SOMOS USTEDES - WE ARE YOU
A Vision of the US-Latino Destiny
Listen here "America, We Are You"
Lyrics and Music by Hiram Colón
Gisella Lluesma, Singer
Escuche aquí "America, Somos Ustedes"
Letra y Música por Hiram Colón
Gisella Lluesma, Cantante
"AMERICA, WE ARE YOU" THEME SONG
MUSIC & LYRICS BY HIRAM COLON
Hiram Colón played for the first time this theme song during the Latino Gerontological Center's Fifteenth Golden Age Awards, on May 31st, 2007 in New York City. The following is Hiram's narration on how he got to write this song.
As a supporter of the mission of the Latino Gerontological Center, I was honored to author the lyric and music to the anthem: "America, We Are You." Duda’s painting and poem certainly expresses America in this new millennium. Pondering its powerful message, I was challenged to extract its pure essence in song.
Upon receiving a copy of Duda’s poem around mid-March 2007, I made notes of ideas and reflections next to each of it sections. Incorporating my own interpretation, I arrived at the following key ideas:
In this millennium, America continues to support human rights through out the world, though great suffering and need is prevalent within it’s borders.
America enjoys its status as a world leader but tends to ignore the plight of our own less privileged, who struggle to live the American dream.
America has to fully except its role as “mother”; A place that births new cultures.
America must realize that the Euro-tradition, predominant for so long, has been gradually changing to new multi cultural mixes represented by new colors that accompany the traditional red, white, and blue of our flag.
Also, that upward mobility has already taken place for previous immigrant generations and that Latinos as well as other sojourners from the entire world have gained greater status and are now defining new cultural transformations, thus crystallizing the present view: America, We Are You.
From these key ideas, I proceeded to write prose, free verse and rhymes to arrive at a poetic structure from where I composed three verses, a bridge, a chorus and a tag that climaxes to a powerful close.
This is an early draft of how the song evolved to its final form. (March 27th 2007)
America, America embrace your calling
As a land of promise and dreams,
With an open door for all humanity;
Plurality in transition toward an ever
changing world citizenry.
Amid the noise, sharpen your ears
And listen, not just hear
the sighs and cries of needy eyes
who still have visions of new lives
in a land ordained for hope and glory.
Never rest from raising the flag of equality for all,
not just for the privileged.
Set it straight, first in our own home land.
Lead by example, not by hypocritical words
which spawn disdain from a watching, judging world.
America, still fertile and pregnant with evolving
cultures empowered for a new world of tested
generations and immigrants able to face
any challenge this new day brings.
See all the colors blend into the mix
with each days sun, shining a glint
of never before witnessed possibilities;
a new manifestation of America.
From these verses, I began reducing the lines to further clarify the inherent theme simple enough for all to understand.
FINAL ENGLISH VERSION:
America your destiny is calling
For those who dream to find their hope and glory
An open door for every man
Diversity in motion
America you are that promise land.
The time for change is now there’s no denying
Incline your ear and hear the sighs and crying
of those whose weary eyes have seen
visions of their deepest dreams
America your destiny’s at hand
Shine the light of truth on every mountain
Let it shine for all the world to see
A brand new revelation we will surely be
A worthy generation that can live the dream
America oh hear the song we’re singing
Heed the call and challenge that is ringing
No longer just red, white and blue.
but multi colors shining through.
America to thee I sing
America fulfill the dream
America my country we are you
America to thee I sing
America let freedom ring
America my county we are you
America my country
America your country
America our country we are you
We are America, We are you
I envisioned the opening verse of America as a sleeping or not fully conscious giant with destiny or dreamers beckoning her to waken to the reality of her purpose; to be a land of hope and promise.
Urgency and time for change:
Verse two emphasizes the urgency to act today. Now is the time for change and adjustment for the future of immigrant generations within the status quo.
Let truth lead:
The bridge exalts the truth and meaning of what America can truly be. The light of truth is set up high for all the world to see and believe in the dream. The music rises to its first climax and continues to an elevated third verse that elicits acceptance and action to embrace the challenge of a new America and that we all are Americans. The music continues to rise to a second climax leading to a varied chorus that echoes “My country tis a thee” and further personalizes each Americans involvement culminating with “America, my country, your country, our country! We Are You” In essence, a diverse plurality transforming to one people, Americans.
