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La Patria de Dios: My note to WNYC  

Dear Travelers,

I'm entering "La Patria de Dios" into WNYC radio's Battle of the Boroughs 2013. Stay tuned for news on the contest. Here's a little of what I told WNYC about the song:

"¡El Sur del Bronx es la Patria de Dios! (The South Bronx is God's Country!)

For years, this was a dicho my grandmother would often repeat to me. A dicho is an expression which may be repeated at "teachable moments" to pass on and internalize cultural wisdom. But, unlike most dichos de mi abuelita, this is not a common expression. "¡El Sur del Bronx es la Patria de Dios!" is a kernel of uncommon wisdom which, as far I know, my grandmother coined all by herself. In coining this new expression she syncretized influences as diverse as Liberation Theology and Country/Western music, into a simple phrase.

I think I'm doing something similar in my song "La Patria de Dios". It's a 21st century latino folk song. It's not complicated. It's meant to be a dicho you can dance to. But, it does bring together diverse influences. In "La Patria de Dios" the rhythm of Puerto Rican Plena, is subtly seasoned with influences of acapela styles such as vocal jazz, gospel, and barbershop.

What did Abuelita mean by saying:" The South Bronx is God's Country."?

I could say more about it, but I'd rather sing about it. So please give "La Patria de Dios" a listen. Feel free to dance along. Below you may follow the lyrics and an English translation.

Peace, Blessings, and Thanks for Listening,

Marcos

La Patria de Dios
Por Marcos Emanuel de Jesús
para mi Abuelita, Rev Marie Aviles de Jesús
Coro
Yo me fui a pasear por la Patria de Dios      (I went walking through God's country
Por la Patria de Dios(2x)

Yo me fui a pasear por la Patria de Dios      (I went walking through God's country
el Sur del Bronx-¡La Patria de Dios!              the South Bronx: God's Country)

Verso 1

Si queires hermano, yo te puedo llevar         (If you'd like, brother, I could take you
a ver los signos de Cristo Vivo                         to see the signs of Christ Alive
Renacimiento,                                                    Resureción Rebirth, Resurrection
El camino de la Cruz y la Patria de Dios      The Way of the Cross, and God's Country.)

Coro
Yo me fui a pasear por la Patria de Dios       (I went walking through God's country
Por la Patria de Dios(2x)

Yo me fui a pasear por la Patria de Dios       (I went walking through God's country
el Sur del Bronx-¡La Patria de Dios!                the South Bronx: God's Country!)

etc.

Happy Holidays and Tax the Rich!  


It may seem like a song called "Tax the Rich" is not good holiday music. But, I think it fits very well with the true meanings of this sacred season. Please listen to the song, and let me know if you get what I mean.

You see:"Tax the Rich!"is a phrase which is treated as if it were profane in this culture.

But, I think taxing the rich can be such an important part of building a better society, that the phrase:" Tax the Rich!" should be regarded as sacred. And saying :"Tax the Rich!" should be regarded as uttering a blessing.

This holiday season, when we say:"Happy Holidays!" maybe we should also say: "Tax the Rich!"

Because saying:"Tax the rich!" is like saying: " I love you!" to a whole society.

Saying:"Tax the rich!" is celebrating Ujamaa, cooperative economics, which is the fourth principle of Kwanzaa, and recognizing the logic of Ubuntu:" I am because we are."

Saying: "Tax the rich!" is taking a moment of Chanukah (which literally means:"Dedication"), and committing ourselves to not let the light of peace with justice go out all year long.

And saying:"Tax the rich!" ain't nearly as radical as what Mary sang when the angel appeared to her with God's vision for redemption of the world through her womb( Luke 1.46-55), but it is a good start...

This holiday season, the mainstream media and the major party politicians tell us that because "the 99% have been naughty" we should lower our expectations for the new year. But, we can dispel their lies with the powerful incantation of the simple truth: "We don't need to accept austerity, recessions, and oppression-WE CAN TAX THE RICH!"

So, happy (belated) Chanukah! Happy solstice! I wish you an enlightening and joyful Kwanzaa! Una feliz Navidad, and a new year filled with abundant life!

And if you agree about the gospel of progressive taxation, turn to someone you love, give them a fist bump or a hug, and teach them this chant*:

Call:"Tax the Rich!

