15. Canto General in 2017

Song (Canto) for the world, for humanity

When finally understanding the Spanish words (English translation) of the poem Canto General, I am surprised how futuristic this collection of poems was when it was written. Pablo Neruda started with it in 1938, (almost 70 years ago) and in 1950 it has been published. Within the dark decorum of  the world we live in, now, in 2017, concerning industries, money, dollars (!), Trump, corrupted capitalism, egoism, loss of nature, exploitation of nature, pesticides, pollution of nature, climate change, Pablo Neruda’s poetry is still very actual. The white man has not only exploited America, but the whole world. There is hardly any wilderness left. Oceans are filled with plastic rubbish. The Arctic and Antarctic are melting, sea levels will rise.

After being published in 1950, the book was translated very soon after, into ten different languages. The English translation by Jack Schmitt is absolutely a masterpiece. Translating a work, in this case 230 poems, 15000 lines, is enormous. To translate the essence of a poem in another language needs a translator who has the feeling for it, who understands it. Jack Schmitt does.  Also the Theodorakis oratorio, with some of these poems, composed between 1971 and 1973, is in the meantime world wide very popular.

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World revolution

Canto General, the oratorio, belongs to the songs of resistance. In 2017, humanity is rising, resisting, more and more, against the catastrophic, overwhelming, destructive elements. An evolution is going on, a revolution, not in the way we remember revolutions however, but the essence must be similar: I never experienced a revolution myself, next to my own inner revolution.

Canto General fits so well within the context of the revolution we are in, as humanity.

Having collected already from 2009 all available quality Mikis Theodorakis Music videos on YouTube and categorised in playlists, I have learned which compositions are the most popular, or the less. Canto General was and is always there among older, newer and newest videos and performances. Canto General is a tool to resist.

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The “best all time” performers of the Canto General Oratorio

The best performers of the Canto General are Maria Farantouri and Petros Pandis. Also Arja Saijonmaa performed once concerts with the Canto General, but she cannot charm me with her voice as Maria Farantouri does.

The best, absolutely best male performer for the Canto General Oratorio is Petros Pandis. Nobody has the same subtle tenderness, deep felt empathy, passion, anger, rage, fury, commitment about that what he sings. Nobody has an almost similar voice, as Mikis Theodorakis himself. They could be twins. The older Petros Pandis becomes, the better his interpretations are. This counts also for Maria Farantouri. Especially Petros Pandis shows the essence of the songs, and by watching him when performing we understand the songs so much deeper. He creates an extra dimension. Unique! In this time, 2017, a lot authentic emotions have disappeared. Much is technique, manipulation, fake. Petros Pandis is a rare performer, musician, a rare Theodorakis music gem.

In the video here (with subtitles) you can witness all I mentioned about Petros Pandis. The video has unfortunately not an excellent soundtrack, the choir is not always excellent, but to watch Petros Pandis it is the best I could find, in YouTube:

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Pablo Neruda and the “Pecado General”, the “General Sin”

  1. Spaniards were immigrants – When searching for more information about Pablo Neruda I was surprised to read that his true name is Ricardo Eliécer Neftalí Reyes Basoalto. Spanish. He himself, as the accuser of the pain and suppression of the indigenous American people, is a descendant of the invaders, himself, and because of that: part of the group-karma the Spaniards created by their cruel acts. Even the language is a proof how deep the impact of the occupation of what was once pure and free America, with its own authentic language, has reached. In fact the invaders were the first immigrants, and was the war that took place there, in South, and North America as well, the first true world war. The indigenous peoples from the North, especially the Hopi Indians, talk about this, much has been written about the colonisation of America in the Hopi Prophecy, by the wise elders. A lot has happened, and is happening right now, what has been written already a long time ago. The text in the PDF file is explained on several websites, and in many videos. You can google on it. Find your own best.
  2. Karma and reincarnation –  Today, in this time, each single human being is intertwined in a collective of karma, of what has been caused in the millions of years behind each of us, by our selves, as individuals, but also in the collective as humanity.  Not one of us is without karma, sin. All peoples are mixed, have merged, not any (or hardly any) authentic people is left. As souls we have reincarnated thousands, millions of times, among many other peoples, in so many countries
  3. World citizens – Humanity is on its way to become one new people. We are all world citizens, with rights and responsibilities. We all have the task to create a planet where all peoples can live, in peace and understanding, care for each other, together with other natural beings, like animals, birds, fishes, insects, vegetation, trees, flowers, and living entities like mountains, rocks (no, rocks are not dead, they consist “living” minerals), rivers, forests, water, soil, air. The human being has behaved as if he is God, as if the human being is the most important creature. If there is a God, it is Nature. If there is a God, he is in each of us, but we don’t listen to our deepest self, where he is, mostly suppressed.
  4. We are all United Fruit Co., sinners – All is polluted, too much is damaged, a lot is damaged dramatically and not possible to restore anymore, but what is possible has to be restored to make our planet liveable for the next generations. We have all become part of the United Fruit Co. and are sinners against life. In each of us is a sinner and have to work at it. There are sins and deadly sins. Psychology, studying psychology, psychotherapy, is helpful to learn to understand the self, and how to transform our own inner evil (darkness, unawareness). About sins: Hieronymus Bosch painted “The Seven Deadly Sins” and the Dutch Gurt Swanenberg created a modern version, (sin curiosities), very well fitting in the catastrophe that takes place in nature, because of “The United Fruit Co.”
  5. Patriotism versus worldcitizenship – Only when changing the egoistic patriotic view into a world view we can survive, because “The united peoples will never be defeated”. So, a song, a Canto General, for the world, about the world, humanity, and fitting in Macron’s answer to Trump (make America great again): “Make our planet great again!”

Chilean song “El pueblo unido jamás será vencido”.
English: “United people will never be defeated”.
The music of the song was composed by Sergio Ortega and the text written by Quilapayún. The song was composed and recorded in June 1973.
Conductor: Mikis Theodorakis
Song performed: Quilapayún & Petros Pandis
Televisión Española 1981.

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About Quilapayún:

Quilapayún are a folk music group from Chile and among the longest lasting and most influential ambassadors of the Nueva Canción Chilena movement and genre. Formed during the mid-1960s, the group became inseparable with the revolution that occurred in the popular music of the country under the Popular Unity Government of Salvador Allende. More

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About Sergio Ortega:

Sergio Ortega (February 2, 1938 – September 15, 2003) was a Chilean composer and pianist.

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