Sue Burke (mount_oregano) wrote,
Sue Burke
mount_oregano

Easter: La Saeta, or which Jesus?

Easter is the most important religious holiday in Spain, more significant than Christmas. Christ was born at Christmas, but he brought salvation at Easter. So this week throughout Spain, solemn religious processions mourn Jesus’ suffering and death.

Here is a song about that by Joan Manuel Serrat. The words are by Antonio Machado (1875-1939), a poet from Seville, and the poem is La Saeta.

It opens by quoting a popular saeta. These are songs for Easter week processions in Andalucia, in southern Spain. Northern Spain has different songs, but the drums are the same everywhere to mark the pace of penitent funeral processions for Jesus. The saeta asks for a ladder to take the nails from Jesus on the wooden cross. Machado’s poem goes on to lament that this song is always the same, always about Jesus’ death. “... It is the faith of my forefathers. Oh, you are not my song! I cannot sing it, I do not want this Jesus on the wood, I want the one who walked on the sea! ... You are not my song!”

Here is “La Saeta” sung by Joan Manuel Serrat:



Here is a version by Camarón de la Isla (1950-1992), one of the greatest flamenco singers ever:



— Sue Burke
Tags: poetry, spain
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