhu-ji
Mool Kamal Dradh Mool Kamal Dradh Aasan Bandhu-ji

Using the base lotus as the steady seat

Ulti Pavan Chadaunga Chadaunga
Nirbhay Nirgun Gun Re Gaunga Gaunga
Nirbhay Nirgun

Make the breath flow upward.

Man Mamta Ko Thir Kar Laun-ji
Man Mamta Ko oh Man Mamta Ko Thir Kar Laun-ji

I will still the mind and feelings

Pancho Tat Milaunga Milaunga
Nirbhay Nirgun Gun Re Gaunga Gaunga
Nirbhay Nirgun

I will unify the five elements

Ingala Pingala Sukhman Nadi-ji
Ingala Pingala Ingala Pingala Sukhman Nadi-ji

Ingila, Pingala and Sukhman are the channels

Tirveni Pe Haun Nahaunga Nauhaunga
Nirbhay Nirgun Gun Re Gaunga Gaunga
Nirbhay Nirgun

I will bathe at the confluence of the Three Rivers

Panch Pachhison Pakad Mangaun-ji
Panch Pachhison oh Panch Pachhison Pakad Mangaun-ji

I will master the Five and Twenty-Five by my wish

Ek Hi Dor Lagaunga Lagaunga
Nirbhay Nirgun Gun Re Gaunga Gaunga
Nirbhay Nirgun

And string them together by one common thread

Shunya Shikhar Par Anhad Baje-ji
Shunya Shikhar Par Shunya Shikhar Par Anhad Baje-ji

On the peak of emptiness where the unstruck sound resounds,

Raag Chattis Sunaunga Sunaunga
Nirbhay Nirgun Gun Re Gaunga Gaunga
Nirbhay Nirgun

I’ll sing thirty-six ragas.

Kahat Kabir Suno Bhai Sadho-ji
Kahat Kabir ah Kahat Kabir Suno Bhai Sadho-ji

Kabir says, "Listen, truth-seekers"

Jeet Nishan Ghuraunga Ghuraunga
Nirbhay Nirgun Gun Re Gaunga Gaunga
Nirbhay Nirgun Gun Re Gaunga Gaunga
Nirbhay Nirgun
Nirbhay Nirgun
Nirbhay Nirgun
Nirbhay Nirgun.

I’ll wave the sign of victory.

Explanation by Rajender Krishan
"In this song, Kabir clearly shows the "real" meaning of certain phrases used in ancient texts. Often these are mistaken to be reference to physical places while in reality an internal experience is actually being told.

Fear is the first and biggest obstacle to spiritual realization. And a state of fearlessness shows that a person has actually accepted the environment or physical reality for what it is. In that state of accepting oneness, Kabir says that he is going to expound on the attributes of the ultimate.

Mapping out the procedure for this spiritual journey, Kabir says that we have to start by rooting ourselves (as the tree or plant roots itself) at the base or seat of the energy. The lotus is a reference to a spiritual experience of energy that "flowers" much like a lotus rising above the negativity and fear. Note that the source for nourishment of this lotus is indeed coming from the same swampy muck of negativity. In other words, the negativity or fear is not intrinsically "bad" but really needs to be channeled into more creative expressions. In such a re-channeling of energy, the subtle life force (much like a wind or molecular energy current) starts defying gravity (of our limitations) and moves in a reverse elevating fashion. The further it moves up the less constrained it becomes - in effect integrating all of reality into a universal oneness.

What pulls the energy down is the gravitational force of our attachments. Therefore the mind needs to be steadied to a state of equilibrium where these attachments are no longer forcing us downward to the realm of fear. In such a state of upward transition, the earthy reality of fear gets transformed to the watery reality of creativity, then the fiery reality of power onto the airy reality of love and finally the ethereal realm of freedom and total spatial detachment. In effect, the five elements of earth, water, fire, air and ether are merged in a transcendental fashion.

At this stage of the journey the pair of opposites are balanced. That is, the cold dispassionate channel and the hot passionate channel are balanced in the center channel through a dynamic equilibrium. However, reality is still flowing and time is not transcended. Only when the triad of flows (cold, hot and lukewarm, or past, future and present, or left, right and center) merge that one is able to overcome the grip of Kala or time. It is then that the three rivers or channels merge at the confluence of Triveni and one takes a holy dip of immortality. Why immortality? Because at this point the constraints of both space (through the unifying of the five elements) and time (through the merging of the three channels) have been removed. In fact, the holy dip in the immortality of Triveni is an internal experience and the physical location of Prayag (Allahabad, India) is only a reminder of this inner truth. In other words, Kabir is indicating that only when one experiences such holy bathing within does one become immortal and not by a mere dip in the waters of the three rivers at Allahabad.

When such a confluence is achieved one has the ability of controlling the five senses and twenty-five ways of experiencing world and stringing them with the oneness of your inner self much like a garland. Since there is nothing but yourself, Kabir calls it the summit of nothingness. The feat of reaching the summit of creation is celebrated by the waving of a flag of victory and sounds of a myriad of rhythmic symphonies coming from the eternal un-struck sound that brings forth the entire creation itself." SOURCE
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Note From The Gull

Thank you, Kabir, Pandit Kumar Gandharva & Vidushi Vasundhara Komkali, Ali Hamid and Rajender Krishan for sharing beauty. Kabir believed that God is One and that all religions are aspiring towards the same goal. If we look for the commonalities, we will find them. One of the bhajans I learned growing up in Trinidad, expressed it this way:

Call Him Allah, call Him Christ
Call Him Krishna, call Him Ram
He's the same God to all man
He's the same God to all man
He's the same God to all man.

I first encountered the concept of Bindu in the bhajan, Sunta Hai Guru Gyani also performed by Pandit Kumar. One of its meanings in metaphysics is the point at which creation begins and may become unity. It is also described as the sacred symbol of the cosmos in its unmanifested state. Thanks to Ali Habib, a visitor to the blog, I was pointed in the direction of another concept - nirgun. I discovered that nirgun means formless. Mandar Karanjkar describes it as "something which has no physical attributes like form, color, smell or even physical existence. In India, a large number of religious seekers believe that god is formless, it cannot be identified with any idol, color etc. Sant Kabir has written a large number of verses which talk about formless god. These verses, called as nirguni bhajans are at times very difficult to understand as the apparent and hidden meanings differ a lot." SOURCE   I then found the nirgun bhajan featured in this post and as I listened, I recalled that mystical verse in the first book of the Bible - Genesis:

"Now the earth was formless and empty, 
darkness was over the surface of the deep, 
and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters." 
--Genesis 1:2

Sometimes my experience is that it is an extremely beautiful world in which we live and at other times, I feel that this is a place of great suffering. The discipline which can bring a person to the point where he or she does not have to be burdened by overwhelming pain or too intense and fickle joy, is something with which I have not been blessed.

