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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Another New Song

Soon I'll post about new group love and rave about Only Boys Aloud, but for now I want to talk about this amazing and innovative song.

This song is from the musical Chess, which I have no desire to see-the main character has to pick between his wife and his girlfriend in the second half and the whole concept just doesn't work for me.

That being said, this song is about the main character, Anatoly, and his decision to defect from Russia during the Cold War.  When the press got wind of it they asked why he was leaving his country and he says that his country is far more than the political strife of nations.  Russia is not a place, it's a state of being, and he will always be Russian.

                                                                              No man, no madness

                                                                     Though their sad power may prevail
Can possess, conquer, my country's heart
They rise to fail
She is eternal
Long before nations' lines were drawn
When no flags flew, when no armies stood
My land was born

And you ask me why I love her
Through wars, death and despair
She is the constant, we who don't care
And you wonder will I leave her - but how?
I cross over borders but I'm still there now

How can I leave her?
Where would I start?
Let man's petty nations tear themselves apart
My land's only borders lie around my heart

Josh Groban fangirl that I am, I'm putting his version first.
This next version is from the Welsh Choir Only Men Aloud.  I like the Welsh language, but don't find it any more beautiful than any other translation of this song.  What I do like is that these men from a historically oppressed region are singing this in their native language-that adds some power.  I also love the choice to split the words among four soloists-it seems more moving to me that way.
And finally (you did want all three versions, didn't you?) here is a boys chorus (ages 14-19) singing the exact same Welsh translation.  While it lacks the nuance of the older performers, I think there's a special honesty to it that sets it apart.

I really like the concept discussed in the song-that nationality is more than location.  I know I am American.  To me that means being independent, stubborn, optimistic about the future, and willing to argue my point. I'm also from the southwest, which I think means I'm more honest, less enamored of "fancy" things-houses, cars, clothes, what have you, and that I'm close to my roots-case in point the family ranch.  That's not to say that every American fits this, or that every self-proclaimed cowgirl does either.  I'm just saying that when I travel the world I'm going to take America with me and for me that's what it will look like.

So, faithful readers-all two of you-what does your nationality mean to you?