National Poetry Month with Chabuca Granda!

María Isabel Granda Larco (3 September 1920 – 8 March 1983), known as Chabuca Granda, was a Peruvian singer and composer. She was a trailblazer as a woman lyricist and composer, drawing on Peruvian Criollo music, as well as Afro-Peruvian rhythms, which were much devalued in high society of Lima at the time. It was a world which was plagued (and continues to be) by racism and classism toward Indigenous and Afro-descended peoples while highly dependent on their labour, particularly domestic labour provided by women workers who are often racialized as non-white. In this song, Chabuca shows her continual break with convention by centering the experiences of a working class woman and her labour. Enjoy some poetry put to music and sung by one of Peru’s most noted singers of the late 20th century!

Maria Lando by Chabuca Granda, Peru

La madrugada estalla como una estátua
Como estátua de alas que se dispersan por la ciudad
Y el mediodía cánta campana de agua
Campana de agua de oro que nos prohibe la sóledad
Y la noche levanta su copa larga
Su larga copa larga, luna temprana por sobre el mar

Pero para María no hay madrugada
Pero para María no hay mediodía
Pero para María ninguna luna
Alza su copa roja sobre las aguas…

María no tiene tiempo (María Landó)
De alzar los ojos
María de alzar los ojos (María Landó)
Rotos de sueño
María rotos de sueño (María Landó)
De andar sufriendo
María de andar sufriendo (María Landó)
Sólo trabaja
María sólo trabaja, sólotrabaja, sólo trabaja
María sólo trabaja
Y su trabajo es ajeno

Blood Moon, Kaushalya Bannerji, 2022

Maria Lando, Chabuca Granda, Peru, Trans. Kaushalya Bannerji

Dawn breaks, exploding like a statue,
like a statue of wings scattered
All through the city
And noon sings like a bell made of water
A bell made of golden water that forbids loneliness
And the night lifts its large goblet,
its large goblet, large, an early moon over the sea

But for Maria there is no dawn
But for Maria there is no midday
But for Maria there is no moon
raising its red goblet over the waters

Maria has no time to raise her eyes
Maria ,to raise her eyes, broken by lack of sleep
Maria, broken by lack of sleep ,from so much suffering
Maria, from so much suffering, all she does is work

Maria just works and works,
Maria only works,
and her work is all for another.

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