"On the peak of emptiness where the unstruck sound resounds..."

That is where/what I want to be.

Jeet Nishan Ghuraunga!

"Patria est communis omnium parens" - Our native land is the common parent of us all. Keep it beautiful, make it even more so.

Blessed is all of creation
Blessed be my beautiful people
Blessed be the day of our awakening
Blessed is my country
Blessed are her patient hills.

Mweh ka allay!
Guanaguanare

Colibrí navideño [song]


Uploaded by zzLaUrA93zz

COLIBRI NAVIDEÑO
By Niños Cantores De Oriente [Barcelona, Venezuela]

Colibrí navideño cantad con mas armonia
Que al Redentor llegará tu hermosa melodía
Cuando llega la tarde se alegra los corazones
Y el colibri cantará en navidad, en navidad. [Repeat]

Christmas hummingbird, sing most melodiously
So that your beautiful melody will reach The Redeemer
When evening comes hearts are gladdened
And the hummingbird will sing at Christmas, at Christmas.


Mi canto brilla en la aurora,
Es profundo y sin igual,
Mi plumaje es tan bonito
Que reluce en navidad. [Repeat]

My song shines at dawn,
It is deep and unrivaled,
My plumage is so beautiful
How it glitters at Christmas.

Colibrí navideño cantad con mas armonia
Que al Redentor llegará tu hermosa melodía
Cuando llega la tarde se alegra los corazones
Y el colibri cantará en navidad, en navidad. [Repeat]

Cuando le canto a Jesús,
Al pie de su hermosa cuna
Los reyes magos me dicen
Que lindo, es una fortuna. [Repeat]

When I sing to Jesus,
At the foot of His beautiful cradle
The Wise Men tell me
How lovely, it is a treasure.

Colibrí navideño cantad con mas armonia
Que al Redentor llegará tu hermosa melodía
Cuando llega la tarde se alegra los corazones
Y el colibri cantará en navidad, en navidad. [Repeat]

Cuando le canto a ese niño,
Le canto con emoción,
Soy colibrí navideño
Y le canto con el corazón. [Repeat]

When I sing to that Child,
I sing with emotion,
I am the Christmas hummingbird
And I sing from the heart.

Colibrí navideño cantad con mas armonia
Que al Redentor llegará tu hermosa melodía
Cuando llega la tarde se alegra los corazones
Y el colibri cantará en navidad, en navidad. [Repeat]

Spanish lyrics source
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A Note From The Gull

Thank you, Niños Cantores De Oriente. Too beautiful for words.


In 2012, I noted with some excitement that the Minister of the People and Social Development at that time, Glenn Ramadharsingh, was in preliminary discussions with Dr Pat Bishop and three musicians from Venezuela about a new and innovative crime-fighting initiative centred around music, art and sports. It was announced that the programme would be based on El Sistema, a publicly financed voluntary sector music education programme in Venezuela and would be tailored to provide youths with an alternative to crime. Without being sidetracked by mentioning the unpleasantness of LifeSport, I would like to know what happened to the music and El Sistema. Can anyone supply details?

"Patria est communis omnium parens" - Our native land is the common parent of us all. Keep it beautiful, make it even more so.

Blessed is all of creation
Blessed be my beautiful people
Blessed be the day of our awakening
Blessed is my country
Blessed are her patient hills.

Mweh ka allay!
Guanaguanare

Venezuela-Guyana Conflict [Articles]

The Secret Agenda Behind the Venezuela-Guyana Conflict.
By Eva Golinger | Counterpunch | August 24, 2015

"It all began in 1835 when the British Empire sent a German-born naturalist and explorer to conduct geographical research in the South American territory it had colonized and named British Guiana. In the course of his explorations, a map was drawn that well-exceeded the original western boundary first occupied by the Dutch and later passed to British control. Sparking the interest of the Empire’s desire to expand its borders into the area west of the Essequibo River that was rich in gold, the British government commissioned the explorer to survey their territorial boundaries. What became known as the “Schomburgk Line”, named after the explorer, Robert Hermann Schomburgk, usurped a large portion of Venezuelan land, and provoked the beginning of a territorial dispute that has remained unresolved to this day.

In 1850, after decades of arguing over the boundary line dividing Venezuela from its colonized neighbor, both sides agreed not to occupy the disputed territory under further determinations could be made. But as the demand for gold and other natural resources grew in the region, the British again tried to claim the territory declaring the Schomburgk Line the frontier of British Guiana, in clear violation of the previous accord with Venezuela.

Ironically, Venezuela appealed to the United States government for help at the time, using the Monroe Doctrine as a justification to prevent further colonization by the British Empire in the hemisphere. US President Grover Cleveland eventually declared the matter of US interest and forced Great Britain to sign a Treaty of Arbitration with Venezuela in Washington in 1897. Two years later, the Arbitration Tribunal, which had no representatives from Venezuela but instead two arbitrators from the United States said to be acting in Venezuela’s interest, ruled in favor of Britain.

Venezuela rejected the decision, alleging there had been political collusion and illegal pressures in favor of the other side. These claims were supported by a letter written by Severo Mallet-Prevost, the Official Secretary of the US/Venezuela delegation in the Arbitration Tribunal who revealed the President of the Tribunal, Friedrich Martens had pressured the arbitrators to decide in favor of Great Britain.