                                Response:"All the time!"

Call:"All the time!"

                                Response:"Tax the Rich!

Thanks for listening,

Marcos

*The chant, of course, comes from the spiritual genius of the African American Church. The traditional version which many folk may know is:

Call:"God is good!

                                Response:"All the time!"

Call:"All the time!"

                               Response:"God is good!"

Amen
/
  1. Tax the Rich

I'm Looking for A Few Good Listeners  

 After benefiting from helpfull feedback and advice from some of you, my debut album is almost ready for release in early 2013.

But, if you haven't heard it yet, and If you'd like to join the comunity of First Listeners who are helping me bring this album into the world.

1-Use the contact link here at GuaguaElectrica.com 

2-Let me know you'd like to be First Listener to Guagua Electrica's debut album

3-And I'll respond with a secret link and about eight questions I'd like you to respond to after you've had a chance to listen

Thanks to all the First Listeners whose feedback has already helped make this a much better album then it was 6 months ago.

Contact me soon if you'd like to help bring this project across the finish line.

And check out my latest versions of a couple of tracks which will be on the album at GuaguaElectrica.com

Thanks for Listening,

Marcos

Art versus Life 

 My last blog post seems a bit odd after hearing the allegations toward Kevin Clash recently.

Agape has a great song addressing these issues

Art Imitate Life

I don't have anything deeper to add.

And, I still love Elmo.

¡Elmo te Ama!/Yes, Elmo loves you! 

 I auditioned for Sesame Street yesterday. I'm not sure if I'm gonna get a call back. But, I did make the NYC local news singing: "Elmo Me Ama". I hope Elmo sees the video! The line of folks waiting to be seen was long, but everyone I was in line with was really nice, simpático, like Muppets. And after a while we started to play drums and sing the "Elmo me Ama" song to lift our spirits. "Elmo me Ama" BTW is "Cristo me Ama" or "Yes, Jesus Loves Me" with new lyrics. And I think it's just as true about Elmo as it is about Jesus...No matter who you are, they love you.
http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/video?id=8780164&pid=null



My Wisconsin (My Country Years) Listen to a complete performance now!  

 Mi Gente,

I'm happy to share (for free download) a new recording of My Wisconsin aka My Country Years. It's a one woman Opera setting my mom's essay, about growing up on a dairy farm in Mequon Wisconsin. 

This is not a studio quality recording, but it does include generous and strong performances by the virtuosic Orfeo Duo (Violin and Piano), and the lovely, expressive, and incomparable Leanna Hieber (soprano).  I hope this performance also gives you a sense of my intentions and interests as a composer. 

Would you like a Studio Quality recording? Hollaback-If enough people ask for it, I'll set up a Kickstarter to make it a reality.

Would you like to perform or study the work? Send me a message via the contact link on guaguaelectrica.com and I'll be happy to share the score. I reserve the rights to the work, but I promise to make it easy to share and perform. The complete lyrics are below.

Let me know what you think, and feel about MY WISCONSIN (MY COUNTRY YEARS).

Thanks for Listening,

Marcos


My Wisconsin
Text by Carolyn Wille-Rivera, edited and arranged by Marcos E de Jesús Wille
I-Home

I can’t sleep.
I’m sitting at a desk,
Staring at a computer in San Juan, Porto Rico.
-I mean-
Puerto Rico

It’s cool (by Puerto Rican standards) outside,
But hot, hot, HOT inside.
Coquís, tiny tree frogs forming a chorus after rain.
It’s lovely and I know I’ll miss it if I ever leave.
But it’s not home.

I am not home

Puerto Rico has natural beauty and nice people,
But, tonight I’m homesick.
I’m remembering my country years,
Growing up on a small dairy farm in Mequon Wisconsin.

I liked roaming the fields,
Making up stories
About little people
Living in forests of alfafa.

I liked bringing the cows to the barn for their mid-day drink of water,
And observing their “pecking order”,
As the more docile cows waited their turn for water.

After supper, I looked forward to taking my dog, Prince, along
To round up the cows.
(My father never believed me,
But Princie did accomplish this feat,
One time!)

I also enjoyed standing at the gate, calling,
“Come, bass”.
Some of them came, sometimes.
Mostly, not.

