Tuesday, August 2, 2011

DE COLORES - Of Colors

Bagdad.   The Battle of Bagdad, a Mexican victory from which the French fled as they often seem wont to do.  Bagdad, Brownsville, and the French. Not far away Fort Brown had the distinction of having been variously commanded by Robert E. Lee and by Phillip Sheridan. The first US airplane ever to experience hostile fire flew from Fort Brown.

Across the river, Matamoros, officially Cuidad Heroica Matamoros, is today the largest city in Tamalipas, and thirty-ninth largest city in Mexico.  With the transnational conurbanation of Matamoros and Browsnsville, it is the fourth largest metropolitan area in the Mexico-United States border. Matamoros is one of the oldest European settlements in North America.

Today Matamoros is presently located on the south bank of the Rio de las Palmas (Rio Bravo or Rio Grande). Previously the town was located elsewhere.  As you may recall, Alonso Pineda, the adventurer from Dubrovnik and whom we've discussed briefly in NA NAŠI PUDE STRAŠI, established a base in the area in 1519.  

Come with me to the old light house at Port Isabel. Close by here is where Charlie lives.  I won't tell you exactly where, he might not like that too much.  Let's get Charlie and help him put his boat in the water. Across the Laguna Madre to the northwest it looks like the bank of the Laguna is elevated at one point.  It is.  That's where we are going. From there, the slight elevation where the light house is located is all that obscures the passage way through Los Brazos de Santiago.   

Of course, if you want to root around there very much, you might should get permission from the Ždralović family, scions of which have been nestled safely on those bluffs for almost five hundred years.  They have very big dogs who get somewhat nervous if their master does not introduce you to them.  

Oh dear!  I've forgotten that I'm supposed to say "De la Garza" and not Ždralović. Tch tch, I've gone and done it now.  Slap my hand will you please.  Both words come out to the same.  Its "Crane" on english. Was "Crane" the family name in Europe or a name they took here?  Around here cranes come in white, pink, and blue.  Lots of colors to choose from, take your pick. 

They laid out a town around them, but several huricanes along the way moved the town inland to about its present location where in 1793 the Franciscans established a parish.  The town got its present name in 1826 when it was named after Mariano Matamoros y Guridi a hero of  the Mexican revolution against Spain. In 1889 a hurricane swept away  most of the remnants of Bagdad.  Matamoros which was supposed to have been Mexico's nothern port, isn't.  The port is on the United States side of the river, closer to where Pineda took rest and repaired his ships.

As it turns out, if you don't count the Ždralović family who  usually studiously avoid being counted, I am the oldest Hrvat around these parts and Joe is the oldest member of the other  oldest Hispanic family in the area.  If you take that bit of knowledge and fifteen dollars to Starbucks you can buy both of us a cup of coffee.  That's all it's worth really - except that part of this community lives in a world as invisible to the casual observer as is the ancient history of the place.

There are courts downtown with judges and lawyers.  All the trappings of modern western civilization are fully present and so are the methods and customs of the world less seen.  Joe and I venture forth when it suits us into venues where people gather.  It's not so uncommon that someone will come for advice or even a judgement on a matter.  We haven't the officials of the state to enforce our judgements.  No.  We have a more powerful agency at our disposal - tradition.   We don't hold posts to which we have been elected as in a modern democracy.  As a matter of fact, were  we to disappear, someone else would fill our places as we ourselves filled the vacancy someone else left when they departed.  Invisible traditions in an invisible world. Traditions of half a millenium and more.

Last Lenten season, Joe and I ventured into a particular venue where we were serenaded by a sixteenth century liturgical song rendered in this area now on Spanish.  Yeah, you already knew its also a Croatian song, didn't you?  "De Colores" this song is called here - "Of Colors."  The video of that event is hosted on YouTube, but you cannot see it there.  It is exclusively available to readers of this blog.  I thought there should be some small reward for you for coming here.

De Colores
the Text on Spanish
De colores, de colores
 Se visten los campos en la primavera.
      De colores, de colores
 Son los pajarillos que vienen de afuera.
      De colores, de colores
 Es el arco iris que vemos lucir.

     Y por eso los grandes amores
 De muchos colores me gustan a mí.
      Y por eso los grandes amores
 De muchos colores me gustan a mí.

     De colores, de colores
 Brillantes y finos se viste la aurora.
      De colores, de colores
 Son los mil reflejos que el sol atesora.
      De colores, de colores
 Se viste el diamante que vemos lucir.

     Y por eso los grandes amores
 De muchos colores me gustan a mí.
      Y por eso los grandes amores
 De muchos colores me gustan a mí.

     Canta el gallo, canta el gallo
 Con el quiri, quiri, quiri, quiri, quiri.
      La gallina, la gallina
 Con el cara, cara, cara, cara, cara.
      Los pollitos/polluelos, los pollitos/polluelos
 Con el pío, pío, pío, pío, pí.

          Y por eso los grandes amores
 De muchos colores me gustan a mí.
      Y por eso los grandes amores
 De muchos colores me gustan a mí.


the text on english:
In colors, in colors
 The fields are dressed in the spring.
      In colors, in colors
 Are the little birds that come from outside.
      In colors, in colors
 Is the rainbow that we see shining.

     And that is why I love
 The great loves of many colors
      And that is why I love
 The great loves of many colors.

     In colors, in colors
 Brilliant and delicate is dressed the dawn.
      In colors, in colors
 Are the thousand gleams the sun treasures.
      In colors, in colors
 Is dressed the diamond we see shining.

     And that is why I love
 The great loves of many colors.
      And that is why I love
 The great loves of many colors.

The rooster sings, the rooster sings
 With a cock-a-doodle, cock-a-doodle-doo.
      The hen, the hen
 With a cluck, cluck, cluck, cluck, cluck.
      The chicks, the chicks
 With a cheep, cheep, cheep, cheep, cheep.

     And that is why I love
 The great loves of many colors.
      And that is why I love
 The great loves of many colors.



De Colores as performed by a folk singer in Brownsville

do sljedeći put, blagoslov - until next time, blessings,


Canovals a.k.a. Slavonac


2 comments:

  1. As so often happens here you leave me smiling. Was that you and Joe I saw at drug store having coffee in my own hometown? Or another two so like you? Tradition, yup.

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  2. hee hee, two very much like us. Tradition :)

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