More than half a century went by until the dispute was re-introduced on the international stage, this time at the United Nations. Venezuela denounced the corruption that had led to the arbitrators decision in 1899 and reiterated its claim over the territory known as the “Essequibo”. In February 1966, at a meeting in Geneva, all parties to the conflict – Venezuela, British Guiana and Great Britain – signed the agreement to resolve the dispute over the border between Venezuela and British Guiana, known as the Treaty of Geneva. They agreed neither side would act on the disputed territory until they could resolve a definitive border, acceptable to all parties. Months later, in May 1966, Guyana achieved its independence from the United Kingdom, further complicating matters. On subsequent maps of Venezuela and Guyana, both countries claimed the territory as part of their sovereign land.

Despite minor disagreements since 1966, the dispute did not become the source of escalating regional tensions until 2015, when a large oil discovery was made by Exxon right smack in the middle of the Essequibo, and claimed by Guyana.

OIL

The Cooperative Republic of Guyana is the second poorest country in the Caribbean, only surpassing desolate Haiti in per capita income. The country’s main economic activity is agriculture, specifically rice and sugar production, which account for over 30% of export income. Despite being surrounded by vast oil and gas reserves in neighboring Venezuela, which has the largest oil reserves on the planet in its Orinoco River Basin, and nearby Trinidad and Tobago, up until recently Guyana had no known oil reserves within its territorial boundaries.

Enter Exxon Mobil, one of the world’s largest oil and gas companies, and a declared enemy of Venezuela. Until 2007, Exxon had a significant investment through its Cerro Negro Project in Venezuela’s Orinoco River Basin. Initially, U.S. oil and geological experts had classified the oil-based substance found in mass quantities in that area to be bitumen, a thick black tar-like asphalt, therefore rendering it not subject to the 1976 Hydrocarbons Law in Venezuela that nationalized oil and gas reserves. After President Hugo Chavez suspected the area actually contained huge oil reserves, he had his own research done and was proved right: the Orinoco River Basin was certified with over 300 billion barrels of heavy-crude petroleum.

On May 1, 2007, Chavez officially declared all hydrocarbons in that region subject to the prior nationalization laws, legally binding any foreign companies operating there to engage in joint-ventures with the Venezuelan public oil company, PDVSA. The law required a minimum of 51% ownership by the Venezuelan state, with a maximum of 49% for foreign companies. Only two companies refused to cooperate with the new laws. Both were from the United States: ConocoPhillips and ExxonMobil. Both sued Venezuela over the nationalizations.

ConocoPhillips’ claim was significantly smaller than Exxon’s, which demanded over $18 billion for the expropriation. Venezuela offered market value and the case went to an international arbitration tribunal that eventually ordered the Venezuelan government to pay Exxon $1.6 billion, a mere fraction of what the US oil giant had expected.
In an apparent act of revenge, Exxon found a way to get Venezuela’s oil without following Venezuela’s rules, albeit through illegal and potentially dangerous channels.

EXXON-US AGENDA

As the Obama administration was amping up hostility against Venezuela, declaring it via Executive Decree an “unusual and extraordinary threat to U.S. national security” and imposing potentially vast-reaching sanctions on government officials, Exxon was making a deal with Guyana to explore oil deposits in the disputed Essequibo territory.

In May 2015, just as Guyana was swearing in a new president, the conservative military officer David Granger, a close U.S. ally, Exxon was making a huge discovery in the Atlantic Ocean near the Venezuelan coast. According to reports, the deposits found by Exxon in the ’Liza-1 well’ hold over 700 million barrels of oil, worth about $40 billion today. The find could be a major game changer for Guyana, representing more than 12 times its current economic input, that is, if the oil actually belonged to Guyana instead of Venezuela.

On January 26, 2015, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden hosted the first Caribbean Energy Security Initiative, bringing heads of state and high-level officials from Caribbean nations together with multinational executives in Washington. The stated goal of the new initiative is to help Caribbean nations “create the conditions to attract private-sector investment”, but Biden made the true objective clear when he declared, “…whether it’s the Ukraine or the Caribbean, no country should be able to use natural resources as a tool of coercion against any other country.”

Without mentioning it by name, Biden was referring to Venezuela and its PetroCaribe program that provides subsidized oil and gas to Caribbean nations at virtually no upfront cost. PetroCaribe has been fundamental in aiding development in the region during the past ten years since its creation. And clearly, its perceived as a threat to U.S. influence in the Caribbean, and an affront to traditional corporate exploitation of small, developing nations.

In addition to the Obama administration sanctions aimed at isolating Venezuela in the region and portraying it as a ‘failed state’, the Caribbean Energy Security Initiative takes a direct stab at Venezuela’s lifeline: oil. In the U.S. Senate Report on the Department of State’s Foreign Operations Budget for 2016, $5,000,000.00 was recommended for “enhanced efforts to help Latin America and Caribbean countries achieve greater energy independence from Venezuela”. Falling oil prices have already done damage to Venezuela’s economy, but forcing it out of the regional oil trade would hurt even more.

The main conundrum of figuring out how to replace Venezuelan oil in PetroCaribe was resolved with the stroke of a pen by Guyana’s new president, a former instructor at the U.S. Army War College who made a secret trip to the United States just three days after taking office in May. Hours later, Exxon’s oil exploration rig, Deepwater Champion made its first major lucrative discovery in the large Stabroek Block in the disputed coastal territory.

The Venezuelan government warned Exxon to leave the area, citing its claim over the Essequibo territory and the ongoing dispute with Guyana subject to UN mediation. But Exxon paid no heed to Venezuela, following President Granger’s lead in openly defying the Geneva Agreement and Venezuela’s calls to solve the conflict through diplomacy, involving the UN Good Offices in the resolution of the centuries-old dispute.

UN Secretary General Ban ki-moon has pledged to send a commission to both Venezuela and Guyana to seek resolution for a problem that now, as Washington hoped, is dividing the region. President Maduro and his Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez have been making their case before regional leaders, encouraging other Caribbean nations to support their claim over the Essequibo, or at least approve the involvement of the UN to arbitrate the dispute. In the meantime, Guyana continues to aggressively push forward with Exxon to pursue what could become the largest oil theft in the Americas."

------------------------------------------------------------------

Guyana and Venezuela in bitter border dispute after oil discovery.A bitter row with Venezuela that goes back over a century and nearly started a war is being taken to the United Nations.David Connett | Independent UK | Saturday 26 September, 2015

"It is a border dispute that over the past century has nearly provoked a war between the US and Britain, started arguments over oil and even managed to involve Google Maps.

