“The Black Dog” Lyrics Style: Corrido (a storytelling style) about a loyal dog. Country: Mexico Listen: YouTube, Amazon
José Alfredo Jiménez was a famous and prolific Mexican singer-songwriter. Remember his name if you are interested in the music history of Latin America or Mexican culture. His songs created a new mythology in Mexico. He sang about characters and stories. This song is about the murder of Gilberto the Brave, who was killed in his sleep by a cowardly but powerful rival. Gilberto had a loyal dog who avenged his murder.
Al otro lado del puente De La Piedad, Michoacán, Vivía Gilberto el Valiente, Nacido en Apatzingán.
“Smaragdos Margara (Claviceps Purpura)”, 1995 Album: Si Buscabas (If You Searched), 1985 Singers: Salvador Cardenal and Katia Cardenal Style: Soft folk music, strong vocals; hauntingly pretty and ambiguous. I like how music travels the world. I actually first heard this song as a cover on Une Histoire de Famille, a French language album by the Montreal band Hart-Rouge. Country: Nicaragua Listen: original by Dúo Guardabarranco (softly spoken) on YouTube or Amazon.
“Question” Lyrics Style: Pasillo, heartsickness Country: Ecuador Listen at YouTube. Julio Jaramillo would rather be stabbed in the gut than lied to about love. He just wants the truth. I love the lyrics. They are clear and concise but so poetic.
Ya no creo en nada. Hasta dudo de ti. Siento desconfianza. Ya no creo ni en mí.
I no longer believe in anything. I doubt even you. I feel distrust. I no longer believe even in me.
“Nuestro Juramento” is a well-known romance song across Latin America and arguably Julio Jaramillo’s most famous song. It is about human mortality and passion. It is two lovers who declare to continue loving each other forever, and to be devastated should the other die. The verb jurar means “to swear, to vow” and a juramento is an oath or a vow.