My heart swelled as I contemplated the sun setting
Over the area of the parcel that we called “Cuba”.
(All we knew was that a man had lived there
And had put up a sign over his door that said: “Cuba”)


I remember the summer that I tamed wild tigers
Born high in the Haymow.
All tigers became loveable and docile kittens,
And eventually vicious mousers.

I may be-I am- far from Wisconsin, but my heart is still in Wisconsin.
It’s my Wisconsin and I’m home…
And I’m home…

II-Edgar Wille

I remember my father, Edgar Wille, Edgar Wille.

Who, despite an eigth-grade education,
Was not only literate
But who knew when to plant and harvest crops
At just the right times.
Edgar Wille, Edgar Wille

And who, though not an agronomist,
Understood the benefits of crop rotation
And the appropriate use of manure.
Edgar Wille, Edgar Wille

And who, though not meteorologist,
Knew each cloud,
And what it could, and could not do.
He knew tomorrow’s weather
Better than the men on TV.
Edgar Wille, Edgar Wille.

He was, in his own way, a naturalist
Who would pause from his work
To observe the migration of geese.

He also would report
On the sighting of a fox,
Deer (not so common then),
Or a garter snake, sunning itself on a rock.

Edgar Wille…My Edgar Wille…Our Edgar Wille…Oh Edgar Wille!
My Pa.

He was not an agronomist,
He was not a meteorologist.
He was a naturalist.
Quite literate
In the reading of Word,
Crop,
Soil,
And cloud.

He read earth…and clouds.

III-Esther Wille

And I remember my mother, Esther Wille

I remember my mother, Esther Wille,
And I remember the excitement of the first day of Ozaukee County Fair.
Waiting until early morning, to pick fresh flowers for the competition,
She would fill the basement with zinnias, marigolds, petunias and more.
I can still recall the scents…

Then on to Cedarburg to participate in the first highlight of summer.
My mother also entered the bread competition.
One year, she won $50 from Midas Flour
She won $50 from Midas Flour
She won $50 from Midas Flour and treated my sister and me:
To ice cream.

She also entered canning.
Sadly, one year her blue-ribbon peaches were stolen.
(Yes, there was crime, even back then)

The other high point of summer was the Wisconsin State Fair.
-The Wisconsin State Fair-

My mother was the star-the unofficial pickle queen-
The unofficial pickle queen!

Her dill pickles, cherry dills, bread and butter pickles,
And others, won so many prizes that a reporter from the Milwaukee Journal
Came to our farm to interview her.

Mom was practically famous.

I remember my mother Esther Wille.




IV-Freistadt

There are other memories,
But, mostly I remember the land,
The gentle inclines,
The low spots, and the higher spots
With a view of the woods,
And the steeple of Trinity Lutheran Church
Freistadt
Beyond.
Our Freistadt,
Beyond.

When I think of “home”,
I think of the land,
Fifty-eight and a half acres, on Wauwatosa Road.

I feel the land beneath my feet.
I become aware of the alfalfa and the oats
As they brush against my legs.

I smell the aroma of freshly cut hay.
I again experience the pungent dampness of the cow’s breath
And I remember the dust in the lane
As the cows trudge towards the barn.

I may be-I am- far from Wisconsin, but my heart is still in Wisconsin.
It’s my Wisconsin and I’m home…
I’m home.

On Wisconsin/On Wisconsin!  

I came home to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, this week, in order to help get out the vote ahead of the election to recall Gov Scott Walker. According to the official vote tally, we lost. I’ve heard media voices from around the state, country, and even on the BBC declaring the “meaning” of this election. And I’d like to offer my perspective, as a person with roots here and in NYC, and a multi-cultural perspective.

To begin with, I’m still proud of Wisconsin. I still love and respect my friends and family members who see these issues differently. I think progressives in Wisconsin can be proud of what they’ve accomplished considering the odds stacked against them. But…

What does Walker's victory mean?

1) Money matter's.

Let's be real. If Barret had raised 3, 8, or 10 times more than Walker. The result easily could have been a big victory for Barret. I’m not being inconsistent. I think raising more money helped Obama beat Mc Cain. And I’m not saying only certain other people are influenced by how money becomes speech and power. We’re all influenced by this. I might have been more enthusiastic, if it hadn’t been for the power of negative media spin to make me feel discouraged.