In the latest in the row between Guyana and Venezuela, there were military exercises from both countries in recent days – essentially a spot of sabre-rattling ahead of an expected meeting between the presidents of the two nations at the UN General Assembly in New York this week.

Venezuela has long claimed a huge tract of land known as the Essequibo, which comprises nearly 40 per cent of Guyana’s current territory, much to the chagrin of the smaller nation. UN officials hope to take the sting out of the altercation by brokering a deal between Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro and Guyana’s President David Granger, but history suggests it won’t be that simple.

President Granger, who accused his opposite number of pursing an “offensive and aggressive course”, has previously rejected offers of UN mediation and says he wants the border question settled by the International Court of Justice.

The bad blood goes back a long way. In the 19th century, Venezuela disputed a claim by Britain – Guyana was a British colony at the time – as to exactly where the division between the two nations lay. The line, known as the Schomburgk Line, is named after German explorer Robert Schomburgk, commissioned by Britain in 1835 to conduct a geological survey of the territory.

It was during the diplomatic spat between Venezuela and the UK that the US government, which backed Venezuela, threatened war on London if it refused to retract its claims to the territory. War was averted by an agreement to have the dispute settled by international arbitration.

The 1899 tribunal decision appeared to settle the dispute between Venezuela and Guyana and a commission of officials from both countries thrashed out the details of the boundary in 1905. However, the 1949 publication of a memorandum written by a US lawyer who acted for Caracas sparked a new controversy. The lawyer claimed the tribunal result had favoured Britain’s claims as a result of alleged corruption and collusion between London and the Russian chair of the tribunal.

Decades later, the discovery of oil off the coast of Guyana led to Venezuela reiterating its land claims, and then this summer, extending them out to sea – leaving Guyana effectively landlocked. Venezuela’s anger was stoked further by the fact the discovery was made by a subsidiary of US oil firm Exxon Mobil. President Maduro has described his Guyana counterpart as a “hostage” of the company. Venezuela already sits on some of the world’s largest oil supplies. Guyana, however, is one of the poorest countries in the region, second only to Haiti in terms of GDP.

Since the oil discovery was announced, political rhetoric between Caracas and Georgetown has intensified, in addition to a round of commercial tit-for-tats with Guyana halting the purchase of oil from its neighbour and Venezuela sourcing its rice supplies from elsewhere.

Earlier this month, Guyana’s Foreign Minister Carl Greenidge said that the Anglophone nation would ask Google to remove from its maps service the Spanish-language labelling of street names in the disputed region of Essequibo.

Last week, Venezuela Defence Minister Vladimir Padrino confirmed its armed forces were conducting military exercises in the east of the country, near the Guyana border. “I call on the people of Venezuela to stay calm because we are seriously preparing ourselves,” he said in a TV broadcast.



President Granger said the “extraordinary military activity in eastern Venezuela” was a “hostile and aggressive” move, accusing Venezuela of massing troops on the border. This weekend his government responded by conducting military exercises of its own, including marches and parachute jumps.

Mr Granger reportedly said that “the Venezuela claims have scared away investors” from his country.

Venezuela recently used the military to close its border with Colombia. Mr Maduro’s critics claim he is using both border disputes to distract voters from economic problems ahead of elections this year."
..............................................................................................................................


A Note From The Gull

Our neighbours, Guyana and Venezuela need, for their own security and the security of the area, to put aside all the grandstanding and settle this centuries old territorial dispute once and for all without allowing outside interests to interfere. 

Those of us who have gazed long and hard into the abyss of the wily ways of the privateers understand that there are more combatants in this ring than just Venezuela and Guyana and some of us know why some forces are anxious to perpetuate and exacerbate the tensions which exist and why unbiased referees, the few, if not non-existent, are desperately needed at this time.

Personally, I don't think that anyone who cares about Guyana, wants it to be deprived of at least a share in this windfall even if it was inviting trouble by exploring for and finding oil in disputed territory. So isn't there any final compromise to be negotiated between our neighbours, one that we, in the region can refer to with pride as an indigenous victory? And speaking about "indigenous", isn't it ironic that the First Nations who are the original guardians of the land before Guyana or Venezuela existed, before Britain or Spain stuck in their beaks, before the descendants of slaves, peons, opportunists and indentured servants began to to pontificate about boundaries, isn't it ironic that they now have no say in this dispute?  

With such a wonderful opportunity for cooperation, why are these countries following the script that is inviting more trouble than they are already experiencing? Eva Golinger above thinks that President Granger is influenced by the U.S. and others suggest that President Maduro is looking for a distraction ahead of the December 6 elections. On the latter, I say to President Maduro, just let it be. If Bolivar is not doing it for the Venezuelan pueblo, especially [according to the mainstream media] in the toilet paper supply department, then let them kick the revolution to the curb. Not everybody can do like the bold men of old in the Trinbagonian children's rhyme who can wipe their erse with razor grass and walk away quite contented. Sarcastic much? I hear you ask. Yes, and tired. Never a good combination.

Destiny is a hell of a thing. I am beginning to concede that the people never choose the "wrong" thing. They choose what is coming to them.

Q: Why can't we in this region do what is best for each other? Why can't we seem to act independently without being goaded or enticed by external agents?
A: Because we ARE external agents. We do not belong.

"Patria est communis omnium parens," - Our native land is the common parent of us all. Keep it beautiful, make it even more so.

Blessed is all of creation
Blessed be my beautiful people
Blessed be the day of our awakening
Blessed is my country
Blessed are her patient hills.

Mweh ka allay!
Guanaguanare

Pajarillo [Song]


Uploaded by Denzil Lyons

PAJARILLO
Composed by Luis Silva
Performed by Los Alumnos de San Juan

Aaay …

Pajarito, pajarillo que cantas por donde quieras,
vamos a unir el cantar pa' cantarle a Venezuela,
la tierra que pare machos y no se dan donde quieran,
de esos que arriesgan la vida, cuando toca defenderla
como lo hizo Bolívar, el que libertador fuera,
que luchó a capa y espada por defender nuestra tierra.
Nosotros que no podemos hacerlo como él lo hiciera,
vamos a hacerlo cantado, pero con voz altanera,
que retumben los caminos, que recorran las fronteras
para mantener en alto y fijar nuestra bandera,
ya que desde muy pequeños nos recorre por las venas
amar, querer y sentir nuestra patria Venezuela.

