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Y Comienzo a Bailar ("And I Begin To Dance")

By Elizabeth Alexander

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SATB choir and piano - Moderate
Composed by Elizabeth Alexander. Collegiate Repertoire, Community Chorus, Concert Music. Choral-Seasonal-Dia de los Muertos, Funeral & Memorial Services, Grief & Loss. With Text language: Spanish. Duration 5 minutes. Published by Seafarer Press (SF.SEA-084-01).

Item Number: SF.SEA-084-01

Poem by Elizabeth Alexander, "Y Comienzo a Bailar". Translation by Eva Palma and Rebecca Wilson Hernandez.

An intimate and loving portrait of one woman as she prepares for and celebrates Dia de los Muertos, Mexico's Day of the Dead. A significant soprano solo binds this poignant narrative together, expressing the grief and joy that are at the heart of this communal feast.

Commissioned by First Unitarian Universalist Church; Joseph Mish conductor (Rochester, MN)

Original English text: Preparing the room for guests, I wipe the table clean, the cloth in my hands a soft grave for what is now dust. All around me, every ledge and corner harbors a small cemetery. Later, when the shadows of our mothers and fathers arrive, words tumble helplessly from our mouths: we love you, we miss you, we remember you. We hold out our hands, offering bread, chocolate, our garden's tenderest gifts. The shadows neither answer us nor eat, but smile in the imperceptible way the dead always smile - so that suddenly the tomatos gleam bright in the blue bowl, the wet salt on our lips crackles, the wind's caress within us is cooler and sweeter, and (certain that the musicians have finally arrived) I rise from my chair and start to dance. Copyright 2010 by Composer Elizabeth Alexander. All rights reserved.
Spanish text: Al preparar la habitacion para los invitados, sacudo la mesa, el pano en mis manos, un sepulcro suave el cual ahora es polvo. Alrededor de mi, cada repisa y rincon alberga un pequeno cementerio. Mas tarde, cuando las sombras de nuestras madres y padres llegan, de nuestras bocas caen palabras en vano: los amamos, los extranamos, los recordamos. Extendemos nuestras manos ofreciendo pan, chocolate, los regalos mas bondadosos de nuestros jardines. Las sombras no nos responden, ni comen, pero sonrien de forma imperceptible, como siempre sonrie la muerte - de modo que repentinamente los tomates brillan en el tazon azul. la sal humeda sobre nuestros labios cruje. la caricia del viento dentro de nosotros es mas fresca y mas dulce, y (seguro que los musicos han llegado por fin) me levanto de mi silla y comienzo a bailar. Copyright 2010 Compositora Elizabeth Alexander. Todos los derechos reservados.

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