Saturday, November 27, 2010

Swallow (La Golondrina)

Abe V Rotor

La Golondrina is one of the best loved songs in the world. It comes in many versions and musical renditions - instrumental, orchestral, quartet, chorus, or simply as ballad. It is one of the favorite songs of the late singer Nat King Cole, the great tenors Pavarotti and Domingo, and not least, the balladeer Pat Boone.

The lyrics of the song have been translated in practically all major languages of the world. Sad to say, however, some versions have failed to keep the classical quality and significance of the song.

You can play it on the violin, piano or flute. If you have advanced music lessons try making your own variations - maybe two or three, but reserve one for the finale. Throughout your playing be keen at preserving the melody and theme.

I prefer the solo violin with a soulful ambiance of nostalgia, imagining this majestic bird flying in the blue sky, keeping company with its flock and momentarily finding freedom, and coming close to earth to bring a message of peace and joy this Christmas Season.

Swallows keep equidistance on electric wire. Florida Blanca, Pampanga

Version 1: The Swallow (La Golondrina)

To far off lands, the swallow now is speeding
For warmer climes and sun-drenched foreign shores
While cooler breezes tell of summer fading
My heart with you, into the heavens will soar.

Oh graceful swallow bear a message of love
For on your journey, lies the land of my heart
As down you sweep, shed my blessings upon them
That tell of love which in my heart still burns

Among those shores are all that I care or live for
My home, my loved ones, waiting for my return
Then glide downwards as you see from above
A sea swept isle from which we had to part

Each winter long console me in my dreaming
And you fond swallow on your gleaming wings
Will speed as I would wish I could go speeding
Straight to their hearts, and with you my love bring

Oh graceful swallow . . .
(repeat last line)

Song also known as 'The Mexican 'Home Sweet Home'. Serradel: Mexican composer (1843-1910) born in Veracruz. His name appears variously as 'Narciso Serradell', 'Narciso Serradel' or 'Narciso Serradel Sevilla'.

The Spanish lyrics of La Golondrina (The Swallow) use the image of a migrating swallow to evoke sentiments of longing for one's homeland. The song has been recorded by numerous artists over the years, either as an instrumental or with various lyrics.


1. High in the sky
At break of dawn I see
The swallow fly
Above the world
Among the drifting clouds he flashes by
Beneath the caves his little mate is waiting
Beneath the leaves where all his treasures lie.

2. Ah, would that I were a swallow that flies through the sky,
On the wing, rejoicing, where all care flutters by,
So light and free, above the voice of the throng,
High up in the sky, where all the world's a song!



Whither so swiftly flies the timid swallow,
What distant bourne seeks her untiring wing?
To reach it safe, what needle does she follow,
When darkness wraps the poor, wee storm-tossed thing?
To build her nest near to my couch, I'll call her;
Why go so far bright and warm skies to keep!
Safe would she be; no evil should befall her,
For I am an exile sad, too sad to weep;

My fatherland is dear, but I too left it;
Far am I from the spot where I was born;
Cheerless is life, fierce storms of joy bereft it;
Made me an exile lifelong and forlorn.
Come then to me, sweet feathered pilgrim stranger;
Oh! Let me clasp thee to my loving breast,
And list thy warbling low, secure from danger,
Unwonted tears bringing relief and rest.

(English words Thos. M. Westrup, ca. 1883) The lyrics above from a copy published in 1889 by Thomas Goggan & Bro., Galveston, TX, compliments of the Mexican National R Narciso Serradel Sevilla (1843-1910), a native of Alverado, Vera Cruz, Mexico, was both a doctor and a composer. During the war against the French Maximiliano, Serradel fought against the French Imperial troops alongside General Zaragoza. He was taken prisoner---and deported to France. He is most famous for his popular song of farewell, "La Golondrina." The song is a favorite of expatriate Mexicans..." It is often requested at the funerals of Mexican-Americans." The first two verses are often omitted (see post above, from "Canciones Populares"). The song is often thought of as "traditional."

In his lyrics, Serradel assumes the persona of Aben Hamid, a Moor of Granada, who was forced to leave his beloved home when Isabella and Ferdinand expelled the Moors and Jews from Spain in the 1490's; they were never to see their homeland, where they had lived for centuries, again.

1 comment:

Judex said...

Thank you for sharing.

I am an adult learner Violinist. I love playing "La Golondrina" everyday as it is a way to relax myself from the day's rush.

The story how this song was written is sad and wonderful. Now, La Golondrina remains for the generations to enjoy.

Thanks again for sharing.

Best Wishes from Mauritius.