Aaay...

Little bird, little bird, you sing wherever you want,
we'll join the song to sing to Venezuela,
the land that births men and does not give them whatever they want,
of those who risk their lives, when they're called to defend it
like Bolívar did, he who was the liberator,
who fought tooth and nail to defend our land.
We who cannot do it as he did,
we'll do it singing, but with an arrogant voice,
so that the paths will boom, people will cross the borders
to keep high and watch our flag,
because since we were very small
to love, to love, and to feel our homeland Venezuela
runs through our veins.


Aaay …

El tema voy a cambiar por una causa en reclamo,
que no se olvide el folclore, vida del venezolano.
Me voy a unir a la lista de copleros afamados
y en mi inspiración los nombro para jamás olvidarlos:
al Carrao de Palmarito por coplero vergatario,
a Luis Lozada “el cubiro”, de los llanos veterano,
Ángel Custodio Loyola, viejo cantor afamado
y el grandioso Florentino, él que cantó con el diablo,
al chistoso Simón Díaz por su famoso caballo.
Me despido por ahora para volver no sé cuando
y nombrar más cantadores que hasta vivirán luchando
por defender el folclore y costumbres de mi llano.

Aaay...

As a tactic I'll change the theme for a cause,
so that folklore, the life of the Venezuelan, is not forgotten.
I'll join the list of famous folk singers,
and in my inspiration I name them to never forget them:
Carrao of Palmarito, a folk singer and good person,
Luis Lozada, "the one from Cubiro," veteran of the plains,
Ángel Custodio Loyola, an old famous singer,
and the magnificent Florentino, he who sings with the devil,
and the funny Simón Díaz for his famous horse.
I bid farewell for now to return I-don't-know-when
and to name more singers who still will live fighting
to defend the folklore and customs of my plain.


Source of Spanish lyrics and translation. ..............................................................................................................................


A Note From The Gull

Thank you, Los Alumnos de San Juan.

"Patria est communis omnium parens" - Our native land is the common parent of us all. Keep it beautiful, make it even more so.

Blessed is all of creation
Blessed be my beautiful people
Blessed be the day of our awakening
Blessed is my country
Blessed are her patient hills.

Mweh ka allay!
Guanaguanare

Fuego Al Cañon [Song]


Uploaded by Marjorie De Freitas

FUEGO AL CAÑON
Sung by Los Tucusitos [Venezuela]

Fuego al cañon, fuego al cañon
Para que respeten nuestro parrandon
Fuego al cañon, fuego al cañon
Para que respeten nuestro parrandon.

Fire the cannon, fire the cannon!
To honour our celebration
Fire the cannon, fire the cannon!
To honour our celebration.

Niño chiquitito, niño parandero
Niño chiquitito, niño parandero
Vente con nosotros hasta el mes de enero
Vente con nosotros hasta el mes de enero.

Tiny child, parrandero child
Tiny child, parrandero child
Come with us until January
Come with us until January.

Fuego al cañon, fuego al cañon
Para que respeten nuestro parrandon
Fuego al cañon, fuego al cañon
Para que respeten nuestro parrandon.

Esta casa es grande, tiene cuatro esquinas
Esta casa es grande, tiene cuatro esquinas
Y en en centro tiene nardo y clavelinas
Y en en centro tiene nardo y clavelinas

This house is big, it has four corners
This house is big, it has four corners
And in the centre are tuberoses and carnations
And in the centre are tuberoses and carnations.

Fuego al cañon, fuego al cañon
Para que respeten nuestro parrandon
Fuego al cañon, fuego al cañon
Para que respeten nuestro parrandon

San José y la Virgen, la mula y el buey
San José y la Virgen, la mula y el buey
Fueron los que vieron al Niño nacer
Fueron los que vieron al Niño nacer.

San José and the Virgin, the mule and the ox
San José and the Virgin, the mule and the ox
They were the ones who witnessed the birth of The Child
They were the ones who witnessed the birth of The Child.


Fuego al cañon, fuego al cañon
Para que respeten nuestro parrandon
Fuego al cañon, fuego al cañon
Para que respeten nuestro parrandon.

Esta casa es grande, tiene cuatro aleros
Esta casa es grande, tiene cuatro aleros
Y en en centro tiene los aguinalderos
Y en en centro tiene los aguinalderos

This house is big, it has four eaves
This house is big, it has four eaves
And in the centre are the singers
And in the centre are the singers.

Fuego al cañon, fuego al cañon
Para que respeten nuestro parrandon
Fuego al cañon, fuego al cañon
Para que respeten nuestro parrandon.

.............................................................................................


A Note From The Gull

Thank you, Los Tucusitos, for this joyful rendition of an old favourite.

"Patria est communis omnium parens" - Our native land is the common parent of us all. Keep it beautiful, make it even more so.

Blessed is all of creation
Blessed be my beautiful people
Blessed be the day of our awakening
Blessed is my country
Blessed are her patient hills.

Mweh ka allay!
Guanaguanare

La Mujer Favorecida [Song]


Uploaded by Wayne Jagdeo

LA MUJER FAVORECIDA
By Alicia Jaggasar

Aaaaaye....

[Aye-ya-yay yay-yay]
[Aye-ya-yay yay-yay]
[Aye-ya-yay yay-yay]
[Ya ya-ya ya-yaye]

En esta ocasión yo le digo esta cancion a la Virgen María, una mujer que es divina
[Aye-ya-yay, aye-ya-yay]
Yo canto con alegria en este momento por la Virgen María, la madre de todo el mundo.

Una mujer que es divina, la mujer favorecida
[Aye-ya-yay yay-yay, aye-ya-yay]
Una mujer que es divina, la mujer favorecida.

Aaaaaye....

La mujer de las rosas con amor y fe doy gracias a dios por la Virgen del Valle
[Aye-ya-yay, aye-ya-yay]
Cada noche, cada dia ruege con ella por ----- en ella una madre tan bonita
Una mujer que es divina, la mujer favorecida
[Aye-ya-yay yay-yay, aye-ya-yay]
Una mujer que es divina, la mujer favorecida.

Aaaaaye....

