Today is my first Thanksgiving in America in ages. 5 years? more? It’s a nice DIY holiday, not about buying buying but rather about staying home and cooking your own food and sharing it. So that’s nice.
Violeta Parra’s Gracias a la Vida is a generous, poignant song whose meaning grows sadder and deeper the more you learn about the Chilean artist’s life, and how she ended it herself, and how its poetry survives her doubly, sung into international fame by Mercedes Sosa and Joan Baez, converting itself into a himno humanitario.
The kind that locates pain in an honest way – next to a beauty so full and embodied that its absence can be lethal. Going to another country in search of her lover. Finding him, married. All that depth of feeling unrequited.
So everything is delicate. Gracias a la vida, que me ha dado tanto… The song graces its original singer, still, better than all the subsequent & less fragile versions.
Sizzla is generous too — or at least hard-working. And that’s the thing about Mr Kalonji: when he is off he’s screaming some too-loud Bobo Ashanti pulpit whatever, but when he is on, he’s deliriously good, overflowing with unquantifiable vocal power which lights from surprise to surprise. Here Sizzla rides the foundational Truth & Rights riddim as versioned by Brooklyn’s Massive B.