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  • Black Rhythms from Peru*
  • Nicomedes Santa Cruz

Rhythms of slaveryagainst bitterness and painto the sound of chains,black rhythms from Peru.

My grandmother came from Africadressed in shells from the sea.The Spaniards, they were the oneswho brought her in a caravel.They branded her with the sealof the slave and this was her cross to bear.And in South Americato the beat of their sorrow,the black drums echoedwith slavery's rhythms.

For a coin worth almost nothingthey resold her in Lima,and on the Hacienda "La Molina"she served the Spanish people there.With other blacks from Angola,the wages for their workwere mosquitoes that sucked their veins,and their beds were hard earth,with nothing to consoletheir sorrow and their pain.

It was on the sugarcane plantationthat the sad dance called socabón was born.By the wheels that pressed cane for rum,the black man sang the zaña.The machete and the scythe [End Page 269] hardened his dark hands.And the Indians with their flutesand the blacks with their drumssang of their sad destinyto the sound of the chains.

The old black men passed away,but in the dried stalks of caneyou can still hear their zamacuecaand their panalivio from far away,and all the festivalswhere they sang when they were young.From Cañete to Timbuktu,from Chancay to Mozambique,they keep each clear beatof the rhythms from Peru. [End Page 270]

  • Ritmos Negros del Peru*
  • Nicomedes Santa Cruz
    Translated by Esthela Calderón

Ritmos de la esclavitudcontra amarguras y penas.Al compás de las cadenasritmos negros del Perú.

De África llegó mi abuelavestida con caracoles,la trajeron lo'epañolesen un barco carabela.La marcaron con candela,la carimba fue su cruz.Y en América del Sural golpe de sus doloresdieron los negros tamboresritmos de la esclavitud.

Por una moneda solala revendieron en Limay en la Hacienda 'La Molina'sirvió a la gente española.Con otros negros de Angolaganaron por sus faenaszancudos para sus venaspara dormir duro sueloy naíta'e consuelocontra amarguras y penas . . .

En la plantación de cañanació el triste socabón,en el trapiche de ronel negro cantó la zaña.El machete y la guadañacurtió sus manos morenas;y los indios con sus quenas [End Page 481] y el negro con tamboretecantaron su triste suerteal compás de las cadenas.

Murieron los negros viejospero entre la caña secase escucha su zamacuecay el panalivio muy lejos.Y se escuchan los festejosque cantó en su juventud.De Cañete a Tombuctú,de Chancay a Mozambiquellevan sus claros repiquesritmos negros del Perú. [End Page 482]

Esthela Calderón
José de la Cruz Mena Municipal Theater, León, Nicaragua


* Originalmente publicado en Canto negro (Buenos Aires: LibrosEnRed, 2004).


* Originally published in Canto negro (Buenos Aires: LibrosEnRed, 2004).



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