Entre los mujeres, La Inmaculada, Reina de los cielos y Reina de la tierra
[Aye-ya-yay, aye-ya-yay]
En esta ocasión estoy contenta llenar su corazon con amor y alegria.

Una mujer que es divina, la mujer favorecida
[Aye-ya-yay yay-yay, aye-ya-yay]
Una mujer que es divina, la mujer favorecida.

El galeron, el galeron de mi corazon
Una mujer que es divina, la mujer favorecida
El galeron, el galeron de mi corazon
Una mujer que es divina, la mujer favorecida
Una mujer que es divina, la mujer favorecida.

[Aye-ya-yay yay-yay]
[Aye-ya-yay yay-yay]
[Aye-ya-yay yay-yay]
[Ya ya-ya ya-yaye]

Aaaaaye....

[Aye-ya-yay yay-yay, Aye-ya-yay yay-yay]
El galeron, el galeron de mi corazon
[Aye-ya-yay yay-yay Aye-ya-yay yay-yay]
El galeron, el galeron de mi corazon.


Translation into English

At this time I sing this song to the Virgin Mary, a woman who is divine
I sing with joy in this moment for the Virgin Mary, the mother of all the world.

Chorus:
A woman who is divine, the woman favoured.

The Lady of the Roses with love and faith I thank God for the Virgin of the Valley
Every night, every day I pray with her  ----- in her such a beautiful mother.

Among all women, The Immaculate, Queen of Heaven and Queen of the Earth
On this occasion I am happy to fill her/your heart with love and joy.

The galeron, the galeron of my heart...

Source: The lyrics posted on this blog are often transcribed directly from performances. Although it is my intention to faithfully transcribe I do not get all the words and I have a knack for hearing the wrong thing. Please feel free to correct me or to fill in the words that I miss by dropping me a message via e-mail. I'd be forever grateful. Thanks in advance! ..............................................................................................................................


A Note From The Gull

Thank you Alicia Jaggasar for this beautiful galeron dedicated to the Mother of the Christ. As I listen I imagine the original Divina Pastora, in heaven being joined by our Daisy, her bouquet held aloft as she proudly steps out dancing to announce her homeland from which this tribute ascends. ¡Aaaaaaye, Santísima Trinidad, Ayee, ayeee!

"Patria est communis omnium parens" - Our native land is the common parent of us all. Keep it beautiful, make it even more so.

Blessed is all of creation
Blessed be my beautiful people
Blessed be the day of our awakening
Blessed is my country
Blessed are her patient hills.

Mweh ka allay!
Guanaguanare

Parang Jam [Song]


Uploaded by Clynton Mann

PARANG JAM
By Sandra Hamilton

See the light, oh, so bright, all the kissing and loving tonight
All the people out in the street come to hear the sweet parang beat.

[Ay ya-yay, ay ya-yay] Music coming down the street
[Ay ya-yay, ay ya-yay] Hear the sweet parang beat
[Ay ya-yay, ay ya-yay] Soca music in the air
[Ay ya-yay, ay ya-yay] Christmas time is everywhere
Compañero, compañero [ahora aquí]
Compañero, compañero [ahora aquí]

All the friends come out to play, jamming, jamming all day
Let the rhythm move your feet as we chant down the street.

[Ay ya-yay, ay ya-yay] Music coming down the street
[Ay ya-yay, ay ya-yay] Hear the sweet parang beat
[Ay ya-yay, ay ya-yay] Soca music in the air
[Ay ya-yay, ay ya-yay] Christmas time is everywhere
Compañero, compañero [ahora aquí]
Compañero, compañero [ahora aquí]

See the night, oh, so bright, all the kissing and loving tonight
All the people out in the street come to hear the sweet parang beat.

[Ay ya-yay, ay ya-yay] Music coming down the street
[Ay ya-yay, ay ya-yay] Hear the sweet parang beat
[Ay ya-yay, ay ya-yay] Soca music in the air
[Ay ya-yay, ay ya yay] Christmas time is everywhere
Compañero, compañero [ahora aquí]
Compañero, compañero [ahora aquí]

Source: The lyrics posted on this blog are often transcribed directly from performances. Although it is my intention to faithfully transcribe I do not get all the words and I have a knack for hearing the wrong thing. Please feel free to correct me or to fill in the words that I miss by dropping me a message via e-mail. I'd be forever grateful. Thanks in advance! ..............................................................................................................................


A Note From The Gull

Thank you, Sandra Hamilton.  Wish a parang band would come by me this year. I would switch on every single light in the house, hustle them in out of the snow, lock the door behind them and never let them go.   

"Patria est communis omnium parens" - Our native land is the common parent of us all. Keep it beautiful, make it even more so.

Blessed is all of creation
Blessed be my beautiful people
Blessed be the day of our awakening
Blessed is my country
Blessed are her patient hills.

Mweh ka allay!
Guanaguanare

Soca español [Song]


Uploaded by edward spencer

SOCA ESPAÑOL
By Baron

Ay yaye yaye-yaye caramba, me gusta la manera tu soca
Oy yoy yoy, soca español
Ay yaye yaye-yaye caramba, me gusta la manera tu soca
Sí sí sí, soca español
Sí sí sí, soca español.

I met a Consuela down Venezuela
A señorita from Tucupita
We start to bailar to el music of soca
How she was moving, she had me bawling.

Sí sí sí, señorita, soca español
Sí sí sí, mi muchacha, soca español
Soca en la mañana, soca en la tarde
Soca en la fiesta, soca en la calle.

Ay yaye yaye-yaye caramba, me gusta la manera tu soca
Oy yoy yoy, soca español
Ay yaye yaye-yaye caramba, me gusta la manera tu soca
Sí sí sí, soca español
Sí sí sí, soca español
Sí sí sí, soca español.

The senorita pick up my guitar
Strumming the soca sweeter than ever
She had me frantic, the pace was hectic
She had me wassy, and if you hear me.

Sí sí sí, la señora, soca español
Sí sí sí, bella niña, soca español
Soca buen bueno, socal caliente
Soca muy bonito, soca dulce, dulce.

Ay yaye yaye-yaye caramba, me gusta la manera tu soca
Oy yoy yoy, soca español
Ay yaye yaye-yaye chiwawa, me gusta la manera tu soca
Sí sí sí, soca español
Sí sí sí, soca español.