THE SPANISH VERSION
The Spanish lyric is not a literal translation but captures some of the prose as it relates to Latino Americans, America’s destiny, diversity with truth guiding the way in this millennium; that America consists of all Americans. In Spanish “ América, somos América”. In English : “America we are America”.
América el pueblo a ti te llama
Sueña de un nuevo y mejor mañana
Y llenos de esperanza y fe
Creyendo las promesas
América despierta es tu deber
América abraza tu destino
Escucha el buen consejo del latino
Pa’ lante nuestra herencia va
Derecho el paso, claro está
América es tiempo de verdad
Fidelidad y honor dan buena certeza.
Para lograr un cambio hay que luchar
Generaciones nuevas con fuerzas marchan ya
Para forgar sus sueños a una realidad
América cantamos esta guía
Un llamamiento para un nuevo día
Nación de gran diversidad
El milenio manda ya
América es tu deber
América es tiempo de ser
América, somos América
América mi patria
América tu patria
América, somos América
The anthems music evolved from two simple incomplete open sounding guitar chords that led to many tonal possibilities. The melody of the verses are varied intentionally to give a sense of change and development. From a quiet introduction and first verse, the pulse is established in the second verse and intensifies with new instrumental colors that build to a strong declamatory bridge section. Verse three continues to build and rise to a stronger climax which then is maintained with simple varied repetitions of the chorus that gives propulsion to the ever growing sentiment that America [is] my country, your country, our country; that we are all Americans. America, we are you.
The Spanish literal translation of the English version:
América, el destino te llama / para los que sueñan encontrar su esperanza y gloria./ Una puerta abierta para todos./ Diversidad en paso./ América, eres la tierra prometida.
Ahora es el tiempo de cambio. No se puede negar. / Inclina y oye los suspiros y llantos / de aquellos que con sus cansados ojos han visto / visiones de sus más profundos
sueños / América, tu destino se cumple.
Brilla la luz de la verdad de todas las montañas / Que brille para que todo el mundo pueda ver / una nueva revelación / ahora vamos a ser / Una generación digna de vivir el sueño.
América, oye nuestro canto / acepta la llamada y la lucha que resuena / no sólo rojo, azul, y blanco / sino multi colores brillando.
América, te canto a ti / América deja el sueño vivir / América, mi patria somos tú/
América , te canto a ti / América, que resuene libre / América, mi patria somos tú/
Somos América / somos tú.
The English literal translation of the Spanish version:
America, your people are calling / for those who dream of a better tomorrow / and full of hope and faith / believing in the promises / America awaken, its your duty.
America, embrace your destiny/ accept the counsel of your latin people / advancing our heritage goes / this millennium sanctions the course / America, now is the time for truth.
Faith and honor gives it credence / transitioning to change is always a struggle / new strong generations are already on the march / to reach and make their dreams a reality.
America, we sing this lead / a calling to a new day / as a nation of great diversity / this millennium challenges now.
America its your duty / America its time to be / America, we are America / America, my country / America your country / America, we are America / We are America.
Biographical Information on Hiram Colón: Multi-instrumentalist, composer, educator
Born December 4th 1948 in Maunabo, Puerto Rico. The youngest of four children immigrated with parents to the Bronx, N.Y. in 1952.
Attended public schools.
Bronx Community College 1969- Associates Arts Degree
City College of New York 1972- B.A. in Music Education
CCNY, Manhattan School of music, Seton Hall Un. , SUNY Purchase, Lehman College
1981-1987 graduate studies in music and bilingual-bicultural education.
-New York City Board Education: teaching license in orchestral music with bilingual certification.
-Taught music in elementary and middle schools for 32 years in the Bronx.
-Strong musical background in latin, jazz, gospel and popular music.
-Have performed publicly since high school. Has much experience as sideman and musical director for various bands and orchestras.
-Composing and arranging original and traditional Puerto Rican music for a NBC community affairs program titled “Bienvenido means Welcome” aired in 1971.
-Musical Director for La Orchestra Metropolitana in the New York Jazz to Italy tour. 1987
-Presently, leading own latin ensemble known as Brisa Tropical.
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