Oubao Moin

Words: Juan Antonio Corretjer
Music: Roy Brown Ramírez, c.1976
Arranged: Miguel Heatwole, 2000

The title of this song means ‘Island of Blood’ in the near-extinct language of the Taino, the indigenous peoples of the Caribbean.  It was written by two Puerto Rican artists to tell the bloody history of that island and its hope for an independent future, but is also representative of Latin America as a whole and the struggle of indigenous, black and white workers to be free from all forms of colonialism.

Despite its pain the song is a triumphant celebration of working people, and praises their struggle for independence, liberated from the agonies of the past.

Lyrics:

El río de Corozal, el de la leyenda dorada.
La corriente arrastra oro. La corriente está ensangrentada.

El río Manatuabón tiene la leyenda dorada.
La corriente arrastra oro. La corriente está ensangrentada.

El río Cibuco escribe su nombre con letra dorada.
La corriente arrastra oro. La corriente está ensangrentada.

En donde hundió la arboleda su raíz en tierra dorada
Allí las ramas chorrean sangre. La arboleda está ensangrentada.

Donde dobló la frente india, bien sea tierra, bien sea agua,
Bajo el peso de las cadenas, entre los hierros de la ergástula,
Allí la tierra hiede a sangre y el agua está ensangrentada.

Donde el negro quebró sus hombros, bien sea tierra o bien sea agua,
Y su cuerpo marcó el carimbo y abrió el látigo su espalda,
Allí la tierra hiede a sangre, corre el agua ensangrentada.

Donde el blanco pobre sufrio los horrores de la peonada,
El machete del mayoral, la libreta de jornada
Allí la tierra está maldita, corre el agua envenenada.

Gloria a esas manos Tainas porque trabajaban.
Gloria a esas manos negras porque trabajaban.
Gloria a esas manos blancas porque trabajaban.
De entre esas manos nos salió la patria.
Gloria a las manos que las minas cavaran.
Gloria a las manos que el ganado cuidaran.
Gloria a las manos que el tabaco, que la caña y el café sembraran.

Gloria a las manos que los caminos trabajaran.
Gloria a las manos que las ruedas giraran.
Gloria a todas las manos de todos los hombres y mujeres que trabajaran.

Y gloria a las manos, a todas la manos que hoy trabajan
Porque ellas construyen y saldrá de ellas la nueva patria liberada.

¡Alabanza! ¡Alabanza! Para ellos y para su patria ¡Alabanza!
¡Alabanza! ¡Alabanza!  ¡Alabanza! Alabanza!
¡Alabanza! ¡Alabanza! Para ellos y para su patria ¡Alabanza!
La patria de todas las manos que trabajan.
¡Alabanza! ¡Alabanza!  ¡Alabanza! Alabanza!

Translation:

The Corozal river of the golden legend, its current carries gold, its current is bloodied.
The River Manatuabón, has the golden legend, its current carries gold, its current is bloodied.
The River Cibuco writes its name with golden letters its current carries gold, its current is bloodied.
Where the plantation sank its roots in golden ground there the branches drip blood, the plantation is bloodied.

Where the Indian’s brow frowned, whether on land or water, under the weight of the chains, in prison irons, there the land stinks of blood and the water is bloodied. Where the black broke his shoulders, whether on land or water, and the branding iron marked his body and the whip opened his back, there the land stinks of blood, the water runs bloodied. Where the poor white suffered the horrors of the labour gang under the machete of the overseer, and the account book of the working day
There the land is cursed, the water runs poisoned.

Glory to those Taino hands because they worked. Glory to those black hands because they worked.
Glory to those white hands because they worked. From those hands was brought forth our homeland.
Glory to the hands that dig the mines. Glory to the hands that care for the livestock. Glory to the hands that sow the tobacco, the cane and the coffee. Glory to the hands that work the roads. Glory to the hands that turn the wheels. Glory to all the hands of all the men and women who work.

And glory to the hands, all the hands that work today, because they build and from them shall come the new liberated country. Praise! For them and for their homeland. Praise!!

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Author: solidaritychoir

Activist choir in Sydney Australia

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