Ay yaye yaye-yaye caramba, me gusta la manera tu soca
Oy yoy yoy, soca espanol
Ay yaye yaye-yaye caramba, me gusta la manera tu soca
Sí sí sí, soca español
Sí sí sí, soca español
Sí sí sí, soca español.

Hot was the music, so was Consuela
Such was her magic in Venezuela
The way she hold me and she unfold me
I done with English, and talking Spanish.

Sí sí sí, Consuela, soca español
Sí sí sí, ----- chica, soca español
Soca muy celebra, soca estupendo
Soca a la banda, soca a tiempo.

Ay yaye yaye-yaye caramba, me gusta la manera tu soca
Oy yoy yoy, soca espanol
Ay yaye yaye-yaye caramba, me gusta la manera tu soca
Sí sí sí, soca español
Sí sí sí...

Source: The lyrics posted on this blog are often transcribed directly from performances. Although it is my intention to faithfully transcribe I do not get all the words and I have a knack for hearing the wrong thing. Please feel free to correct me or to fill in the words that I miss by dropping me a message via e-mail. I'd be forever grateful. Thanks in advance! ..............................................................................................................................


A Note From The Gull

Thank you, Baron.

"Patria est communis omnium parens" - Our native land is the common parent of us all. Keep it beautiful, make it even more so.

Blessed is all of creation
Blessed be my beautiful people
Blessed be the day of our awakening
Blessed is my country
Blessed are her patient hills.

Mweh ka allay!
Guanaguanare

Parranda Fina [Song]


Uploaded by Joel Peters

PARRANDA FINA
Performed by Los Muchachos del Agua

Somos Muchachos del Agua cantando parranda fina
Porque ya llega la hora, la hora de Nochebuena
Somos Muchachos del Agua cantando parranda fina
Porque ya llega la hora, la hora de Nochebuena.

We are Muchachos del Agua, singing good parang
Because Christmas Eve is arriving.


Arriba y más arriba cantando parranda fina
Arriba y más arriba cantando parranda fina.

Onward and upward singing good parang.

En Trinidad cantamos parranda con gusto y alegría
------------- durante la Nochebuena
Con cuatro y guitarra, violin y con bandola
Con bajo y maracas tocamos parranda fina.

In Trinidad, we sing parang with gusto and joy
----------- during Christmas Eve
With cuatro and guitar, violin and bandola
With banjo and maracs, we play good parang.


Arriba y más arriba cantando parranda fina
Arriba y más arriba cantando parranda fina.

Cantamos manzanares, cantamos el joropo
Cantamos la gaita, cantamos aguinaldo
Cantamos en Rio Claro, Puerta Espana y San Fernando
Cantamos parranda fina en Tabaquite y Gasparillo.

We sing manzanares, we sing joropos
We sing gaitas, we sing aguinaldos
We sing in Rio Claro, Port of Spain and San Fernando
We sing good parang in Tabaquite and Gasparillo.


Arriba y más arriba cantando parranda fina
Arriba y más arriba cantando parranda fina.

Ya compiten en Arima parranderos con su musica
Cantando del nacimiento del Hijo de Maria
Ya compiten en Arima parranderos con su musica
Cantando del nacimiento del Hijo de Maria.

Now parranderos compete with their music in Arima
Singing about the birth of the Son of Mary.


Arriba y más arriba cantando parranda fina
Arriba y más arriba cantando parranda fina.
.
Y cuando yo muera, yo muero con alegría
Porque yo sé en la Nochebuena el gente cantan parranda fina
Que viva, que viva, que viva parranda fina
Parranda con alegría hasta el día en que yo muera.

And when I die, I die happy
Because I know on Christmas Eve people are singing good parang
Long live good parang!
Parang with joy until the day I die.


Arriba y más arriba cantando parranda fina
Arriba y más arriba cantando parranda fina
Arriba y más arriba cantando parranda fina
Arriba y más arriba cantando parranda fina.

Source: The lyrics posted on this blog are often transcribed directly from performances. Although it is my intention to faithfully transcribe I do not get all the words and I have a knack for hearing the wrong thing. Please feel free to correct me or to fill in the words that I miss by dropping me a message via e-mail. I'd be forever grateful. Thanks in advance! ..............................................................................................................................



A Note From The Gull

Thank you, Los Muchachos del Agua. ¡Viva la parranda fina!

"Patria est communis omnium parens" - Our native land is the common parent of us all. Keep it beautiful, make it even more so.

Blessed is all of creation
Blessed be my beautiful people
Blessed be the day of our awakening
Blessed is my country
Blessed are her patient hills.

Mweh ka allay!
Guanaguanare

Sangre Grande [Instrumental]


Uploaded by William Calliste

SANGRE GRANDE performed by Moonlight Serenaders
..............................................................................................................................


A Note From The Gull


Thank you, Moonlight Serenaders.  Home!!!

"Patria est communis omnium parens" - Our native land is the common parent of us all. Keep it beautiful, make it even more so.

Blessed is all of creation
Blessed be my beautiful people
Blessed be the day of our awakening
Blessed is my country
Blessed are her patient hills.

Mweh ka allay!
Guanaguanare

Mi Negrito [Song]


Uploaded by William Calliste

MI NEGRITO
By Gloria Alcazar

Yo estoy muy enamorado de un negro que es muy saleroso
Sus labios son como la miel y su amor que mi enloquece
Yo estoy muy enamorado de un negro que es muy saleroso
Sus labios son como la miel y su amor que mi enloquece.

I am so much in love with a black man who is very charming
His lips are like honey and his love drives me crazy
I am so much in love with a black man who is very charming
His lips are like honey and his love drives me crazy.

Ay negrito, dame un besito que sin tu amor yo me muero
Ay negrito, dame un besito que sin tu amor yo me muero.

Oh, black man, give me a kiss, without your love I'll die

Ese negro me quiere mucho y me enriquece con su beso
Dios querra que sea así y que nunca nos separemos
Ese negro me quiere mucho y me enriquece con su beso
Dios querra que sea así y que nunca nos separemos.

This black man loves me and enriches me with his kiss
God wills it so that we will never be separated
This black man loves me and enriches me with his kiss
God wills it so that we will never be separated.