2) You can't fight the Right from the Center

Basic progressive ideas are what sparked this movement: Wokers rights are human rights. 99% of us are working class (whether or not we can find work at the moment). We deserved a candidate who would stand on these issues. Tom Barret did not.

3) Progressive leaders need to follow the grass roots, not the other way around.

4) Right wing forces can still win in Wisconsin by divide and conquer politics. But this victory is one of the last for a dying regime based on a 20th century paradigm, continuing to follow this paradigm will only lead to further decline in the 21st century.

Scott Walker's backward 20th century paradigm: Blame workers with decent pay and benefits, blame Unions that represent them, blame the Cities, blame the public schools, colleges, and universities, blame the youth, and implicitly blame the parts of Wisconsin that are racially and culturally diverse. Then while folks are distracted by the blame game, enact policies that make his 1% masters richer and more powerful.

However, If Wisconsin's future is to be a bright one for the 99%, all workers deserve decent pay and benefits and many will need Unions to win better pay and benefits. If Wisconsin's economy is going to turn around, the Cities must be the primary economic engine (the ex-urban model of lend and sprawl is broken, and it's not coming back). Accessible and excellent public schools, colleges, and Universities shall be the most important institutions for building Wisconsin's future. If Wisconsin wants to be relevant as these United States becomes a majority of color nation in the 21st century, Wisconsin must embrace diversity. And of course, the youth are our future, and they are worthy of praise.

On Wisconsin!

Let me know what you think about these issues.

Thanks for listening,

Marcos de Jesus Wille


Debut Album Coming Soon 

I'm putting the finishing touches on Guagua Electrica's first album of Urban Latino Futuristic Folklor Music. I hope to release it within the next few months.

I want to include my best home cooked tracks, as well as songs featuring Jorge Castro and Horace Beasley. I am a musical omnivore, and we are what we eat. So my challenge has been to clarify how many genres I could include, and still build a cohesive audience. I love to compose in tons of different genres. But, God first gave me a voice as a songwriter, through the streets, mi familia, the church, and folklor boricua. You could think of my upcoming first record as a saturday walk around the Barrio, a jam session with Abuelita, and a visit to church the next morning.

If you're willing to respond to a brief survey, you could be a beta listener, and get the chance to hear it first, for free. Send me a message via the contact link at the top of the page and I'll get back to you with more info.

Express Yourself! Choose your favorite Guagua Electrica song for Battle of the Boroughs 

 Familia,

My musical battle bus is about to enter the fray, and I need your help...

Please help me pick the best one of my songs to enter into WNYC's 2012 Battle of the Boroughs Talent Contest.

WNYC's site says:
"Artists will be selected based on the following criteria:
-Technical Excellence (a high-level of proficiency and skill in the selected art form)
-Innovation (a uniquely individual approach and style to the work)
-Artistry (honoring and expanding the genre or discipline)
-Performance Quality (providing a polished product that achieves all of the aforementioned elements)"

Here are the tunes I'm considering:

1) Escuchando a su iPod
2) Mychal's Prayer
3) La Patria de Dios
4) Cantaré mi Bomba

They will all be availiable for free download at guaguaelectrica.com for the next week.

Please shoot me a message via email, facebook, or commenting on my blog to let me know which song you think would be best, and why.

Thanks for listening,

Marcos

Guagua Classica: MY WISCONSIN on Youtube 

 Muchisimas gracias to everyone who came out to the premiere of MY WISCONSIN.

I was very moved by your appreciation of this heartfelt piece of music theater. I am grateful to Leanna Hieber and the Orfeo Duo for their vibrant and nuanced performances.

Right now the first movement is up on youtube for your enjoyment. Leanna, the Orfeo Duo and I are going to get together again soon to make a "studio" recording of MY WISCONSIN. Stay tuned and you'll get to hear it here first!

Thanks for Listening,

Marcos

Marcos & la Guagua

Marcos de Jesús is inspired by going new places with genres he loves, such as Hiphop, Boricua Roots Music, and Gospel. Code Switching, the debut album of Marcos & la Guagua is on CDbaby and iTunes. Marcos & la Guagua is on a musical mission of reconciliation, to boldly go beyond the limitations of genre ghettos. Marcos will be your guide and la Guagua will be our clean-air-hybrid-electric vehicle. La Guagua means to move you. 

Get on the Bus!