today i recommend a song by the great Susana Baca, peruvian singer, which i had the chance to see live yesterday at a concert here in luxembourg.
Here what Kalamu ya Salaam wrote about that song:
This is the song that led to Baca’s international fame. David Byrne (ex-lead singer of the well-known rock band Talking Heads and current record label owner and champion of South American music) fell in love with Baca’s music and included her version of “Maria Lando” on a compilation called The Soul Of Black Peru. The whole collection is good, but even before she became famous, Baca’s song stood out.
In prosaic yet beautifully-worded verse, the song begins with a description of the early morning hours in a small town of Peru:
The dawn breaks like a statue
Like a winged statue spreading across the city
And the noon rings, a bell made of water
A golden singing bell that keeps us from feeling alone
But the rest of the song talks about a servant girl named Maria Lando, for whom “there is no dawn,” “there is no noon,” there is only “lack of sleep,” “suffering,” and “work for others.” The song was composed by Chabuca Granda, a noted Peruvian composer who Baca often mentions as one of her heroes and mentors.