Ay negrito, dame un besito que sin tu amor yo me muero
Ay negrito, dame un besito que sin tu amor yo me muero

Oh, black man, give me a kiss, without your love I'll die.

Si te vas mi negrito lindo, ay, por Dios que yo mi muero
Sin te no vale vivir ese ruego que no me dejes
Si te vas mi negrito lindo, ay, por Dios que yo mi muero
Sin te no vale vivir ese ruego que no me dejes.

If you go away black man, by God, I will die
Without you life is not worth living, this plea is that you would not leave me.
If you go away black man, by God, I will die
Without you life is not worth living, this plea is that you would not leave me.

Ay negrito, dame un besito que sin tu amor yo me muero
Ay negrito, dame un besito que sin tu amor yo me muero

Oh, black man, give me a kiss, without your love I'll die.

Source: The lyrics posted on this blog are often transcribed directly from performances. Although it is my intention to faithfully transcribe I do not get all the words and I have a knack for hearing the wrong thing. Please feel free to correct me or to fill in the words that I miss by dropping me a message via e-mail. I'd be forever grateful. Thanks in advance! ..............................................................................................................................


A Note From The Gull

Thank you, Gloria Alcazar.

I never heard this song performed live by the composer but I have loved its delicious sweetness from the very first time that I heard it many, many years ago. Thanks so much to William Calliste for uploading it so that it can be shared by the world.

Gloria Alcazar

Gloria Alcazar, long deceased, was a Venezuelan who came to Trinidad to learn English and eventually ended up getting married and living here. She was the lead singer with San Jose Serenaders and made an unforgettable contribution to the parang in this country.
"Says Lennox [Flores], “We were looking for a lead singer. My brother Wayne was travelling on the train and saw this girl, Gloria Alcaza, on the train with a cuatro. He approached her and she agreed to sing with us. I had a problem – how would Trinidad accept this change from male to lead female; no women were singing then, they were just following and clapping in the background, carrying the rum and coffee.

“We brought in Gloria, it was said that she grew up in Maracaibo, but was Trinidadian. She had more of a Venezuelan accent so the other bands said this girl is not a Trini and so cannot be allowed to compete. At first the judges thought the whole group were Venezuelans and we placed last. Gloria brought the Venezuelan influence, folk songs, and the group of young teenagers singing with proper Spanish, caused a frenzy. People started to sit up and take notice. I am sure that her proper pronunciation influenced future generations of parang singers.” SOURCE
Sharlene Flores was her successor and among all the gifts that Sharlene has shared with us, she is also to be thanked for being the living Ark who in her art has preserved some of Gloria's style of singing for the future. Sharlene "recorded a five-track LP, one of which she composed and arranged entitled “Recuerdos” (Memories) in tribute to the late Gloria Alcazar, whom she loved dearly." SOURCE

I am never sure how to translate "negrito" into Trinbagonian English, since we do not formally address a person [not directly anyway] by his or her colour and on those occasions when it is attempted among strangers, there is always the risk of offending. It is different among friends because I have heard good friends affectionately addressing each other by their skin colour or ethnicity - Black man, Indian, white man, Carib, Chinee, Potogee, Spanish, etc. Sometimes these names stick and become nicknames.

In this song, "negrito" is definitely a term of endearment. As mentioned above, the composer, Gloria Alcazar, was Venezuelan and "negrito" is not automatically a racial slur in that country or in Latin America. I have encountered the words negra, negrita, negro and negrito in several of their songs, including love songs.
"In Brazil and Portugal, negro is the most respectful way to address people of Black African descent, with preto [portuguese for black] sometimes being considered politically incorrect or a racial slur...

"For example, one might say to a friend, "Negro ¿Como andas? (literally "Hey, black one, how are you doing?"). In this case, the diminutive negrito can be used, as a term of endearment meaning pal, buddy or friend. Negrito has come to be used to refer to a person of any ethnicity or color, and also can have a sentimental or romantic connotation similar to sweetheart, or dear in English...

"In Chile, where people of African descent are few, negro or negra is used in colloquial contexts to refer to dark skinned people of any race and, by itself, does not represent an insult." SOURCE
Unless the one being addressed asks you to do so, just assume wherever you find yourself in the world, that persons do not want to be perceived as a colour before all else.

"Patria est communis omnium parens" - Our native land is the common parent of us all. Keep it beautiful, make it even more so.

Blessed is all of creation
Blessed be my beautiful people
Blessed be the day of our awakening
Blessed is my country
Blessed are her patient hills.

Mweh ka allay!
Guanaguanare

Unity/Lend A Hand [Song]


Uploaded by roger ramirez

UNITY/LEND A HAND
By The Mighty Sparrow

Now is the time to rebuild
Make up your mind to climb the hill
It's reconstruction time in Trinidad
So put your shoulders to the wheel, mih lad
Move on, don't stop 'til you reach the top.

Chorus:
You put a hand and I put a hand and we will see
For big and for small, in no time at all, prosperity
There's no other way to do it, show your patriotic spirit
Unity, somehow, if Trinidad ever needed you, it's now.

Trinidadians, one and all, hear my plea, answer my call
The peace and happiness we had before
Was lost with everybody fighting war
Let's hope that done, so move on upwards, come on.

Chorus:
You put a hand and I put a hand and we will see
In no time at all, for big and for small, prosperity
There's no other way to do it, show your patriotic spirit
Unity, somehow, if Trinidad ever needed you, it's now.

Forget political policy and political ties
And rebuild your country before the good name dies
If everyone will learn to play their part
That is enough to make a useful start
Soon we'll have had a better Trinidad.

Chorus:
You put a hand and I put a hand and we will see
In no time at all, for big and for small, prosperity
There's no other way to do it, show your patriotic spirit
Unity, somehow, if Trinidad ever needed you, it's now.
..............................................................................................................................


A Note From The Gull

Thank you, Mighty Sparrow.


"You have two hands. One to help yourself, the second to help others."
-- Audrey Hepburn

Gayap and Get It Done.

"Patria est communis omnium parens" - Our native land is the common parent of us all. Keep it beautiful, make it even more so.

Blessed is all of creation
Blessed be my beautiful people
Blessed be the day of our awakening
Blessed is my country
Blessed are her patient hills.

Mweh ka allay!
Guanaguanare